EDHEC Business School — an internationally renowned French business school with campuses across the globe — has recently shared findings of its survey conducted in collaboration with market research firm OpinionWorld.
The quantitative research was conducted in five countries — India, United Kingdom, France, USA and South Africa — on a sample of 5,246 respondents aged 15 years and above who were interviewed online via CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview).
The first round of interviews, conducted between January 3 through 9 was followed by a subsequent round of interviews conducted between June 10-19 to assess the impact of COVID-19 on higher education.
The key findings of the survey based on a sample size of 1,003 respondents in India are as follows:
Indians unanimously agree on the positive impact of new technologies on higher education
Indians rank their higher education system as satisfactory – whether concerning the education they personally received (86%, including 43% very satisfied), current higher education system (85% say it is high-quality, 48% fully agree) or the education for future generations (92% including 57% fully).
India’s scores are significantly higher than other countries surveyed on these parameters.
Indians believe that the higher education system must transform continuously
Concerning the different aspects tested – transformation of formats and learning tools, programs or role of teachers, 70% of Indians feel upgrading of teaching skills is important and 40% feel teachers are indispensable.
India along with France believes transformation is a key requirement while other countries have stressed on evolving the education system.
More confidence on capabilities of digitisation
Recognising the flaws of the current education system, Indians are pitching for digitising their higher education. Most agree that digitisation can transform higher education: 99% feel digitising higher education is a good thing, 74% voted it as a very good initiative (versus 29-65% in other countries). 84% feel new technologies can achieve the desired transformation. Digitisation shall bring in positive changes to benefit coming generations (96%, including 75% fully agree), improve teaching skills (95%, including 71% fully agree) and make education accessible to everyone (92%, 67%).
Considering these statistics, India seems more convinced on the capabilities of digitisation to facilitate access to higher education.
Tangible impacts of new technologies on higher education
Digitisation can supplement theoretical education via virtual reality (93%, including 57% fully agree) and other learning formats (92% including 61% fully agree). Indians support personalisation of education (92% including 58% fully agree) and development of teamwork through information sharing (92% including 59% fully agree).
Role of teachers remains critical
While Indians believe digitisation is necessary, it does not seem to diminish the importance of teachers and learning methods. 55% feel teachers will use new learning methodologies to help students acquire relational skills like creativity and critical thinking.
Acquiring these skills is voted highly: creativity (53%), leadership (50%) and teamwork (40%) are considered important to develop through higher education.
A similar response was received from South African respondents. However, UK and USA have voted for analysis and leadership skills. While France voted for open-mindedness and adaptability as their top relational skills.
Positive attitude towards social and cultural diversity
The student population is internationally mobile*. 92% Indians feel their higher education system prepares them for international opportunities (including 60% fully). Moreover, India (28%) views opening up to international opportunities as a strength, behind France (30%).
Nevertheless Indians believe their education system caters to students across socioeconomic backgrounds (54%), quality of its teaching (52%) and diverse curriculum (48%).
Quality of education offered remains most significant asset for Indians (47%) followed by student services and to be in sync with digital transformations in higher education system.
Social and environmental consciousness in higher education
Emphasising on higher education for all, 41% of Indian respondents feel institutions must above all raise awareness about social inequalities.
For Indians, inaccessibility of higher education is less a question of tuition cost than material conditions: 38% declared a need to improve living conditions (housing/food/transportation) versus 24% who seek increase in scholarships.
58% feel that higher education can impact preservation of environment by modulating its curricula (32%) and its programs (26%), rather than financing dedicated projects (41%).
Ability to adapt programme content and create curricula dedicated to environment preservation is seen much more important in India than in France.
Gender equality is important, and most Indian respondents feel higher education system must ensure greater representation of women both in learning (92%, including 61% who are very favorable), and teaching (91%, including 60% who are very favorable).
A fairly positive perception of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on higher education
- Indians believe the Covid-19 pandemic will impact delivery of higher education for years to come: 82% estimate growth in disciplines like healthcare (66%) and social economics (51%). 91% agree that teaching will be dispensed remotely – at least partially (45%).
- Compared with other nationalities, Indians have overwhelmingly voted for a complete shift towards remote-learning.
- 87% of Indians have a positive attitude towards remote teaching during the lockdown, including 48% very popositive.
- Infact, 92% feel digitising higher education is a good thing. Despite a 7-point drop versus the measurement in January, it does not have a negative impact on the popularity of new technologies which are still largely approved.
- However, the negative impacts of the crisis are also felt: despite a high propensity toward international travel from Indian students, 91% of those surveyed declare that they will probably limit their travel in the years to come because of the pandemic.