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Will Future MBAs Be Produced Through Mobile Telephony?

The ambitious young hungry mid-level Indian working professional often find themselves at the crossroads with difficult choices to make in their careers

Photo Credit : Shutterstock

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Ever wondered at possibility of an entire generation earning their masters' degree by studying on their mobile devices? This is a definite probability in future. Education is one such sector in which adoption of technology is making unimaginable impacts, making consumption of education simpler and more widespread.

In the past few years the Indian education system has been plagued with various disorders such as poor infrastructure, lack of quality faculties in the present institutions. An alarming 40 per cent percent of the faculty positions in India's top most Institutes are vacant - IITs, IIITs, Central Universities and IIMs top this list.

Factors like substandard education, low enrollments for higher education is making India struggle to achieve its GER target.

Enabling continuous education for the Indian workforce
While fresh MBAs have been a norm in India for long, off late more and more mid-career executives are going back to school to acquire masters' degree, which they had earlier missed. Continuous education for working professionals in India is not a common practice when compared to their counterparts in the West. There are various demographic factors associated with it.

In the west, taking academic sabbatical is a norm widely accepted and those who cannot opt for sabbaticals take up distance learning programs to up skill themselves. For an average Indian working professional re-educating themselves still remains is a far off dream.

The ambitious young hungry mid-level Indian working professional often find themselves at the crossroads with difficult choices to make in their careers. Once they start working, the personal and professional liabilities and commitments become so overwhelming for him that they cannot even imagine taking a sabbatical to acquire that much desired masters' degree. They are also not willing to compromise by taking up distance learning, which is largely considered to offer substandard education and hardly regarded equivalent to a full-time MBA degree.

Mobile Technology as an enabler for improved and quality higher education in India
At a macro level, India spends about 4 per cent of its GDP on all of education (about 1 per cent on higher education), whereas globally the minimum recommended expenditure on education is 6 per cent of GDP.

USA spends about 3 per cent of its GDP on higher education, Canada 2.5 per cent, Chile 2 per cent. USA, Chile and Korea also show high proportions of private expenditure on higher education (between 1.7 per cent to 2.1 per cent of GDP).

So for India to meet its GER target (which is 30 per cent by 2020 from the current 24 per cent) for higher education setting up physical universities is almost an impossible task. However, if India capitalizes on technology penetration in education, specifically mobile technology, we are bound to improve the enrollment numbers and making quality education (including quality distance learning) more accessible to a much wider audience.

According to a Counter Point research released early this year, India is now world's second-biggest smartphone market with 220million users, surpassing the US. The number is no surprise owing to a couple of factors - first being smartphones becoming more affordable and second is Indians' increasing comfort while using smartphones. Thanks to the platforms like YouTube and Facebook, consuming videos on smartphones has now become a habit. Popularity of messengers like WhatsApp prove that mobile users are equally comfortable with text-based content too.

If heeded on time, tapping on to this phenomenon would lead democratization of quality education in India and even help India improve its GER.

The existing brick and mortar higher education institutes are facing challenges of excellence and wider access, with only 24 million students enrolled out of the potential 120 million. Universities and top tier institutions are adopting technology more efficiently to provide access to quality education and would lead to millions of working professionals and students in urban and remote India. It would then address the demand-supply gap of skilled talent.

If adoption of mobile technology is more widely accepted by higher education, things will gear up for good. However, this calls for more collaborative efforts within the ecosystem itself. If academia, government, educators, tech enthusiasts and corporates act together, we could enable millions of our working professionals aspiring to compete with their global counterparts, access quality education seamlessly. And all this is possible if we effectively tap on to the wonder invention called 'Mobile Phone'.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Karthik KS

The author is a veteran edupreneur and is the founder and CEO of Avagmah, an EdTech startup which helps working professionals acquire higher education by connecting them to universities, institutions and distance education providers through its innovative and intuitive technology platform.

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