From sage under the tree to Google guru

IIITB hosts international leadership program image


A decade ago, the possibility of unfettered and unlimited access to education seemed impossible. However, the traditional industrial approach to education, itself a legacy of the industrial revolution, is no longer relevant in a global, massively networked, hypercompetitive world. For instance, there is much uncertainty and ambiguity around the future of work, as the emergence of technologies like AI, ML and automation change job requirements. In short, education and institutions that deliver it, need re-architecting. This was the theme of the Samvaad talk on "Re-architecting Education for 21st Century Relevance: The IIMBx Experience" by PD Jose, professor of Strategy at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, held at IIITB campus on the occasion of Teacher’s Day on September 5. 

“If you look at the education landscape in last couple of years, a lot has changed. There is huge global mobility, both for students and faculty, thus increasing competition. Technology has restructured many institutions and value-chain of many industries has completely reconfigured. It has destroyed distance and restructured jobs. Moreover, access to knowledge is being seen more as a right than as a privilege, increasing the demand for high quality education and resources in an open model,” explained professor Jose. 
The talk had some examples that proved that the change in education landscape is irrefutable. “The University of Texas runs online courses that are same as on-campus courses. There is no distinction between online and on-campus students. They write the same exams, enjoy same alumni status, receive same certificates and get same placement assistance,” cited professor Jose. 

Comparing traditional and 21st century education model, professor Jose explained that while old model was linear, based on exclusion and had location constraint, the 21st century learning model will be need-based, asynchronous and in virtual space.

 “The brick and mortar model of 20th century has transformed dramatically. From very passive mode of learning through text books and face-to-face lectures, we have turned to Google as our guru. Learners are digital natives, multi taskers, visually oriented, impatient, skill focused, looking for new experiences and are self-motivated. So if that is the case, we need to redefine education towards inclusive, life-long and non-linear. Skill sets required for future jobs are changing too. Learnability is the skill that education institutions need to teach students. Social intelligence, trans-disciplinarity, cognitive load management are some other new skill sets gaining popularity. And while good old analytical thinking, active learning, creativity, reasoning, problem solving remain, the pedagogy of developing these skill sets are changing,” said professor Jose.

Addressing education institutions and their fear of dilution, professor Jose said, “We fear dilution as we want to hold on to the ‘brand’. But you cannot be holding progress hostage to your brand. Your brand is good because you were innovative pioneer at one point in time. We have to give up the idea that we own education as education institution. Moreover, since a teacher of the past is not a teacher of the future, as teachers, we need to work on our skill sets too.”