World-class education in India is restricted to a miniscule %age of Tier-I educational institutes where competition is tough, irrational and is mainly accessed by rich students. To get into such institutions you spend lot of resources in going to coaching classes, study material and other learning infrastructure. It also put a lot of psychological pressure and in extreme cases we have witnessed students developing suicidal tendency in case of failure in getting to these institutions.
Dr. Mukesh Mohania with his team is on a mission to bring the revolution in Indian Education System through his innovative DESy model. Dr. Mohania, Ph.D. from IIT Bombay, is an ex-IBM, India Director and Senior Professor at IIITD and has vast research and academic experience in International Institutions. In his recent visit to our NVIDIA-Bennett AI research Lab, we had a planned discussion on the way forward for the Indian Education Scenario. Some excerpts of the Q&A will help in bringing clarity on this futuristic model.
Dear Prof. Mohania, as I know, you are back in India to fulfil your passion and goal to serve the country in the higher education sector. Thanks for visiting Bennett University and discussing your project with our colleagues and students. We have a common perception of current scenario of education in the country. Can you list some of the prominent symptoms of the malaise affecting the higher education sector?
Prof. Garg, Thanks for your help in furthering my cause to uplift the education scenario in India. Currently, we are facing many problems and the task is huge and challenging. 99% of higher education is delivered by Tier-II-&-III colleges. In all such institutions world class labs and infrastructure is missing. In most institutes, the utilization of resources/ assets is as low as 15%. Students from these institutions graduate with low employable skills. Lack of quality teachers and researchers in these institutions is resulting in low innovation levels and impacting the growth of the country. Graduate course curriculum is not updated frequently in these institutions due to variety of factors.
Poor student struggles to access education in top institutions and getting institutional financing for education is cumbersome. There exists irrational and uncalled for competition in existing system. Authenticity and lack of digitization of marksheets degrees etc leading to frauds.
To bring the existing system on track, you have an Innovative model, which you have named as DESy. Please throw some light on the model and its potential to transform the sector.
DESy Skillchain project is aimed to organise a consortium of Universities /Educational institutes in India on a Blockchain platform, over which sits an AI layer bridging the employers, jobseekers, and other ecosystem. The system will have job-oriented industry designed diploma/degree courses with harmonised modular subject credits and would give students the flexibility to enrol /complete courses from the best institutes of their liking on merit basis; transfer the credits to cross institutes; and if required, move their original degree enrolment to another institute, based on individual performance. The courses will be designed for market acceptance and the skills connected to job market with personalized recommendation for next best actions in terms of courses, certificates/degree, jobs, etc. This project will enable the collaborations between institutes (private/government) and create jobs to meet the demand of enrolments/teaching/labs. This is likely to optimise the existing infrastructure in the institutes and incentivise creation of focussed excellence centres by institutes in subjects of their choice while leaving the other subjects to other collaborating members. The project has the potential to create large scale employability for the resource scarce ordinary student, promote excellence, better utilisation of national assets and promote excellence and innovation in cutting-edge academics.
Now, you have laid out the basics of your Skillchain model, What are the specific challenges or Major points that can be called key areas of this model.
Deepak ji, I have Eight major points that needs to looked into carefully to make this model a success
- Compel educational institutes to collaborate and choose to operate as Excellence Centres, leaving non-core subjects for partner institutes
- Efficient capacity utilization of infrastructure & resources in educational institutes
- Provide access to cutting edge-latest technologies and finance for education for common student
- To enhance employability and broad-base innovation
- Harmonise the curriculum of existing courses into uniform subject-credits, freely transferable among partner institutes, under oversight of a government regulator based on pre-defined evaluation and assessment criteria
- Integrate and connect students, institutes, banks, employers, regulatory body, and service providers
- Eliminate fake degree frauds by securely digitalizing the learning records through a completely secure block-chain platform, connected with the national digital library program
- Attract private capital in creating world-class education facilities because of higher quality student participation
Now the team has started working on the prototype model taking onboard few institutions. There have been meetings with the stakeholders including UGC, AICTE, MHRD, DST etc. We have a defined roadmap and working tirelessly to achieve our objectives.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.