The moments of inspiration for this article - It was 9th July, 2014, I was checking my Facebook newsfeeds wherein I found this status update from a student “Our reaction when four lectures of presentation got cancelled…..Wopppppppppieeeeeee *_* I am loving it #dancing………..” Devanshi Savla, a second year junior college student in Mumbai.
The trigger moment: This simple act of posting status on social networking platform where one can easily shout out and broadcast his/her feelings and emotions and creative ideas. Out of my curiosity about knowing psychology for everything happening around me, my mind started analyzing this simple act of happy status when lectures got cancelled. My mind started pondering over possible issues with education system and probable solutions. Can we not do something with our education system where students posts statuses like “Oh gosh, lectures got cancelled, missed an opportunity to learn something new today” If you are excited to read something which, if implemented, can really make this happen please read further.
My mental agony towards the education system from my College Days: A mental agony was developed since year 2002, the time I had joined college having so many thoughts and curiosity to learn as many things possible during my time in college. The dreams did not materialize because the education system is not providing a space to make students learn by themselves and improve their analytical skills required for the world outside. (But, we do learn by ourselves by not paying attention in college or bunking the lectures, thank god I learnt many things by myself just because of this reason, I did bunk lectures very often and today am very happy about it).
Our education system is crippling us (It’s killing our creativity and out of box thinking capabilities): Coming to the real problem, I observed that our education system is making us crippled. After years of study and graduating from colleges, we are left with a feeling that we have done nothing (Except learning accounts, little bit of business law, little bit of management concepts and bits and parts of few other things – A commerce graduate). While the practical world (industry) requires people with different set of skills which educationists are unaware about or they are not paying attention to or they are totally ignoring the need of the hour or say they are helpless in carrying out any changes.
A creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson has challenged the way education is being imparted in the world. His TED talk says it all. http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity the talk is viewed 2.74 crore times since it was first hosted in Feb 2006. It’s worth a watch. His other talks on TED stage are equally impressive and noteworthy by every person related to education.
What business and industry needs? Of course, the job and business does not need one to be master in each of the following, but yes, one should have understanding of all the aspects and mastery over one thing out of several listed below. It may be noted that it took me nine years to understand the below mentioned points, so please don’t misjudge them as extracted from any books or anything. Kindly also not take the list as exhaustive list.
Understanding of Economics
a. How does government decisions and policies affect my business. Whether am a businessman, a professional, a dealer, a retailer, an investor, a salaried person, and so on
b. How does global changes affect my local business or profession consequently what kind of preventive measures will be sufficient to address the issues coming up
c. How does the digital revolution affect my business, profession or my job
Understanding of Business
i. Retaining customers
ii. Attracting and tapping new markets
iii. Wowing the customers with excellent services and support and more importantly the thinking part of it, the creative part of it
i. Ways and means of marketing
- Understanding of latest trends in marketing (Social media, digital transformation)
- Social responsibility obligations vis-à-vis advertising value
ii. Impact of business decisions on cost management (for those in relevant field)
iii. Simple understanding of Production process or manufacturing process and facilities
iv. Simple understanding of Inventory management system
v. Procedural aspects of import and export and relevant matters if the company is doing such business
Dealing with Government agencies – In India, If I talk about this openly, I may see jail soon. So better I write only the topic here and then it will be reader’s duty to explore this subject in detail. I hope the situation will change soon with new government in power.
i. How to handle employees (good and bad)
ii. How to motivate employees and managers
iii. How to create a creative and pro innovation organization
iv. How to drive growth in an organization
v. What kind of culture should be established in the organization
i. How to talk to clients, how to talk to customers
ii. How to talk to other employees, managers and seniors
iii. How to communicate your ideas through written memos or emails
iv. What are the email etiquettes
v. How to give presentations to managers and seniors
vi. How to express yourself in words (oral and written)
vii. Public speaking (representing your employer or your own business in front of people)
viii. How to conduct and handle meetings
ix. How to teach your juniors (learning the art of teaching and delegating)
i. How to operate computer efficiently (Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Internet Surfing, Microsoft outlook, Emailing softwares, accounting packages, ERP, SAP etc.)
ii. How to google search like a pro (Very important these days)
iii. What are the best websites to obtain news and articles worth reading
iv. Where to find good articles of business or professional interest (not the crap from everywhere)
v. How to operate Microsoft Excel efficiently (nowadays useful for every individual but especially those in accounting profession and finance industry)
Business development and learning skills
i. How can business grow
ii. What an organization should do to create a great organization
iii. What are the popular myth about business development and business growth
The possible solutions
• Students should be instructed and told to read and discuss biographies and autobiographies of business leaders (Example – Jamsetji Tata, Narayan Murthy, Aditya Birla, Dhirubhai Ambani, Ratan Tata, Steve Jobs, etc) and more important it should be discussed amongst them, expressing their views, what they liked, what not and so on. In other words, collaborative learning environment should be promoted in colleges and institutes.
• Students should be told stories about innovative ideas and innovative companies that are coming into existence. There are plenty of them to discuss, even two years of MBA is not enough to discuss these stories and learning from them.
• Students should be encouraged to discuss amongst them about creative business ideas and improvements about existing businesses and industries around them. We should encourage them to be entrepreneurs rather than finding a secured job of least interest to them.
• We should try to motivate them and encourage them to find out their passion during their college time and studies when they have friends around them who can help to brainstorm ideas and come out with even better business models and ideas.
• The youngsters should be taught about how they can approach the venture capital funds and venture capitalists for obtaining funding for starting up their own business or bringing into existence their own ideas into practicality.
