Can MOOCs reskill and upskill the Indian Workforce for the Industrial Revolution 4.0?
Keywords:Industrial Revolution 4.0, reskill, Indian workforce, MOOCs, Youth
Industrial Revolution 4.0 is blurring the boundaries between human intellect and technology. It is characterized by technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain Technology, Robotics, Internet of Things among others. The much-celebrated Industrial Revolution 4.0 will create massive job losses in developing countries including India due to the automation of jobs and processes. Thus, there is a dire need to reskill a vast majority of the workforce for the Industrial Revolution 4.0 which has already begun to be implemented due to its optimization and efficiency in resource usage. According to an estimate by OECD, the nature of 1/3rd of the jobs will transform due to technological interventions. Whereas World Economic Forum has set an ambitious target of reskilling at least 1 billion people by 2030. It believes that the world is undergoing a reskilling emergency. On the other hand, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were conceived as an online version of distance learning and are increasingly being seen as a medium for filling the skills gap. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are relying on the MOOCs courses along with utilizing the tools of Web 2.0 to cater to the demands of quality, affordable and accessible education to all. MOOCs also caters as a platform for the promotion of lifelong learning. COVID 19 has provided a spurt to the acceptability of MOOCs courses with most Edu Tech start-ups and MOOCs websites registering double-digit growth in the recent past. Coursera's 2020 impact report showcases that India has become the second-largest market for MOOCs with 9.84 million learners after the USA which has 14 million learners. The paper investigates the viability of the MOOCs courses in filling the skill gap as well as the reskilling of the Indian Workforce. It will also delve into whether the MOOCs courses can bridge the digital divide with the country having the world's largest unconnected population. It will critically engage with the question of whether Industrial Revolution 4.0 requires only highly specialized technology-based skills or soft skills or a combination of both for future jobs.
Keywords: Industrial Revolution 4.0, Reskill, Indian Workforce, MOOCs, Youth