Having been in higher education since the 1980s and specialising in producing the most sought after IT graduates in Malaysia and the Southeast Asian region, Parmjit has seen it all, in terms of technology, educational and societal trends. And he witnessed the latest societal trend this January when the first ever batch of Gen Z ie those born since 2000 stepped foot into university.
The fact that they are even stepping into universities is significant, for these Digital Natives, live breathe, sleep, play Digital. It would make sense that they want to learn via digital as well. So, isn’t the high touch business of higher education at risk?
Parmjit does not doubt that could happen. But he also notes, “higher education institutions have constantly reinvented themselves to respond to student needs.” To him the rise of the Gen Z and meeting their unique needs is the latest, greatest challenge facing universities today. So how is the founder and executive director of Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) dealing with this challenge? And what lessons can other Brick & Mortar businesses learn from how APU is adapting to this mega disruption?
Where does Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality fit into the picture? What about AI? Whatever the challenges, Parmjit still predicts a brighter future for higher education. “We’re at the pinnacle of higher education today.” Yet others think higher education will be radically different a decade from now, with the changes starting to hit about now. Will Parmjit be right or will the doomsayers?