• Don’t just teach them to be managers or good managers; we should aim to make them leaders of tomorrow. They are the ones who will drive the growth of India and make India a super power. If we don’t guide them well, what will make India a super power? Americans or Europeans will not come and lead India, it’s our own people and youth that will make that happen. It’s our responsibility to make great leaders out of them.
• Students should be encouraged to talk about creativity in the digital world. There are dozens of new Applications and websites coming up every now and then with great ideas and great contribution to the society. If they discuss those new ideas, they become smarter and they can run the future businesses smartly. They will be great assets to industry and businesses all around the globe.
• Students should be taught lateral thinking. “Lateral thinking is the ability to use your imagination to look at a problem in a fresh way and come up with a new solution. Without lateral thinking, companies can’t innovate and create new products – they’re just stuck with doing the same old thing, perhaps more efficiently than before, but they won’t be able to lead the way. Any company that wants to stay ahead of the competition needs to recruit graduates who are capable of lateral thinking. This skill is highly prized in creative industries such as the media and publishing, and is valued across a range of different industries and professions, including retail, law, management consultancy and IT. Any graduate who takes up a management role is likely to need to draw on lateral thinking skills to solve problems and take forward the work of the team.” Extract from http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/interview-techniques/321043-give-an-example-of-your-lateral-thinking-tricky-graduate-interview-question
• There is a book by Edward De Bono on Lateral Thinking will be of great help. Note: He did not invent lateral thinking but he took initiative to put it in papers and present to the world.
• Students should be guided to read articles from magazines and websites like inc.com, forbes.com, entrepreneur.com, yourstory.com, storypick.com, hrb.org, stanford.edu, mckinsey.com, bcgperspectives.com and so on there are a lot many of them to get useful resources and case studies.
• Students should be taught “How to learn” by themselves. It’s not tough. You will realize this by watching the TED talk given by Sugata Mitra. He experimented with backward region kids and I believe at least college level students are capable enough to learn on their own
i. First talk given by him in August 2008 got 1,105,418 Views http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves
ii. Second talk given by him in September 2010 was viewed 1,959,819 times http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education
iii. Third talk given by him in February, 2013 was viewed 2,053,682 times http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud
• Students should be given chance to collaborate with one another as many times as possible. It’s high time we should understand that the curiosity in them should not die throughout their life. The new generation has all the means, capabilities and intelligence to explore the world on their own. The teachers and professors are required to only guide them what to explore.
• Role of teachers and professors will only be limited to giving them powerful questions to explore. Rest you have to leave it on the students to explore. Today, even four or five years kids are capable of operating mobile phone and I am surprised because I had received my first phone at the age of 19 and that too with basic functions of messaging, calling, storing few memos/notes, simple calculator and calendar. So, you can imagine what the future holds for them. If we don’t change the education system to match their capabilities, it will be a fiasco on part of all of us to dream that India will be able to attain super power position ever. It’s the new generation that will make India super power, we are just facilitators for them, we should predict the future needs and make a way for them and voila, all will be done. “Kehte hai na ki Padhega India tabhi toh Badhega India”. Those who are getting the facility for studying are not making best out of it just because it is established for many years. Now, if we don’t do anything, there is no worse thing that can happen to this country.
• Students should be taught success and failure stories of entrepreneurs. It’s the right time to teach them about entrepreneurship. At present, am observing around me that every youngster has aspiration to start his/her own business or profession. If not now then at some other point of time in future. They should be taught lessons about how to become entrepreneur and what kind of character you need to have in order to become entrepreneur.
• The future of education is through videos. I was awestruck while I watched many TED videos which gave me great insights into this beautiful world, I can’t explain in words. The talks are amazing and freely downloadable on from www.ted.com I can guarantee that if teaching is done by showing in classrooms, these talks are going to make a different India and different and more intelligent Indians. This is just one source; there are so many other sources from which we can obtain videos for educating students and I believe these are best tools to teach and educate them. Who will like to listen to me as a professor if they have an option to listen to Nandan Nilekani (watch this talk on TED by Nandan Nilekani and then give your views how it was and how much it is necessary to show this video to current student community) 6 lac views since Feb 2009
• Kindly also watch this video where a person named Salman Khan (An Educator ) runs an academy where he teaches through videos and urges teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script – give the videos to students to watch at home and discuss the learnings in classroom when teacher is present.
http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education the video has got 3,401,956 views so far since it was first hosted on Ted.com in March 2011
• We should teach them about what is the real ‘Brain Drain’ is. The real brain drain is intelligent class of India working for Multinational Corporations. Before 1990s liberalization, people cared and discussed about ‘Brain Drain’ because in order to export intelligent people’s talents and to work for foreign countries, they had to physically leave the country and work outside Indian borders. So, it was visible ‘Brain Drain’. But today, the foreign companies have come to India and set up business, so we don’t really realize what the brain drain is. To my mind, real ‘Brain Drain’ problem is more serious today than ever. Why? Because foreign companies pay them well.
• I was surprised to see a report on ‘Top 100 universities in the world’ http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2014/reputation-ranking , the heartbreaking this I noticed was that no university of India was placed in first 100 universities. I was almost in tears. So, I decided that I will do something for the education in India. Next day, I resigned from my job for this noble task. Its huge task but not impossible. I will give my best.
To make India a super power, we have to do something at ground level. Yes, we have heard of this before, but according to me the ground level is education. If we can’t work on it right away, no dream will come true. Forget about Indian being super power, other countries will anyhow surpass us in all terms if education system is not strengthened by and large.
Let’s hope to become a great nation in next ten years. Yes, we can and we shall do it.
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