Shobhit Mathur, vice chancellor, Rishihood University, shares his views on pros and cons in India’s education system system with FE Education Online.
What is the best thing about today’s education system?
The increased access to technology and its quick integration by higher education institutions is a net positive. Students have access to a wealth of information and institutions have the ability to involve experts globally. The caveat is on how to best deploy the improved technology without losing the human experience of learning.
What is the one thing you would like to change in the system?
Higher education has got restricted to providing skills and jobs. Education has become transactional – the student pays a fee and gets a degree and a job in return. This is not the vision of education that this land had. It was supposed to be a process to manifest the innate potential that the student has. Today, this larger purpose of education is not talked about or given lip service. Terms like multidisciplinarity are used in the context of employability. The education system of India traditionally was always mutli-disciplinary but the purpose was not employability. It was to transform the individual and give him/her a higher purpose in life. We should bring back the original purpose of education.
What is the role digital has played in the evolution of the education system?
It has opened up a huge treasure of information at very low cost. It has increased access to experts across the world. It has given us means to archive and transfer knowledge. It has allowed the formation of digital learning communities on social media platforms. All this was unimaginable at the beginning of this century. Technology will now give us an immersive experience through AR and VR. The lines between the real and the virtual will get blurred and learning can get further enhanced.
What has been the disadvantage of digital in education?
Technology has to be carefully deployed. The teacher has a higher purpose and cannot be replaced by bits on a screen. Consciousness can only be enhanced in-person. Access to information also gives us an illusion that ‘we know’. But only life experience can complete our education. Digital technologies are also insulating students from the real world. The virtual world is make-belief and students are getting schizophrenic in leading 2 parallel lives – digital and real. This can cause severe disconnect from reality and often results in insecurity and anxiety.
What is the career advice you would like to give to students
Do not go by pay-packages or what is in vogue. Identify your innate nature (Swabhava) and purpose (Swadharma) before you choose a career. Otherwise a short term gain can result in a long term loss. Money can be gained, but you cannot regain a lost lifetime.