Management Education needs to be evolved. There is so much written about education today and management education in particular. All the leading magazines carry out a survey about the existing management colleges/ Institutions where in the leaders in management education have expressed their views.
Personally speaking, I feel that we are sitting at a juncture and internally getting the feeling that very soon there is going to be an explosion in management education. We, the leaders in management education are sitting tight and dreading some eventuality which may not augur well, for most of us in this fraternity, and yet we are only sitting waiting for the worst to come and not doing anything to prevent it! Why is this so?
Let us analysis the 1st statement wherein I have mentioned the fact that we are subconsciously awaiting a revolutionary change. If we look at the education scenario of the past six years, it is understood that many private organizations got and availed the opportunity of expanding in a big way. Earlier, only accredited Institutes were permitted increase in intake. However, during the time when Shri Kapil Sibbalji was HRD Minister, norms were relaxed and it was made open to all in the private sector to enter the fray of higher education. This resulted in a mushrooming growth of engineering and management colleges across the country. This also resulted in many existing institutes applying for increase in intake and also an additional shift. Opening of a new college / Institute seemed relatively easy, if one had a “Trust” registered with the Charity commissioner, land and resources to build the infrastructure. The consequences were that there were more supplies than demand! There were more colleges / Institutes than aspirants. The challenge then was to fill up the vacancies by all means. As a result we have students carrying a piece of paper called “Degree” but not really justifying that “Degree”. Then again, the growth in the industry did not keep pace with the mushrooming growth of students being churned out of such Institutions. Everyone in the industry spoke about unemployable youth but no one actually cared enough to do anything about it. When the situation became worse and such institutes started resorting to unethical means of sustenance the government and the regulatory bodies suddenly realized the need to become strict with the objective of not letting the standards dip down further. The nose around private un-added institutions became tighter. On the other hand a blind eye was given to the existing university departments and other government colleges. Such institutions were given the privilege of relaxation in maintaining the norms as compared to those in the private unaided sector. The private un-aided sector was always looked upon with suspicion that their existence is merely to make money, in spite of the fact that being registered with the charity commissioner’s office, these Institutions are not supposed to make a profit. On the other hand the ranking parameters are the same for all including private un-added colleges, Government / aided colleges and IITs & IIMs. This is absolutely unfair because the IITs & IIMs have a lot fund at their disposal, the Government aided colleges are basking in security irrespective of the development of their Institute whereas the private un-aided colleges, especially at the lower level of the pyramid are struggling to sustain. Thus parameters remain same whereas resources allocation is unequal. The cascading effect of all this is uncertainty about the future of the education and because of this uncertainty there appears to be a paralysis in terms of gearing up for the change. Here I would like to mention that the only solution to this situation is to embrace change.
As far as the 2nd statement is concerned we need to understand what we can do collectively to improve the system and change the scenario. We need to understand the changes happening around us and introduce those changes in the curriculum and syllabus. If we look around, everything is going the tech way………we order food online, we staying in touch with each other through a device, we buy movie ticket online, we conduct financial transactions online, we have artificial intelligence and if we want to understand / study anything there are portals which can teach us anything under the sun. Why then would we need classrooms, teachers or books? Most of the existing jobs would become redundant in times to come. Thus there is a strong need to take education to the next level to transform modern day learner into an enriched work force. It goes without thinking that digital education is here to stay. This is easier said than done. The challenge is the heavy cost that it involves and availability of electricity as well as access to this facility, especially in remote areas. There are certain good changes which have been adopted in the private sector. To name a few, internships have now become compulsory, especially in vocational education. Private universities have introduced new types of courses which are project based and some institutions have implemented a flexible credit system wherein a student can pick and choose subjects of his own interest. We will need to embrace social media and digital means to communicate with students. Already there are software to take care of administrative work. To evolve in the truest sense, we need to do away the subjects which are redundant, introduce subjects which are going to be the need of tomorrow and balance it out with field immersion activity for each subject to give the much needed practical exposure. Pedagogy should be 50% class room teaching and 50% on the job training. The need of the hour is the Industry synergized MBA- basically a work-study program module. Industry personnel too should be made to teach in colleges as is in Thailand where Industry professionals have to engage classes to earn their credit points.
Then again the evaluation system too, needs to be re-invented. Continuous evaluation, application-based evaluation need be introduced. A think-tank comprising of Industry, Academia & owners of colleges / institutions should sit together and plan curriculum which should be the basic minimum standardized across the country. Institutions may be permitted to go beyond the basic minimum specified, but minimum standardization in education is required.
The role of regulatory authorities too should be minimized. It should be left to the market forces to decide the fate of the educational institutions. A general observation is that to comply with the regulatory authorities and norms, most of the time is spent on creating and maintaining documents rather than serving for the purpose for which it was established in the first place. Just like the administrative services (IAS) there should be a similar program for the teaching faculty as well. Internship for faculties too can be made a compulsory inclusion. The five year tenure appointment could be introduced for faculty and not just the Principal.
To conclude in order to survive, we need to embrace “CHANGE”. Change does not just mean enhancing curriculum, or improving pedagogy or more training of faculties and strict norms. It means evolving along with the changing cultural patterns and joining hands with the mindset of today’s youth with the wisdom of senior professionals on a continuous basis.
It is just as if evolve to change & change to evolve or else perish-is the mantra.