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Skilling 'Digital Natives' for Sustainable Development

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

"If we teach Today’s students, As we taught Yesterday’s, We Rob them of Tomorrow. "

These words of John Dewey resonate with my notion of an ideal contemporary teaching learning practice. Hence it brings a sense of urgency to continuously tune teaching practice with the ever-changing learning preferences of the youth. A small mismatch here may magnify into a huge disconnect leading to a broken society. Without learned and skilled youth, we will rob our society of a prosperous and meaningful tomorrow.

With dedicated, continuous meaningful interventions in the field of education and skills, the results can be assured. As we build a world of inclusivity, which offers equal opportunities for all, we treat “Technology” as a vehicle to reach the unreached with quality education and training. Asia, especially India, is the youngest region of the world and will remain so for another decade. It has the potential of meeting the requirements of trained and skilled human resource of the aging world. But equity and access to quality education is a serious challenge in the area as we experience a huge disparity, in terms of access to quality education, across the geographic regions within each country. The challenges that lie ahead of us is emanating from the fact that we are still trying to improve education and skills with traditional archaic approach. The need of the hour is a radical change, allowing students access to education and knowledge without discrimination, anytime and anywhere. . The dichotomy arises due to the fact; the generation that is seeking learning is “Digital Native” while the generation facilitating learning process is “Digital Migrant”. Digital migrants are either technophobic or striving hard to adopt technology and guise traditional education in digital outfit. The digital learners have a huge demand on their attention as they are born with technology in their hand, leading to small span of attention. They, however, prefer self-learning as compared to instructor led training. Given these challenges the role of teacher, the definition of university and the process of learning have completely transformed.

We as academic administrators need to play our role in empowering all stakeholders to perform their new role in this ephemeral world of digitalization. Thus, transforming the learning process in Asia by bringing knowledge to the doorstep of the learner using all forms of media to transfix the attention of the youth and strive to reach the last mile ensuring a truly inclusive growth and creating vibrant knowledge societies for sustainable development. This however is possible if we put our hearts and heads together.

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