The Covid-19 pandemic and the possibilities of such events repeating in the future is forcing every educational institution to imagine new possibilities in the design and delivery of education, says Shaheem Rahiman, the CEO of Bengaluru-based Atria University.
Founded in 2018 by the Atria Group, Rahiman says Atria University offers a new model of higher education that is matched in its innovative approach by the best institutions in the world. “As the first liberal sciences university in India, it offers the next generation of interdisciplinary specialisations in the domain of technology and business, like digital transformation, energy sciences, interactive technologies, mobility, and sustainable life sciences,” he says.
Some experts argue that there is a need to recalibrate curriculum and study options in a post-Covid-19 world. On this, Rahiman says that the post-Covid-19 world may not be ‘normal’ for too long. “Global leaders and experts have suggested that this pandemic is perhaps the first of many that may be expected in the future.
Educational institutions need to treat this pandemic as an opportunity to reimagine their content, design, and delivery of learning for similar challenges in the future,” he says. “At Atria University, our focus has been on being innovative and dynamic. We need to build a system that allows students the freedom to pick subjects of their interest. And not try to fit them into a traditional curriculum structure that is out of sync with the industry. Students are now looking beyond classrooms to receive an application-based education from mentors with stellar academic and industry experience.”
He adds that Atria University has adopted a project-based approach to learning to ensure that students get to work on real-world complex problems throughout their academic journey. “This empowers them to learn contextually and gain practical experience,” he adds.
On engineering education, he says that we need to first acknowledge that conventional roles are transforming due to advancements in technology. “Along with that, futuristic job profiles are opening up a bevy of opportunities. We believe there needs to be a shift in the conventional engineering programmes to incorporate a curriculum that addresses the challenges of 21st century—societal, environmental and technological,” Rahiman adds.
“As online engagement becomes the new normal, institutions committed to quality will expand international collaborations on research and scholarships in engineering and sciences. In areas of computational sciences, human-computer interaction and similar domains, one can expect such collaboration to become very common,” he adds.