Uncommon Sense and Common Nonsense


“What the human being is best at doing, is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”

The above statement reminded me the struggle I’m going thru to convince that there is a greater need of modernizing education to prepare our young  students to the fast changing corporate needs. All that I see with students and the college managements are that they make sure the old “Status Quo” remains in spite of knowing how technology is shaping our daily lives and how influential it is in learning new skills.  I tried to categorize the problems in to the following segments to go deeper into the main problem and understand the core issues rather than come to conclusions/answers to the problem.

Economic: Colleges divert scarce money to activities such as functions, worthless seminars, meetings and other unproductive activities just to garner media attention with an intention of getting more admissions for the college or making sure their photos and news about them is printed. There is no mechanism in place to check the return on Investments of Seminars, meetings and press releases etc.

If this money is used in building laboratory’s students can make something useful to society. The quality of the outcome from the practicals in the Labs will bring repute to the college and that will make the college the most sought after for student admissions. The path to reputation of quality education/college is hard and most of the college managements take the easy routes of popular unproductive mechanism to sustain.  .

Students on their part should make sure they are getting skills and education they deserve for what they pay the colleges. After all they are the customers of the college. Instead most of them are influenced by cinema, media and other factors that divert their efforts, creativity, and energy to wrong issues that won’t help them to acquire skills, education, and knowledge to succeed and have good life for long time. They struggle after college to get into jobs they love.  Most depend on luck to get jobs but later repent the life of working on something that they do not like.

Functional: The class room teachings, planning of syllabus are most unscientific and still continue traditional way. Today’s awareness levels of students , their interests, their attitudes towards life, their learning abilities and the students attentions should be considered while planning the syllabus and the way a professor teaches their students. Universities and Colleges should make it mandatory for students to learn from “Massive Online Open Course ware (MOOC’s) taught by top professors from elite  universities of the world. University and colleges should grade on practical projects that students work on to  solve the problems faced by society.

Students on their part should allocate proper time to learning vital skills required for their career;  not for tests and marks. They should realize that there is vast difference between reel life (cinema type life) and real life and without putting some efforts they cannot get the skills they need to succeed. For their projects they should look at the challenges the nation faces and provide solutions in the form of their project submissions.

Students should be encouraged to take challenges posed by global philanthropic organizations such as Bill and Melinda gates foundation http://www.gatesfoundation.org/ , Hult prize (http://www.hultprizesix.com/)   and http://www.xprize.org/

I wrote an article “chance favours the connected Mind” to elaborate on how technology is reshaping what we learn and how we learn.click here to know more https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/chance-favors-the-connected-mind/

Access: Colleges lack modern class rooms with fast internet connections, practical labs and other teaching aids. This is again due to the wrong priorities of the colleges to divert funds to other areas which won’t help in bringing quality education and skills to students. Even traditional libraries are not attracting enough students to reading because they are not treating that as priority and just act as record keepers of books.

Today the need of the hour is more practical labs and less class rooms. Traditional Class rooms should be replaced with Online teaching and online lecture videos. 

Colleges also bring some eminent scholars for seminars or meetings but it just concludes within that day and follow up on the seminars outcomes are rarely followed subsequently by staff and students. Most of the managements are more interested in media news of the activities on the next day. That is the only follow up I keep seeing.

Students on their part seriously lack interest in reading and attending Seminars. They should develop reading and listening habits to learn new skills. They should realize that reading good books, listening to a professional  is time well spent.

Students should network with the professionals that come to college for subsequent relationship buildings and getting to know what industry is expecting from them.

Social:  Parents and society is influencing colleges/school to a large extent in shaping how these colleges/schools function. In schooling parents are expecting their kids to get the best marks rather than worrying what their siblings are learning. Most of the parents don’t care whether their siblings are having physical exercises, knowing the importance of yoga and meditation and getting the right knowledge and skills to succeed in life and career.

At college levels most of the parents are forcing their kids to join what they think is right for the students instead of knowing the interests of their kids.

There is a dire need of constructive role for parents and society to play in shaping how we educate our youth.

First Parents, tutors should learn the trends that are happening in Industry and in particular how education is changing due to MOOC. Parents and all concerned authorities, business leaders should  closely work with colleges and help/force colleges to deliver what they are supposed to. Colleges on their part should work closely with Industry and constantly upgrade the syllabus to meet the modern corporate requirements.

Equal importance should be given for sports, Yoga and Meditation because this are more important in today’s corporate lifestyle for a balanced, healthy life.

Students on their part should realize that they should give equal importance to learning and acquiring new skills to take on the challenges of modern industries. They should realize that they are not only shaping their destiny but the overall destiny of the country and the quality of living standards of society.

The whole world is becoming competitive and many are looking at India because we the only nation with maximum young population with average age of 26 years.  Here are some links related to our state of education in India.

http://forbesindia.com/article/briefing/primary-education-in-india-needs-a-fix/35287/1

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/world/asia/indian-universities-still-lag-behind-in-world-rankings.html?_r=0

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/11/india-education-state-private-school

http://www.asercentre.org/Keywords/p/205.html

http://mhrd.gov.in/

http://www.articlesfactory.com/articles/education/higher-education-in-india-how-it-looks-and-where-does-it-stand.html

http://www.norrag.org/es/publications/boletin-norrag/online-version/a-world-of-reports-a-critical-review-of-global-development-reports-with-an-angle-on-education-and-training/detail/india-ranked-at-105-in-the-education-for-all-development-index.html

So my pursuit of bringing this kind of awareness will continue  to convince the college/school management and parents about the seismic shifts in imparting education to meet the modern society’s challenges. The most uncommon Sense of changing dynamics of education and skills enhancement to meet modern industry requirements, needs lot of attention but the challenge to eliminate  Common Nonsense of today’s educational institutes and students attitudes towards learning is a big challenge and i’m hoping to hear from you what we can do together. Comments are  much appreciated. Thanks

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2 thoughts on “Uncommon Sense and Common Nonsense

  1. If we go a bit deeper into why parents’ expectation from kids are the way they are its got to do with the inherent money-mindedness. A kid ( a civil engineer say) landing up a high paying job in a financial services company is appreciated much more than someone who takes up a local job as a civil engineer in a municipality which probably pays one-fourth. The latter might even face ridicule. We all know that India needs to immediately work on its pressing sewage treatment, water supply and infrastructure issues. However its a choice the student and parents have to make At the end of it , its about personal choice. If money comes before everything then there is no point blaming the colleges/professors.

  2. Thanks for the comment Sowmya. For the point regarding the choice of money everything else is a back burner as you rightly said. That is why there is a need for a collaborative efforts of all stakeholders (Industry , government, colleges/schools, parents and students) to reform this system and as a first initiative we need a industry ,education providers connect and a Government agency as nodal point that is similar to national science foundation of USA.

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