When one hails from the first state within a country which was declared 100% literate some years ago - one tends to develop a unique outlook towards teaching and learning. As a result, one's expectations from Kerala's teachers will be higher. If I put myself in such shoes, it gets coupled with the fact that my parents happen to be teachers (Mom taught Maths and Dad taught Geography to army men). Due a combination of forces, my mediocrity meter may have become a bit more sensitive than normal.
My exposure to the Education Industry (yes, it's become an industry during my time) as an HR professional gave me many opportunities to look under the veil. From the time I passed out with a campus placement in 1998-99, I've got to witness the transition of management education from being 'Scope' based popularity in the late 90's to denigrate (for majority of institutions) to being a 'Placement' machinery in the boom days after 2008 recession.
Looking back, I feel very lucky to have been gained my basics of management from an institute which at that point of time had over 90% visiting faculty. I guess this made sure that only practitioners from diverse corporates in Pune who loved to teach and could find time outside their office hours on a daily basis (talk about being busy) were the ones whom we got to raise our questions and thoughts. I so wish management institutes figure out a way to find such volunteer teachers for they are the ones who stand a better chance to provide value and create an impact to humanity via their attempts to foster learning.
My last full time stint with corporate world brought me back to my home state in 2008. There was the natural need to get connected with local talent pools (B-schools and Professional colleges included). During this process, the results of which are now in public domain - I've had many experiential learning opportunities, some of which are being shared via this blog as musings.
1. Teaching as a Career: I get to listen in on many conversations during the trips i had made across Kerala and this one stands out. A Senior person was heard explaining to the parents of a daughter why 'teaching' was a good career option for women in particular. The reason - There are over 3 months of paid holidays! Exemplary way to choose a career right? It's no real wonder then that the schools end up taking life away as the following video explains.
2. Teachers as thought leaders: I'm fortunate to have many employee-hr connections turned into life long friendships and one among those are three pals have set out on an entrepreneurial journey some years back along with their B-School Teacher to form a unique venture. They are doing some amazing stuff these days. When I get to see such thought leading collaborations on one end of the spectrum, the trouble is that I find the opposite end very sad to digest / connect. Recently, a group of academicians and some Industry experts attempted to convince me about the relevance of Industry-Academy interface and explained their unique approach towards that goal. More on that later as the jury is still out but I really wish that the Dunning-Kruger Effect was documented at least a decade earlier so that self-declared thought leaders from my state who believe that they are marching towards the zenith (if there is one) of management education would have got a chance to watch the following Ted-Ed video.
I could go on and on but let me place some thoughts as a solution to those leaders who care to dig deeper.
The Industry will always find ways to reach out to real Talent - I mean the 'Candidates' among the those students who flock to professional colleges (Engg and Mgmt or other graduate level courses). They (The industry) will also find ways to weed out 'Job-Seekers' as the progressive among them have realised that it's the candidates that create value even when faced with uncertainty and will hence evolve methods to attract such candidates, with or without academic qualifications.
Use the time available to you to forge unique linkages with Industry segments which can provide conduits to your students.
When open sourced content is already available on multiple devices (sound as well as text) - attempt to leverage those and create value to the Industry via your students and yourself.
Volunteer for programs with Industry forums and be known for knowledge snippets that you create from the plethora of sources available to you with the access you have as academicians.
Our current students are headed for stuff which most of us cannot imagine now - this article by my good friend Shahana will give some glimpse of that future.
Want a case worth emulating in Kerala? Take a look at #Ulab and Theory U via the MIT. Kerala has enough problems to solve and it can act as opportunity for academicians.
Glad to spend time with anyone who is willing to 'think' and brainstorm and this is beyond calling one group as 'Think-Tank'