Apeejay Education, an academic institution in India established for more than 50 years, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, have announced the launch of the National Education Policy Accelerator Program (NEPAP), an initiative to enable academic institutions in India to align with the technology requirements documented in the Government’s National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020).
This is the first program in India to support the technology transformation of education institutions as per the NEP 2020. The pioneering National Education Policy Accelerator Program will support academic institutions and Indian EdTechs to create and adopt digital solutions to advance India’s education sector.
The NEP 2020 aims to strengthen India’s education sector that directly contributes to the country’s growth and development, demonstrating the need to integrate technology into education to improve learning and teaching at all levels. According to a press statement, the accelerator program will address two key tenets of the NEP 2020 – on the extensive use of technology in teaching, learning, education planning, and management; and in the creation of open, interoperable, evolvable, public digital infrastructure in the education sector to support multiple platforms and point solutions.
The accelerator program will guide academic institutions on multiple aspects of the NEP 2020. It will support academic institutions by conducting digital innovation workshops to focus on identifying and prioritizing unique challenges of the academic institutions, and co-building solutions or proof-of-concepts (POCs) using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). AWS will drive these workshops based on the Amazon Working Backwards innovation methodology, which uses design thinking to identify and define a customer-focused problem or opportunity and develop prototypes. Through the accelerator program, AWS and Apeejay Education aim to support academic institutions with AWS credits and capacity-building workshops, to build and implement the POCs. Apeejay Education will bring expertise on the use cases of digital solutions in the education sector, and support with testing the solutions to extend the reach to other institutions across India.
Apeejay Education is a pioneer in the adoption of technology and cloud computing and today, Apeejay Stya University – part of Apeejay Education – runs its entire learning management, fee and billing, governance, administration, and admissions systems on AWS. The university’s digital readiness enabled it to offer online classes to students within 24 hours of the initial lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and scale its learning management system as needed. By running its critical systems on AWS, the university accelerated its journey to align with the NEP, and effectively engage its 35,000 students and 2,500 faculty members across 26 campuses in India.
Commenting on the need for such initiative, Aditya Berlia, Co–promoter, Apeejay Education, said,
"Academic institutions in India need to reach the digital maturity advised by the NEP 2020, and take advantage of the latest technologies to modernize their systems, address evolving learner expectations and demands, and achieve operating cost savings. There is a clear need today to help institutions identify and define problem statements, develop digital solutions, test their efficacies in fail-safe environments, and scale the solutions for the benefit of the education sector."
The accelerator program will also create the NEP Solution Finder, a catalog of NEP 2020-aligned technology solutions developed by EdTechs in India. The NEP Solution Finder will list solutions tailor-made for the education sector, covering aspects such as digital transformation, administrative services, governance reform services, academic and curriculum restructuring, financial restructuring, and local language support, among others.
Sunil PP, lead—education, space, and nonprofits, AISPL, AWS India and South Asia, also commented,
"AWS is delighted to collaborate with Apeejay Education to help academic institutions in India focus on supporting their core mission of providing quality education, and delivering on their most strategic institutional priorities. By bringing together academic institutions and Indian EdTechs, the accelerator program will help in the experimentation and development of cloud-based solutions scaled for India’s education sector, and aligned to the NEP 2020 vision."
The accelerator program will also help academic institutions to publish whitepapers to amplify successful and replicable implementation models and solutions. This will encourage best practices in the implementation of NEP 2020, and in the creation of a knowledge repository.
Apeejay Education and AWS will run the accelerator program through multiple cohorts of academic institutions, that can apply for the program. EdTechs interested to showcase their solutions to the academic institutions can also apply to participate in the accelerator program.