The transformation of academy to Economic and well-being clusters


We are in an age of complex challenges which demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction without which we cannot have constructive progress.

Students are entitled to expect that they will succeed in learning something of value when they are groomed by schools and colleges. If they don’t succeed, they are entitled to know immediately that they have not. And when they have not succeeded, they have the right to expect that they will be involved in learning that makes success more likely on their next try. Education, which cannot subscribe to these ideas—neither in their words nor in actions—are not likely to manage effectively.

Young Kids should be more engaged in open possibilities with unbridled curiosity, passion for problem solving, taking risks and strong ethics. Present education and society’s wrong expectations are shifting them from those great characters which are the need of the hour.

Unpredictably is the norm of the day. The magnitude of cultural, societal, industrial, technological, environmental and other unforeseen events is so complex that, in order to handle those complex challenges we need to prepare this young generation very differently.

Here are the transformation steps we need in academy.

  1. Fitness first and then everything else falls in place. Academy should make it mandatory in keeping everyone in the society hale and healthy by introducing yoga, meditation, sports and community service. Transform universities, colleges/school campuses to have the required infrastructure and grade students accordingly.
  2. Citizen resources: Redesign the whole university, college/school campuses for active participation of Citizens, Professionals, scientists, businessmen, industry,  students or anyone who wishes to learn, experiment, tinker and create products.
  3. Wellbeing Centres: Redesign classrooms into wellbeing centres where anyone can use the resources for increasing their physical, mental and psychological fitness.
  4. Business Academic centres: Remove the legal and all boundaries of identifying academy and business separately. Every business activity should have participation from fresh minded students, faculty along with the employees of the business.  Many a times, Business experts are trapped by their own knowledge and fresh graduates creates innumerable possibilities for some real challenges business faces.  This will be a win-win situation for both industry and academy in areas of working in real world challenges and gaining skills and talents in sustaining business with low costs, higher profitability and new innovations.
  5. Clusters of Expertise:  All universities, colleges and schools should be grouped as clusters of specific expertise and that should be based on the knowledge, skills, talents needed in industries, software technology parks, special economic zones and other industrial clusters in and around the academic institutes.

For example if there are many pharmaceutical companies and Petrochemical industries in an area then the academic curriculum of that area’s colleges, schools and universities should be on those specific domains and also on emerging trends such as Robotics, artificial intelligence and data analytics ,drug discovery, Health innovations  etc. in the above sectors.  By clubbing universities, colleges and schools based on the specific domain expertise and emerging trends,  students, faculty will gain real time working experiences.

  1. Academic Project clusters: All government funded initiatives, projects , infrastructure developments and all kinds of commercial works of state and federal programs should be initiated in university clusters by making them as part of the stakeholders in that specific projects. This will erase the boundaries between Education and commerce. The initiatives will create employment for students who will be getting grading on their progress in real world work.
  2. Functional Degrees. Degrees should be awarded to students and remuneration and other rewards for faculty on the work accomplished in live projects. Those certificates should be based on the expertise gained in specific functional areas rather than general certificates such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering etc. These way each clusters of universities will be building on specific domain skills, talents which can be mapped to business requirements and other such needs.

The proposal is a major structural, legal and strategic change with immense benefits for the good of academy, business and Government.

Since a new business model requires disrupting the present, it’s important to be thoroughly conversant with prevailing model and how present system creates value.

There should not be any confusion about the new business model with changing the activities performed within the present framework. If it is done that way then its plain old business process reengineering. This inside-out view has the potential of labelling mere internal alterations as a new model. Don’t. Instead, academy, government and all stakeholders should take an outside-in view, focusing on outcomes, not activity, in addressing whether the business model is truly new. Internal activities will most likely morph as a result of addressing changes to strategic factors, but this is a second-order effect.

Comments, improvements, new ideas are always encouraged. Let’s make ourselves better with best practices.  Thank you for reading.

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Stop building classrooms and focus on Wellbeing buildings and more Laboratories.


There is a lot of traction in imparting education using Massive Online Open Courseware (MOOC) where students can pick and choose what they like to learn. Today all top universities and colleges offer a wide range of subjects and also enable students to practice what they learn by making them to complete live projects.

As MOOC gained Momentum it erased the boundaries that only universities can impart education. Today we can see top companies such as Google, IBM , Ted Education, YouTube education , khan academy , Microsoft, Cisco to name a few who are  conducting professional courses that are aligned to what companies are expecting from fresh graduates when they join the corporate.

There are also wide range of offerings for students to pick up skills online for building products such as raspberry Pi projects  https://www.raspberrypi.org/resources/make/  Makezine  projects https://makezine.com/   , Projects made from Arduino chips https://playground.arduino.cc/Projects/Ideas to name a few examples.

One of my JNTUK petroleum engineering student even shared his practical experiences via blog here https://geethakrishnablog.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/fdp-an-experience/

All these events  point towards one trend which is that present and future belongs to learning whatever we want by just having high speed internet connection and knowing exactly what skills we want to acquire that makes us valuable and just join a course.

While technology is reshaping education and enabling students to acquiring most wanted skills on one hand, universities, colleges, schools, both private and public are investing massive amounts of money building classrooms.

All these empty classrooms will eventually become a burden on the sustainability of colleges and universities as they move their classrooms to online. What stays relevant is only labs that allow students to practice what they learn online.

There is still hope for those who have massive investment in Buildings and for those who are in the middle of building more educational institutes. Here is my suggestions for those to consider.

  1. There is a need to redefine the language of academics in order to create new possibilities and new way of positioning colleges and universities on a sustainable path.
  2. First and foremost re position universities and colleges as Wellbeing centres of Excellence.
  3. Those who are investing in building schools and colleges should construct more laboratories for students to do experiments needed in areas such as Artificial intelligence, Robots, IOT (Internet of things) , Bio technology , Bio Mimicry projects etc.
  4. Instead of classrooms, Universities, colleges and schools should focus on building Pyramid structures for Meditation  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power , acquiring knowledge in Siddhi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhi  , learning Yoga  so as technology takes over our jobs people will have to invent and create new products and services that need extra ordinary capabilities that can be achieved with a high level of meditation, yoga and siddhi
  5. Universities and colleges should also build world class sports trainings facilities, yoga and meditation centres. These efforts will sustain them long term profitably as citizens, sportsmen and people who wants to conduct experiments can use the facilities for a fee and overall this will be a win-win situation as universities and colleges playing a vital role in keeping the citizen healthy and spiritually rich and also playgrounds for inventions , scientific discoveries and Research.
  6. The boundaries between academics and business should be erased. Faculty should consider themselves as corporate executives and they have a role in developing new products and services just like any company does but one difference is that their focus should be towards wellbeing of the societies and environment friendly. The next big business opportunity comes from rebuilding environmentally friendly products and services.

Please enrich this article with your thoughts as Comments. Thanks for reading