Why Do Students Need Curriculum 4.0 and Faculty 4.0?


“We must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. There has never been a time of greater promise, or greater peril.” – Klaus Schwab, Founder, and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

  • Industry 4.0, which started off as a brainchild of Germany, is being adopted by countries around the world. Developed nations like the USA, France, and Japan have already taken the first step in this direction by launching nation-wide programs.
  • According to an analysis of 750 occupations by the McKinsey Global Institute, “51% of job activities are highly susceptible to automation” – a phenomenon driven by the requirements of Industry 4.0.
  • Education plays an important role in ensuring the skill-readiness of the labor force. General education, as well as vocational education, have a critical role to play in making the labor force industry-ready.
  • Companies have shown interest in associating with educational institutes for Industry 4.0 technologies in India. They have collaborated with premier institutes like IIT Madras and BITS Pilani to take the agenda forward.

Source: White paper on skill development for industry 4.0. BRICS skills development working group (Roland Berger and FICCI)

Why institutes need curriculum 4.0? | Scope of curriculum 4.0 | Why institutes should teach the curriculum of the future

All around the world, leaders from government and industry debate the future of work and the changes brought by technology and automation. Despite this, the world is not reacting fast enough to update our system of education both in content and delivery.

According to an analysis of 750 occupations by the McKinsey Global Institute, 51% of job activities are highly susceptible to automation – and that’s an alarming situation for job seekers and educators alike. These job activities span across industries and can make several skills redundant in the coming future. The situation could eventually lead to mass unemployment if not addressed on time.

A question looming large upon all of us is, “What are we doing to prepare future generations to thrive in this changing landscape?”

In most schools and colleges, we are still teaching subjects in a traditional way with same old course content. Although some debates about the evolving future of education in changing times have already begun there isn’t much action on the ground happening as a result of it. Any discussion on the future of work should go hand-in-hand with a discussion on the future of curriculum and also about those who eventually delivery it i.e. teachers and faculty.

Skills such as problem-solving, creative thinking, digital skills, and teamwork are in great demand but no attention to developing them is given in our school education system. It is only when students enter professional courses, they are exposed to such abilities. But then it is perhaps too late because by then your attitude and belief system is by and large fixed leaving little room for new adaptations.

Currently, the need is to revamp foundational education for making it future-ready. To prepare students for meeting the changing demands of Industry 4.0 and beyond, our curriculum must combine futuristic subjects with traditional ones. Besides, the focus must also be on imparting a skill-based curriculum which is important in the digital world.

The fourth industrial revolution is changing the world around us. Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, big data and the internet of things are its new tools. The impact on jobs and industry that these tools are creating is immense. However, they also present huge opportunities to tap.

To take full advantage of the opportunity created by advanced technology we need a similar revolution in education. We need to ensure that our students and teachers alike get the best possible teaching-learning experience. This calls for developing Education 4.0 experience for students and teachers that addresses the needs of the fast-developing world around us.

For shaping the expectations of students to meet the challenges of the future, academic institutions would need to design collaborations. Universities, colleges, research centers government agencies and corporate need to collectively get involved in the process.

Modern learning cannot happen without modernizing delivery. Faculty 4.0 should go hand in hand with Curriculum 4.0. Teachers should focus their efforts on using technological applications that aid cognitive learning abilities. Learning outcomes should be based on personalized adaptive learning techniques. Intelligent digital assets should guide teaching concepts. Teacher-student interaction should be based on a smart approach to make the whole experience engaging and interesting.

In the coming years, it is predicted that students would have greater flexibility in choosing their mode of engagement. This incentive will be given to them by technology. As such, new forms of learning models would be increasingly important to develop a holistic view of learners’ engagement and progress.

Already, employers are reporting a shortage of digital skills in their workforce. They feel that universities and colleges can play a pivotal role in retraining and up-skilling of the current workforce to meet their demands. They also recognize that a large proportion of future students would be looking for flexible approaches to learning because of their work commitments. No doubt, technology will play a vital role in enabling all this.

The world entered industry 1.0 using mechanical advantage powered by steam which signaled a productivity and transportation boom. The second industrial revolution was driven by electricity and assembly line production process. The third industrial revolution which roughly began in the ’70s was powered by programmable systems driven by IT. Industry 4.0 builds on all the previous revolutions and will lead to the proliferation of exponential technologies.

Futurizing Indian education for building a workforce for enterprise 4.0 will need a more robust professional framework. Career planning in a rapidly changing world will be based on inter disciplines that are more advanced.

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The future generations will be more conscious of their environment and would want the education system to address the changing ecosystem. Can our future curriculum produce the person industry needs, is a big consideration of academic leaders today? Not only curriculum and faculty but the entire academic administration will have to be aligned with the requirements of industry 4.0. Our admission process, course material, assessment, etc. – whole will have to be in sync with technology.

