Preserving the bedrock
The quest for knowledge acquisition must be guarded from the all-pervasive ‘technological invasion’ to guide students towards contributing to the national development
Students are stakeholders of any educational institution — be it public, private or both. The present transformation in the selection of career path by students has brought to light the shift in preference on account of booming technological penetration in society. Taking a historic reference prior to the onset of LPG era in 1991, the simplified options were in the streams of science, commerce and arts after the completion of the 10th standard. Gradually, with the advent of globalisation, the need got redefined and, keeping pace with demand and supply of domestic opportunities, various avenues for learning the "new" opened up. Students embraced those with sense of integrity and maturity.
The glorious beginning of IIT (Kharagpur) in 1951 and IIM (Calcutta) in 1961 substantiated educational excellence and benchmarks that are still fresh in Indian minds amidst the daunting urge for spending unmanageable lakhs for acquiring degrees from abroad. Parents, with or without capability, bent down to procure the finances in order to meet the demands of their children. With Indian upbringing and Indian finance, governments of various countries benefitted as the post-degree settlement in native is a function of status quo in a given state of supernatural ambience of other countries. It is also seen that institutes like Chartered Accountancy (1949), Cost & Works Accountants of India (1959) and Company Secretary (1980) time and again introduced economy-based changes in their courses and syllabus and, undoubtedly, they fostered their expertise towards disseminating the right education at the right time to the masses.
The dreams of a commerce guy to become a CA/CMA/CS is no longer an infeasible task as the present generation has proved it by making it through. The continuous accelerated admission rates in these institutes, almost till 2017-18, enhanced their monopoly in their respective fields of operation. Recent talk of the town is that digitisation/robotisation is deep-rooted in the hearts and minds of educatee, and the drive towards learning technology or programming language despite hailing from non-science backgrounds, has impacted the admission rates of the institutes of CA/CMA/CS. The turnaround strategy in terms of incorporating the syllabus in the framework of present-day requirements is being taken but is focussed on the core calibre of their respective domains.
NEP 2020 implementation by UGC is making the present peaceful teaching a bit more frantic as Indians are unreasonably resistant to change. Multiple layers of restructured courses with flexible exit options are not only distracting young minds in choosing the career path but also making the lives of the educators more complicated in explaining them the ideal direction.
Recent announcement regarding the opening of Indian Institute of Accounting (IIA) in line with IIT/IIM with revised course plans is a clear example of understanding the students' modified taste and preference in selecting their career goals. The modern generation learners are objective-friendly as writing went to oblivion. At this juncture, NPTEL, COURSEERA and so on are also enabling them to grapple some immediate degrees without gaining in-depth knowledge. Tech giants have massively threatened teachers and facilitators, and the future probability of being outdated has compelled them to ransack the quick online learning options. The substance named knowledge is configured as tech-based knowledge and the aspiration for absorbing the latter has challenged the notional existence of the former. It is quite often observed, especially among the zoomers, that the usage of technology is more prominent in entertainment segment instead of learning segment. The non-awareness of the use of entertainment application, coupled with the unintentional sharing of accessibility, has not only ruined the lives of young talents but also resulted in disastrous scams. Momentary satisfaction, accompanied by pseudo happiness of smartness, gradually overshadows the real need of the hour — learn the new, relearn the old and unlearn the redundant. 21st-century world believes that literacy lies not only in reading and writing but also in significant investment of time and resources in updating. Care should be exercised that while building a tech castle for eradicating the fear of obsolescence, the fundamental land of knowledge is not shaken. Indian youths are to be channelised in a rightful manner to deploy them in the growth and development of the nation. The mixture of the inclusion and exclusion principle in the tech-loving modern education policy should in no way deter the acquisition of vivid subject knowledge of the students. Knowledge is the hardware and technology is the software. The mantra for the students is: "Learning is an objective but gaining knowledge should be subjective" to avoid dilution of its core in the gigantic ocean of technology.
The writer is Assistant Professor, Dept of Commerce, Christ University, Bangalore. Views expressed are personal