The Indian education scene today is undergoing a transformation. The first dimension of change essentially says that skill and attitude-enhancement need to be seen as far more important outcomes than just knowledge-enhancement in our educational system. Secondly, teachers and institutions themselves need to take to learning as an abiding creed and dictum by engaging in real-life economic or social activities even if on a modest scale. The third and the most critical dimension on which our education system needs to realign are, to focus on producing more leaders and entrepreneurs, rather than employees and job seekers.
Go Beyond Knowledge Transfer to "Engagement", Skill and Attitude Enhancement.
It is axiomatic that purpose of education is transforming learners' levels across three dimensions, viz., Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes. With ubiquitous and ready-to-tap availability of knowledge across the web, cloud, YouTube, company portals, public and private networks, public and proprietary databases, the outcome of education on first dimension, namely on knowledge-enhancement has been rendered easy. However, notwithstanding technology available today, significance of human element is pre-dominant, for, it is only a good teacher who can "engage, excite and inspire" Only a trained and motivated teacher can turn the dead inanimate knowledge resident in books, journals, and even in the web and cloud, into a living and dynamic entities for the learners. Hence, despite the information-intensive, information-ubiquitous and information-savvy world of today, and the IT tools, it is still the human skill and attitude of the teacher, which can make all the difference in maximising learning throughout at a micro level, and success of the education system at macro level.
Beyond delivering on knowledge-enhancement, our education system has to re-orient itself to delivering on remaining two dimensions, namely, Skill-enhancement and Attitude-enhancement. William Butler Yeats' perennially relevant thought "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire", is the most important need of the hour for teachers-learners today. This is especially critical for Indian education system today, which has unfortunately been trapped for decades in the morass of rote learning and "filling the pail" syndrome. We, as teachers and education-leaders need to re-invent ourselves into miners, catalysts, transformation agents, who will engage with learners' minds, hearts and souls, and discover the talent hidden inside the hearts and minds of our learners, fire the learners' imagination and confidence to discover and "find" themselves, build a spirit of not only critical enquiry, but problem-solving.
Teaching, Learning and Doing
The current age is witnessing an explosion of knowledge both vertically and horizontally. The 3 key activities for survival, growth and success for individuals and organisations in this age are: Learning, Learning, Learning. This is all the more applicable for educators and education system. We cannot afford to be cocooned in the self-woven cobweb of old curricula, old lesson-plans, old lecture notes, old teaching and testing material. We, in the business of learning and teaching, have to walk the talk; we have to re-create ourselves into a continually learning entity. We do not need Teaching Teachers but Learning Teachers. We do not need Teaching Universities; and not even Teaching-Learning Universities; but Teaching-Learning-Doing Universities.
Unless educators and a university carries out some real-life activity, like production, service delivery, societal-development by engaging with villages, communities, farms, factories, government organisations, their own knowledge, skills and attitudes will be unreal, disconnected and irrelevant. Only by engaging with the real world in a real-life activity in the respective discipline, will the educators and education-system will invent, innovate, and create the knowledge for betterment of human life. University is meant to be an ocean of knowledge, skills and attitudes; which are delivered to the society, through producing more knowledgeable, more skilful, more positive thinking human beings; and through producing new knowledge, new tools, new insights, and new attitudes. In essence, everything that University does is aimed at applying their deliverables viz. knowledge, skill-sets, attitudes, for making human life productive, healthy, happy, more comfortable, more enjoyable and more sustainable.
Today, the human society is grappling with problems of widespread poverty, hunger, ignorance, disease, exploitation, environmental degradation, terrorism, violence, depleting resources, greed, monopolistic concentration of resources, energy crunch. The burning need today is for our planet to have more leaders, pioneers, who will solve humanity's problems. Our education system should re-orient itself to produce more leaders than followers; more employers than employees; more creators than users; more givers than takers. Only when our education system produces such human resources, will we, as a nation and society, be able to convert the burgeoning youth population of India into demographic dividend; and solve India's problems and provide opportunities for meeting material, physical, mental, social, spiritual needs of our society. Today, if 90 percent of the graduating numbers enter the job market as employees or job seekers, and only 10 percent become entrepreneurs; then the need is to reverse this ratio. As educator-leaders, policy-makers, teachers, we need to re-design, re-engineer, re-orient our education system, curriculum, teaching and testing material to achieve a preponderance of entrepreneurs, employers and job-givers rather than employees and job seekers.
Dr. Bhushan Dewan
He is the Provost of Somaiya Vidyaviharis and a seasoned professional with 24 years of Top Academic experience and 17 years of Top Leadership experience in Industry. He has worked as, Vice President ï¿½ TCS, President ï¿½ Tanla Solutions Ltd., Sr. Vice President- Adani Group and he is also a retired Commander from Indian Navy and a war veteran of 1971 Indo-Pak war.