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Higher education

Every professional sector is now expected to function according to standards of international best practice. Global companies depend on well-qualified young professionals to support their domestic and international corporate activities.

Indian companies must compete in an increasingly global environment and must therefore meet or exceed international standards. Furthermore, Indian companies are global leaders in important sectors, especially in digital technologies and IT.

As a result, there is a growing need for Indian higher education institutions to deliver graduates at Bachelors’, Masters’ and Doctoral level who are able to perform in the increasingly competitive global commercial and industrial world.

The new National Education Policy (NEP 2020) in India is formulated to modernise education in India at all levels, from pre-school to higher, vocational and professional education. A central focus is on migrating from teacher-centric to student-centric education, including deploying the methods and techniques that are now widely in use in leading educational institutions across the world. NEP 2020

CIP is actively engaged in this sector. CIP Chairman, Dr Geoffrey Clements, has worked with Indian school systems in both the public and private sectors, and developed programmes for the modernisation of school education in collaboration with experts in the UK. See the section School education.

Dr Geoffrey Clements is also active in the higher education sector in India, and has taught in high-ranking business schools and universities, as well as mentoring faculty development programmes. His main focus is in business management courses and workshops, as well as management development programmes

There is an important interface between higher education and professional development and performance. Graduates, especially at Masters’ level and above, must be “career-ready”. International and Indian companies expect the intake of new graduates to be able to perform at high professional standards from day 1. But this is only possible if the educational programmes that the graduates have taken are at least adequate for the purpose.

Systematic techniques and methods have been developed for the evolution of international standards in higher education, and their consistent application.

These methods include:

  • Project-based learning
  • Peer-to-peer learning

Project-based learning. Projects are integral to the process of gaining knowledge and skills

Project-based learning differs from simply “doing projects”. The latter is often a method of testing learning at the end of a course or set of lectures.

In project-based learning on the other hand, the project is integral to the learning process. Students not only acquire knowledge about the discipline they are studying, they also acquire skills pertaining to how to apply this knowledge in complex problem-solving.

Elements of project-based learning

The project

  • Is an integral part of gaining knowledge
  • Engages the students in solving real problems
  • Develops the capacity to answer complex questions

Students develop a deeper understanding of concepts.

Group projects foster creative energy. On completing a project, students demonstrate knowledge and skills they have gained

Features of project-based learning

  • Learning is applied in meaningful ways
  • Instruction and practical knowledge are incorporated into the structure of the project
  • Students are guided in developing the required level of academic standards
  • Project work engages students in their academic and professional development

Outcomes of project-based learning

  • Students can understand how their work has an impact in the real world
  • Students become deeply engaged in their work
  • They develop an understanding of the relationship between classroom knowledge and real-world skills

Benefits of project-based learning

Project-based learning fosters the development of important life skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Complex communication ability
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Collaboration
  • Higher-order thinking
  • Advanced reasoning capability
  • Productive team-building

Peer-to-peer learning. Unlocking teaching & learning capacity of students in their peer groups

Peer-to-peer learning spans from informal discussions in which students can assist their co-students in assimilating information and gaining knowledge, to sophisticated structures of peer-to-peer interactions, customised to be of most benefit in the context of the courses they are engaged in.

Categories of peer-to-peer learning

  • Discussion seminars
  • Proctor model
  • Peer support groups
  • Peer assessment schemes
  • Collaborative projects
  • Cascading groups
  • Workplace mentoring
  • Reciprocal teaching
  • Expert jigsaw method

Benefits of peer-to-peer learning

Well-constructed peer-to-peer methods have been found to be of distinct benefit in developing coherent and usable structures of knowledge. Students are often more effective in assisting their peers in gaining useful knowledge than in formal teaching situations.

Advantages of peer-to-peer learning

  • Students learn that similar concepts may be applied
  • To a range of different situations
  • To create viable solutions
  • Learners collaborate in locating solutions
  • Peer-to-peer learning facilitates continuous development

Professional application of student-centred learning

Advantages of peer-to-peer learning

Preparing students for life-long learning in their careers

The objectives of the new methods of student-centred learning are to:

  • Empower students with the capacity to develop useful and use-able knowledge in a self-sufficient way
  • Grow in the capacity to work in teams with assigned roles and responsibilities
  • Develop professional aptitudes and skills that assist in the seamless migration from academia to professional life
  • Engender the capacity to understand and apply world-class methodologies in their chosen professional field
  • To operate effectively in the multidisciplinary environment of the real world

Research findings confirm that the methods of student-centred learning contribute towards achieving these objectives and produce results that are significantly better than the traditional lecture-based, teacher-centred educational methods.

Research on student-centred learning using peer-to-peer methods shows that there is a significant increase in average learning retention rates. Learning retention rates of up to 90% are reached by students teaching other students.


CIP Chairman Dr Geoffrey Clements has applied these methods in courses and workshops in leading business schools and universities in India, including faculty development programmes. In the application of student-centred methods, he also draws on his experience in industry-based organisational capacity building programmes. This assists the process of making the learning experience in higher education of best value in the development of professional skills and capabilities.

Subject areas include:

  • Project management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Global mindset
  • Business communications
  • Fiscal and monetary policy
  • Supply chain management
  • International best practice in management

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