Future of higher education in our country holds promise as well as challenges: Christ University VC

'Adapting to changing demographic, tech trends are among key hurdles'

114-Fr-Joseph Fr Joseph C.C.

Fr Joseph C.C., vice chancellor, Christ (deemed to be University), Bengaluru, speaks to THE WEEK about the current trends in higher education in the country and the challenges in the system. Excerpts:

“The future holds promise as well as challenges” - Fr Joseph C.C., vice chancellor, Christ University, Bengaluru

What is trending?

In the realm of Indian university education, a remarkable transformation is underway, characterised by a concerted drive towards skill enrichment, global engagement, technological integration, and an intensified commitment to research. Universities are actively integrating practical skill enhancement modules into their academic frameworks, ensuring that graduates are equipped with a diverse skill set tailored to thrive in today's fiercely competitive landscape.

Simultaneously, there is a noticeable shift towards interdisciplinary education, nurturing innovation and critical thinking vital for tackling intricate societal issues. Moreover, endeavours towards internationalisation are gaining momentum, fostering cross-cultural exchange and collaboration through various partnerships and exchange programmes.
Technology occupies a pivotal role in this evolution, facilitating the adoption of digital learning platforms, virtual classrooms and collaborative research endeavours. Notably, research occupies a central position, with institutions investing in state-of-the-art infrastructure and cultivating a culture of inquiry to propel knowledge forward and steer societal advancement. Increasing emphasis on teacher autonomy and institutional autonomy are welcome changes which will help Indian higher education become globally competitive. 

Changes in pedagogy

We have enthusiastically adopted innovative teaching methods that prioritise active learning, critical thinking and problem-solving. Strategies such as flipped classrooms and project-based learning deeply engage students, enhancing their understanding and application of concepts.

Furthermore, we have introduced virtual labs, online simulations and multimedia resources to create immersive learning experiences, fostering self-paced learning and digital proficiency. We have also integrated the case study method. To align with the National Education Policy 2020's emphasis on multidisciplinary education, we have overhauled our curriculum to offer interdisciplinary courses and programmes.

In addition, we have woven service learning opportunities into our curriculum, echoing the NEP 2020 emphasis on community engagement. Through service projects and community partnerships, students leverage their knowledge and skills to tackle real-world challenges, fostering empathy, social responsibility, and civic engagement. 

The future and challenges

The future of higher education in our country holds promise as well as challenges. The adaption of digital technologies, interdisciplinary approaches, and global collaborations supported by changing regulatory eco systems will continue to reshape the landscape of higher education, providing diverse educational pathways and preparing students for a rapidly evolving job market.

Adapting to changing demographic and technological trends are among the key challenges that universities must navigate in the coming years. As demographics shift and technological advancements continue to accelerate, universities must remain agile and responsive to changing student needs and preferences. This requires ongoing investment in infrastructure, faculty development, and curriculum redesign to ensure that educational offerings remain relevant, accessible, and impactful.