Reengineering Higher Education: The Seamless Knowledge Management System for the University

Reengineering Higher Education: The Seamless Knowledge Management System for the University

K.V Bhanu Murthy (Delhi School of Economics, India)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-753-4.ch017
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The University System is confronted with a changed environment which necessitates re-engineering of higher education. The new framework is that of a new Pedagogic System that is to be embedded in the Knowledge Management System, in seamless manner, through pervasive computing. This paper argues that the University system is under great pressure from industry (society) to deliver such finished products (graduates) from its system so as to be directly absorbed into industry and that too at a mass scale and in a short period of time. The objective is to propose a complete change in the philosophy and methods and outline the re-engineering by which this can be done, in a seamless manner, through these strand of re-engineering: 1. e-learning and blended learning; 2. pervasive computing; 3. distance and open learning; as well as 4. an outcomes approach to pedagogy.
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The motivation of this paper lies in trying to understand the new role of the University and evolving a strategy to re-engineer the University System. For abiding by this premise the necessary condition is to agree that there is a need for change. The debate on what the role of the University is rightfully belongs to the domain of applied philosophy. But to propose re-engineering of such a fundamental and old institution (not a company) we really need to have a deep enough insight that can only arise from philosophy. The debate about the role of the University is as old as the institution itself1.

Earlier the debate was about the fundamental role of the University. The question usually was about the choice between the University’s role in furthering basic research versus its role in innovation meant for industry2. Bhanu Murthy (1995) has argued about the nexus between ‘skills, technology and basic science’ and has shown how the University can play a role in providing ‘manpower development’ for industry. Florida (1999), on the other hand, argues that we would be undermining the value of research universities if we regard them simply as sources of technology.

In more recent times the whole context of the knowledge economy has come up. There is shift in the debate now and the focus is on the relationship between the University and the challenges that the knowledge economy poses to the University system. The new emphasis is clearly on re-engineering:

“Although the knowledge economy should be good news for higher education, universities now confront a variety of technical, legal, and cultural forces that threaten to relegate us to the periphery. Avoiding that fate will require us to redefine the university on a scale not seen since the emergence of the research university”. (James Hilton, 2004, p.1).

It is still strongly believed that the University system is slow to adapt.

“University systems can be categorized on a spectrum of strikingly non-adaptive (succumbing to an entrenched bureaucracy that inhibits change) to the more flexible systems that can absorb and reconstitute potentially threatening ideas…” (Charles Henry, 2008, p.1).

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