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Showing posts from October, 2016

Communities and Education

It is perhaps quite obvious that Universities are communities at the core, but perhaps not. While we may pay leap service to the idea of a community, from the language we employ, we mean them to be factories.
Nothing against factories, and they are indeed communities too, it must be said. However, that is not how we see a factory, do we? In fact, that factories are communities of people have been lost from our imagination. Rather, we have developed a top-down, process view of what happens in factories - raw material comes in and finished products go out - and regarded the human community around this a distraction, a cost, something to be dispensed into once machines have got smart enough.
We adopt a process view of the universities - applicants come in and graduates go out - and regarded them exactly as factories. Our focus has shifted what happens afterwards, to the finished good and its demands, and not so much what happens inbetween. That knowledge could be created through interac…

Why Do I Work in Education?

As I mentioned in the last post, a recent conversation about a deal threw me into a mini existential crisis. A mid-life crisis was indeed due, but I perhaps postponed it with my refusal to grow up and settle down for the boring bits, so far. It burst into the scene, somewhat unexpectedly, as I got an offer that I apparently sought, but did not want, at least not anymore.
However, before I try doing something with my life, there was one bigger question that needed answering: Why do I work in Education? I could say that I defaulted into education, which is partly true as I moved between technology and education jobs in the early part of my career, but I had so many inflection points and at each one of those, I chose education. Indeed, the latest escape route, if I needed one, was my work in recruitment in 2007 onwards - I could have made the shift and indeed, it would have better careerwise if I did. But I did not even see that as a possibility then, and have no regrets for not doing t…

Starting at Ground Zero

The last week - or slightly longer may be - was a period of great reset for me. 
I have been thinking closely what I am going to do moving forward. Indeed, there is plenty for me to do right now - an exciting project in development with a professional qualification body, an impending launch of a new education programme in China, an educational software project which seems to be gathering momentum, not to mention my own studies which just commenced - but this is still a point where a road has to be chosen.
Partly, this is because I said yes to too many things in the last couple of months, as I was trying to resettle into a domesticated life in Britain. I have allowed myself plenty of distractions, first the life of a bootstrapping entrepreneur and then being on the move all the time, and it was indeed a point when boring becomes desirable. I did want to have a predictable life, not because I am tired of experiments, but because I realised that I must do something significant now rathe…

Education, Social Elite and Democracy

The role of social elite within a democratic society is usually resented, because of the republican ideals. It is a problematic concept, as most of those elites in our societies come down from the landed families of the past, except in societies which may have gone through a revolution, like China. The elite is a throwback from the past, a reminder of the past tyrannies and oppression, and worse, their very existence is a symbol of failure of the republican ideals. 
However, on the other side, there is this claim, empirically proven through experiences across countries and generations, that an elite class is needed for social order. Even the revolutionary societies in Russia and China had developed their own, replacing the Birth privileges with bureaucratic privileges, but nonetheless maintaining the asymmetry of power and access. In fact, the entire Bolshevik doctrine had, at its heart, a revolutionary elite, that will lead the masses to emancipation. 
The American Republicans, desp…

Trumping Democracy

There is so much being spoken (or written, or broadcasted) about US Presidential Election! I kept quiet, because I knew how embarrassing it is for my American friends and colleagues this discussion is. I am from a country which voted in a demagogue accused of genocide, and live in a country which just kicked the chair voting to undermine its own economic model: I know it hurts! 
But what spurs me now is the latest twist - the 'locker room' tapes and the outcry since then - as it gave me, I believe, something to add to the conversation. With Donald Trump's ascendancy, there was always this shock and the outrage, in media and in educated public: Now, it has spread across further, in the Republican establishment. The politicians are lining up on TV to do what politicians do, stating the obvious in a solemn and ridiculous way - "I have three daughters, a wife, five sisters and a mother" - denouncing Trump's bragging of his predatory ways with women! Everyone see…

On Time

Time is different at different places.
I am not restating the Theory of Relativity, but speaking more in social context. In fact, in the more practical sphere of business, this is a relatively unexplored issue. A source of much frustration, in fact, as the concept of time is assumed to be universal, based on which global deals are made and unmade. 
Time is an unspoken factor in globalisation. In the middle of all the tensions around globalisation, all the battles around identity and its preservation, the conception of time is a core issue, around which a battle of ideas is raging right now. It certainly deserves greater consideration than it gets now.
The job of writing brief histories of time should not only be left to cosmologists. The great historian, Fernand Braudel, spent a lifetime exploring time and space in history. But Braudel was mistimed, if we can use such an expression, as he was working on his groundbreaking studies of history and looking into la longue durĂ©e just as th…

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