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Friday, March 19, 2010

Three Idiots, Five point Someone and me….!

This is an open thought for all of us to think, think and keep thinking before decide or conclude!

Nowadays, it has become fashion for everyone to talk in length & breadth about the lacunae of the education system of the country..! Everybody agree that there are lots of problems with the system of education & examinations. I too have been advocating the need of liberation and focus needed on grooming the self learning process in young minds. Apart from my own experiences, the books of ‘Paulo Coelho’, ‘Chetan Bhagat’ and so on, had also influenced my thinking process! Another important influence was my friend Vinod, who is the founder of ‘Mazhavillu, the alternative school’. All these points of view are acceptable and there is a huge movement initiated among educationalists, institutions and educational regulatory/ advisory bodies (from NCERT to ICSE in Indian context) to reform the prevailing system…

Now, I would like everyone to do some serious action to visualize in our minds about the change required in the system….!

We all say the following three points quite often…

1) There should not be pressure for our kids at the young age….!
2) We should allow our kids to choose their career path based on their passion…!
3) Our education system should be more application oriented…

Let’s have some honest analysis of the same…

Though we say that there should not be pressure, we enjoy a lot when our children get 1st Rank since class-I and when they don’t get good percentage, we put pressure on them to improve the marks…not their understanding!

Why do we want our kids to score more marks? Because, in India, due to exploding population, our limited number of institutions and infrastructure, kept the percentage of marks scored as a filtering mechanism for the admission process. Over a period of years, though there had been a phenomenal improvement in the educational infrastructure, we follow the same mechanism to filter instead of a well balanced, scientific and appropriate aptitude analysis! Thanks to our old generation of educationists, who still resist the change in the name of credentials of our system (The same system, which is not indigenous, but just a ‘left over’ from British of 19th Century) quoting examples of Sir C V Ramans and other Indian scientists, who made a mark of their own..!! Most of these scientists made their presence felt when they could go outside India and if you analyse the statistics, not even one of our premier institutions could register any patent for years together…! But still our society is keen to push our kids into IITs & IIMs year after years!! A recent revelation by a group of alumni of one of such institutions is that there was not even a properly working ‘CNC Lathe’ in their lab, which is a shame for a country boasts of 6+% growth during when the whole world is under the grip of recession….!!

Now, it’s a vicious circle, here in our country…! More & more middle class push their children to these premier institutions because the country’s corporate world (The India Inc) prefers to induct their workforce from such institutions! So, in effect, entry to such institutions is considered to be a passport to the best business houses of India. Kids stop living from 9th Class onwards by starting off preparing for ‘Entrance Exams’….can you believe it? The youngsters curse their parents and those who make it to such places acknowledge their parents’ extra ordinary efforts. But only a few discusses candidly about the lacunae of the system, which produced them …!

So, the reforms we speak about should happen not in the education system prevailing in the country, but in the minds of those parents who push their wards so hard and in the mind sets of the ‘India Inc’, who feels that if they recruit from the premier institutions their organizations will be taken care forever..!! In fact, the change in the system should start from the attitude of such organizations first, which will reduce the insecurity of the parents and their wards thereby, of course, as a repercussion, it will bring in welcome change in the education system as well.

When we have this reverse engineering in place, we will not pressurize our young kids too much and we’ll be bold enough to allow them to follow their respective passion! Our educationists can bring in aptitude analysis and guide each individual to follow what he would like to pursue in life….! And if these institutes, in association with the boards & universities, can bring in application/ skill oriented system of education, the same ‘India Inc’ will prefer recruits with application based skill sets.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The change and resistance

“Change is the only constant in this world” – Though we all know and quote this on every given occasions, when it happens in our lives, we resist….to the extent that we break ourselves!

I had already written a short article on how to manage change from organizational perspective and now I would like to add on the same from life perspective!

I had been interested in innovative initiatives in culture and technology for the betterment of common man’s Life standards since early college days…! This nature of mine helped me in initiating many such projects/ programme in my life so far….! Though some of them died down after I moved out from the concerned positions, many have set trends and were continued by my successors and the very ‘thought’ of such initiatives gives you instant inspiration to move in the same direction! As a matter of choice, for last few years, I, along with my associates, have been doing, in professional terms, ‘Market Gap Analysis’ and conceiving various projects of technological innovation, which would help change the standard of living of common people…!

In the process, I had numerous setbacks and few successes. However, I continue my pursuit to unlearn, understand, learn and analyse newer horizons, which gives me immense satisfaction and joy!

When India is growing globally in terms of GDP perspective and in terms of recognition of our rich cultural heritage, one point we all (The citizens, the politicians and all other eminent individuals) need to manage this growth very carefully, as individuals, as society and as a nation! My experience vouches that ‘Growth which is not managed well can kill an organization’!! This is applicable to our great nation as well and we all have lots of duties to expedite cautiously to make our nation achieve inclusive growth…..which I doubt at this point of time?!

Our country’s development came after a long wait…! Now, if we don’t manage it properly we may get into deeper troubles than yester years.

In 2006, when I was driving through the ‘Golden Corridor’ 4 lane high way (Then it was new), it was really quite an experience! However, I could observe that I had to drive cautiously though I was driving in the faster lane, as I encountered vehicles coming opposite to us!! At last, somewhere near Bhubaneswar, I lost my cool, when a two wheeler came honking towards me with lots of abuses?!!! While I was arguing with him I was shocked to realize his perception about these four lane…..Instead of 2 lanes going towards North and 2 Lanes coming towards South, separated by a divider, he understands that in each side of the divider, there’s two way traffic allowed and according to him I was coming on the wrong lane as it was supposed to be my right lane…!! This incident reminds us that along with the development, how important it is, to equip the common man to manage such a change by disseminating information to the grass roots levels!

Every new initiative will face resistance and bulldozing such resistance should be done by tactfully bridging through lot of consensus among resisting elements and this is where imparting
logical reasoning will be essential! Now, when we discuss about change, I myself may not be able to endorse every change, which is happening in our society! If you analyse history, every change which brought in ‘Social Evils’ were crushed by the mother nature over a period of time…The maximum life span of such changes are between 2 – 3 decades in the modern times, though earlier, it used to be much more…

So, let’s be prepared to change and understand that the resistance never succeeds on a longer run….!! How to manage these changes is our challenge and we should wake up and move on….!!