Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The New Pedagogy - Goals

At Amplify, the institution that I am associated with, the key word that management communicated was “Employability”.  This resonated with me in the current context, because in fact, in India, people look at education as a means to an end.   That end is a good job and perhaps career path that ensures a solid future.  Today, I think any institution in India has to make this the first goal of their pedagogy.  I understand that some may object to such an apparently pedestrian goal of education, but remember we are talking about professional education – in Management as well as the Technical field.

Another goal of any Pedagogy has to be to teach students to “Learn How to Learn”.  In today’s world learning no longer stops after college.  In fact, to succeed professionally, learning no longer stops. Period.  In many countries this has been institutionalized as Continuing Professional Education and has even been made compulsory.  For example, to keep your professional license as an attorney or doctor in the USA, you must complete a certain number of continuing education credits every year.  This continuous learning does not lend itself to the rote learning or even traditional lecture formats that are the mainstay of today’s educational system.  Instead, in today’s world information has to be chosen, collected, absorbed and analyzed before it can be used in one’s work.

Finally, a third goal is the communication of facts and skills.  This is the traditional part of any education and it’s role should not be minimized despite what I said above.  A foundation of the basic knowledge and skills required in any profession is an essential part of professional education.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rethinking Education

I watched this video of an interview with David Garvin of Harvard about Management Education and how it needs to be more connected to the workplace.  He even talks about modeling future programs after the Medical school model where you are taught the practical stuff in a hospital!  Here is the video of the interview:

Well, here is the interesting thing. I had articulated a similar idea about a year ago just a couple of months after joining Amplify. I called it PAISA - for "Program for Amplify Industry Synergy & Association". In PAISA, I had proposed that we put students into industry to work part-time while working on their degree or diploma. This would be supervised by faculty who would help students tackle the difficult aspects of problems encountered by the student at work. By doing this,
(a) the company would benefit by not having to hand-hold the student,
(b) the faculty would benefit by getting a connection with industry and of course (c) the student would benefit by getting the best of academia and industry simultaneously, so one could inform the other.

Hmmm, maybe Harvard needs to use my services. :-)

Where The Mind is Without Fear

Understandably, I start my blog on Education with the immortal words of Rabindranath Tagore which still inspire me, have never become trite as far as I am concerned, and above all are even more relevant today than when they were first written...

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Rabindranath Tagore