UK edtech non-profit Jisc has unveiled a three-year plan to “provide digital services that elevate the further education and skills sector’s ability to serve people as lifelong learners”.
Informed by months of discussions with leaders of further education (FE), the new FE and Skills strategy will lead FE colleges across the UK’s four nations, laying out the sector’s specific requirements based of information from sources such as the Commission on the College of the Future. As well as this, the plan announces the ‘digital elevation model’, which will eventually be a digital self-serve tool to assist educators with strategising and investing in their unique digital transformation experience.
“Since the day providers were forced to close campuses, those which had been slow to the digifest began to realise not just the potential of technology, but the necessity” – Robin Ghurbhurun, Jisc
The project initially kicked off towards the end of last year, and has since been adapted to account for the pandemic’s impact on the sector, emphasised by the joint Jisc and AoC research report, Shaping the Digital Future of FE and Skills, which ran between May and July 2020.
Robin Ghurbhurun, MD for FE and skills, feels this new strategy will help the sector learn from the valuable lessons of lockdown. He commented: “While the pandemic has been hugely disruptive and stressful for many, it has given further education and skills providers a long-overdue shot-in-the-arm – the catalyst required to push the sector into a new era of technology-enhanced education.
“Since the day providers were forced to close campuses, those which had been slow to the digifest began to realise not just the potential of technology, but the necessity. These organisations were challenged the most at the beginning of lockdown but have hopefully emerged all the stronger for it.
“My hope is that their staff are now equipped with new-found digital skills and confidence in online teaching and learning and their leaders are elevating investment in digital infrastructure and edtech further up their admittedly long wish lists. Simply put, those who fail to invest in the benefits of long-term digital transformation risk failure.
“Jisc will continue to do all it can to help. Our experts have supported the sector to manage the extraordinary short-term challenges presented by COVID-19 and, in the longer term, will help providers to excel while they respond to the policies of all UK governments, regional skills needs to be the impact of Industry 4.0.”