Education and industry generally interact only during the placement season. But they need to meet quite often to discuss the demands for education to be industry-ready.

India needs a high quality of education to be able to tap into the potential of Industry 4.0. Employability of our students is going down, and they need to step up with the changing technology scenario which is changing things surprisingly.

Opportunities for Institutes and Universities

Industry 4.0 cannot exist without University 4.0. ​The present enterprise revolution is bringing unprecedented changes. If we do not upgrade our education system our graduates will lose shine in the job market of the future.

Industry 4.0 also has a lot of opportunities for academic institutions to upgrade themselves to the next level. Institutions can develop an advance plan to bridge the demand-supply gap of skilled labor in the digital economy. At the same time, revamp their own functioning to achieve operational efficiency using technology. Educating emerging workforces with modern tools and techniques is the only solution to Industry 4.0. Colleges and universities need to think about how we can establish an ecosystem of continuous and futuristic learning that paves the path towards the big Indian dream.

In the digital age where qualifications need to be quickly upgraded, it is no longer a one-time course/degree that can ensure life-long employment, but a continuous endeavor towards upskilling that can achieve it. The responsibility of educational institutes today is to ensure that their students should possess hard and soft-skills to be future-ready for jobs. Most importantly they must also ensure that the students inculcate the necessary attitude to become a lifelong learner.

In the present job market driven by the fourth industrial revolution, companies only want candidates who have the right attitude to perform. This means that the education system should not only focus on developing the right skills but also the right attitude in their students.

In the age of disruptive technologies, there is a greater need for universities and schools to evolve their course curriculum and upgrade faculty skills. This can be achieved by developing a comprehensive framework for continuous up-gradation in academic administration. Existing courses should be continuously upgraded to meet industry demands. In addition, new courses or modules should also be added to fill the required skill gap.

Course content should be user-friendly and can be accessed across multiple delivery modes. Such content will enable switching between online, blended, or on-campus modes of learning thereby giving greater flexibility to the learner. There is also scope for academic institutes to launch shorter certifications for professionals looking to enhance employability.

In curriculum 4.0, modern techniques such as Machine Learning (ML) can be used for assessment of student progress. Such tools would also provide valuable insights into a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Such modules can also foster a viable ground for academia-industry partnerships and provide space for edtech companies to think of developing innovative solutions in similar areas.

Preparing learners for jobs of the future cannot happen if the faculty is not ready to co-invest in the up-gradation process. Hence the need for Faculty 4.0 is critical than ever before.

India’s re-skilling challenge can only be met if our education system is constantly aligned and receptive to the changes around it. The entire value chain comprising of the three important links – industry, students/jobseekers, and the schools/universities have to work in tandem.

The Future of Education 4.0, Curriculum 4.0 and Faculty 4.0

For any society to modernize, education needs to be aligned with the fundamental changes in the nature of work and address the issue of sustainable employment.

Technology has giving rise to the knowledge economy in which educational institutes have a greater role to play. The impact of technology can be seen in almost every sphere of our lives. It is also giving rise to new challenges and opportunities in education and professional work. Keeping into consideration the deep influence of technology in developing the mental construct of young minds, Universities, and schools of the future must re-invent themselves to remain relevant.

In the education system of the future, the role of teachers is going to be more of a facilitator and enabler of personalized growth. This will require a massive transformation in their approach to focus more on outcome-based teaching instead of continuing with traditional ways. This transformation must also include key areas such as employability, student experience, research excellence, societal impact and benefit for the industry.

Today’s learner does not need instructor-led educational models but wishes to engage through multiple sources of knowledge at his own pace. Their focus is not just on enhancing knowledge but equally or in some cases even more on the factor of employability and skill development. That is why the curriculum of the future has to be curated in a way that caters to their evolving needs.

At the global level in academic circles, people are now discussing the need of shifting from quality culture to impact culture. Therefore, educational institutes of the future must constantly work towards finding solutions to societal problems. They must make efforts to create an impact on the society they operate.

Faculty of the future needs to have a fine blend of academics and practice. They should have relevant industry exposure to make their teaching more effective and contextual. Education 4.0 and beyond should be a proactive response to the evolving needs of the Industry and society rather than a knee jerk reaction. Mere piecemeal changes won’t work any longer. Education has to be overhauled for once and all.

But such a transformation isn’t going to be incremental. It will require gradual efforts from academic leaders with the involvement and support of the government. At the policy level, structural changes in the system might have to be worked out. Opportunities for creating a deeper industry-academia connect will have to be thought of.

The globalized world now needs a more active education system, one that is robust enough to meet every challenge. And this cannot happen with thoughtful action and proactive involvement of all the stakeholders.

It will be apt here to end this blog with a quote from the famous management guru, Peter Drucker. In the context of the future building, Drucker has rightly put, “The best way to predict your future is to create it”