All my efforts over last few months have been directed towards setting up a global e-school. This is a term I picked up from one of the blogs on Forbes.com: E-School, as in Enterprise School, as opposed to Business School, is a place to learn the art of the enterprise, as opposed to the formulaic thinking that B-Schools usually represent. In short, it will be more art than science, greater focus on people than process, and emphasis on possibilities rather than the mechanics of accounting.
If all this sounds wonderfully vague, it is meant to be. There isn't a formula that one can quickly follow in defining an E-School, because there isn't a precedence. What I talk about may sound more akin to a liberal arts college than a Business School. I see sessions on history, psychology and creative writing to be an integral part of what we may end up doing in the school. After all, the goal of the school will be to help shape entrepreneurial mindsets: It must start with a leap into unknown.
Two things I know about the school we are going to create are that it is going to be global and that it will fuse together creativity, enterprise and technology.
On being global, I have a particular point of view. I see public higher education being predominantly local, because it is usually the national or local governments who pay for it. On the other hand, being an independent college, run by the fee receipts, means serving a global clientele of students and employers. In the end, being global is slightly more than the touristy ideas of globe-trotting: It is, if I may try a definition, the capability of viewing national cultures, whichever culture one seems to have been put inside, both from inside and outside. In other words, having a sense of perspective even when someone is embedded into a community. This will, hopefully, liberate the students from the 'my way or highway' mentality most higher education endow them with.
Fusing together creativity, enterprise and technology is an idea I have talked about for most of the last two years. In this context, creativity is more than being able to paint, obviously: It is more about thinking creatively, trying uncommon solutions to known problems. This is also about adopting the 'change the world' mindset, instead of 'make money' mindset. Enterprise is about doing it: I have always loved Joel Barker's rhetoric: "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision merely passes the time. Vision with Action can change the world." I want to embed it in the ethos of the school. And, finally, technology is the white knight in this idea, something that will help make things happen. Good technology training, which will sit at the core of this idea, will enable the dreamers to do something useful, something creates social value and creates wealth.
In a sense, I see technology to be the 'content' of what we teach and enterprise to be the 'context', to be pursued by creative individuals living in and dreaming about a globalised world. Some friends on the left may see these ideas as irredeemably neo-liberal, but in essence, this is also as revolutionary as it gets. It is not about spreading any fixed notions of commodity fetishism around the world, but about imagining new possibilities of a better world and trying to shape it. My complaints about most B-Schools is that primarily they imbibe their students with a consumption framework: A sense of identity on the basis of what they are going to have, not what they are going to do. This may sound like going back in time, but the idea of the E-School is to bring back action, rather than ownership and consumption, firmly back in the agenda.
Coming down to the practicalities of the project, I am indeed at a very interesting point. I am trying to use a platform which is very different, and trying to leverage its core assets, established presence, partnerships and people, to mould into this new shape. This invariably meant dealing with legacy though: Changing the mindset, processes and outlook have taken me this long even to get to the starting point. Inevitably, there were times when I surely wanted to quit: Times when the legacy seemed irredeemable, and the whole new project impractical. My loyalties, however, throughout the time, was to the idea, which did help me to plough on. However, now, it seems that we, me and some key colleagues, have won the first round: Some fundamental changes have began. Once the school comes about, therefore, it will have an instant legitimacy: It would itself be a result of the same entrepreneurial pursuit that it would intend to train its students about.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
There is no other city like Kolkata for me: It is Home. The only city where I don't have to find a reason to go to, or to love. It is one city hardwired into my identity, and despite being away for a decade, that refuses to go away. People stay away from their homeland for a variety of reasons. But, as I have come to feel, no one can be completely happy to be away. One may find fame or fortune, love and learning, in another land, but they always live an incomplete life. They bring home broken bits of their homeland into their awkward daily existence, a cushion somewhere, a broken conversation in mother tongue some other time, always rediscovering the land they left behind for that brief moment of wanting to be themselves. The cruelest punishment, therefore, for a man who lives abroad is when his love for his land is denied. It is indeed often denied, because the pursuit of work, knowledge or love seemed to have gotten priority over the attraction of the land. This is particularly
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
Nations are ideas. We try to fashion them as territories. But how can a river, a mountain ridge or sometimes an imaginary line in the middle of a field can explain the wide division in the lives, thoughts and futures of the people who live on different sides? Nations are not the people too. Indeed, people build nations and become its body. But the soul of the nation is an idea: People come together on an idea to build a nation. While that's what a modern nation is - an idea - and that way exceptionalism is not an American exception, very few nations are as completely defined by an idea as Pakistan. There was hardly any political, geographic or military rationale of Pakistan other than the idea of an Islamic homeland in South Asia. [In that way, the ideological brother of Pakistan in the family of nations is Israel] This, abated by the short term political calculations of some backroom colonialists, created a modern state which must be solely sustained on that singular idea. Reli
India's employment data is sobering ( see here ). The pandemic has wrecked havoc and the structural problems of the economy - service sector dependence, uneven regional development and health and education challenges - are more evident than ever. Something needs to happen, and fast. To its credit, the government acknowledges the education challenge. Belatedly - it took more than 30 years - India has come up with a new National Education Policy. It is a comprehensive policy, which covers the whole spectrum of education and perhaps overcompensates the previous neglect by advocating radical change. As I commented elsewhere on this blog, it shows a curious mixture of aspirations, cultural revival and global competitiveness put under the same hood. However, despite its radical aspirations, the policy document often betrays same-old thinking. One of these is India's approach to foreign universities. The NEP makes the case for allowing foreign universities to set up operations in Ind
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
Italy recently apologised to Libya for its occupation of the country between 1911 and the Second Word War and offered an investment deal of $5 Billion over next 25 years towards reparation. This is largely symbolic, and investment deals could have been done without adding this moral halo . But the apology itself is an important step. The key question is one of principle, indeed. It is about whether the occupying countries do accept that their colonial exploits did enormous harm to the occupied, and whether they are ready to accept the responsibility. As the world becomes more sensitive towards the wrongness of occupation [even George Bush was heard saying that occupation of Georgia by Russia is unthinkable in the 21st century!!], and the world justice system gears up to try the leaders causing genocide and violence, paying for past crimes - including occupation - becomes ever more relevant and important. There are several issues which are still hotly debated - slavery, for example,
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.