Global E-School is Global and Entrepreneurial, but this is not an entrepreneur's school. It is for all those who need to be creative and imaginative at work, which is going to be everyone, really. I see this as a twenty-first century school responding to two big trends of the time, globalisation and automation. The idea is to build the school to prepare its students for the new workplace that's rapidly emerging.
Some of this may be obvious but are immediately resisted. Education is supposed to be a forward-looking enterprise, but also the most tradition-bound. This is because education's function in our societies is perpetuation of privilege and not creation of possibilities. But this is also why the model of education that we have is under threat, because to change the society, and society is changing not in face of any revolution but under the weight of technological change that it itself is bringing about, one must change education. HG Wells' point that history is a race between education and catastrophe perhaps need to be retold: It seems education is the wedge between history and catastrophe.
The 'E' in E-School obviously stand for entrepreneurialism. This is about an entrepreneurial frame of mind, rather than starting businesses. But there is another thing in this 'E', which is a fundamental assumption about how the workplaces will be - soon, now! There are a number of commentators who are looking at the changing workplace and what it means for skills. Howard Gardner's list, for example, have five things: Deep Knowledge about something ('Disciplinary Thinking'), ability to draw insights from wide interests ('Synthesis'), ability to imagine ('Creativity'), ability to work with diverse cultures and interests ('Diversity') and integrity ('Ethics'). Howard Rhinegold's take, which looks at the skills for the 'digital economy', focuses on the behavioural aspects - Attention, Participation, Collaboration, Critical Consumption and Network Smarts. One could perhaps see a combination of attitude, knowledge and behaviour arising out of the combination of these two sets of predictions.
However, preparing a student for this needs tearing down the current educational model, and it is not easy. The current model is not supposed to do many of these things. Disciplinary focus is perhaps the only thing which is embedded in our current system, but synthesis and creativity is often discouraged. Diversity is neglected - education is a very national enterprise recirculating dominant cultures - and integrity, while advertised, is severely compromised at the time of across the board grade inflation. On the behavioral side, there is an even greater problem. Again, critical consumption is the only thing that gets some focus, but surely we need more of this in an age when people think Kayne West just allowed a newbie called Paul McCartney to get some attention (See news). Collaboration is frowned upon, participation and network smarts hardly understood and attention seems to be under siege as media wars are fought out right in the middle of the classroom.
This underlies the case for a general redesign of educational experience, and there one runs into power equations, not just of the distrust of change among educators but much larger issue of not wanting to upset the apple cart of social privileges. Everyone wants change to work for them, but the enterprise to engineer social change has failed so many times. Besides, educational change, for all the silicon valley proclamation, is usually slow and granular, changing one person at a time rather than changing the world in one click. The idea of a new kind of education should, therefore, be set out in a non-glamourous fashion, in prosaic terms such as curriculum and credit, and pursuing the real change through the culture of the institution, the values of those who teach and the approach to assessment and interactions with the wider world.
This is the educational idea I want to pursue. This is a project I set out to do in 2010, when I left my recruitment career to get into education; and despite all the ups and downs and changes of course, I have only become more committed to the idea and found validation through experience. I wish to do this in Asia, the continent being the world's most exciting education market, though I have become convinced that this should be launched from a small country rather than a big country. This is indeed my pursuit in 2015, and hopefully it does not have to be like the statement I saw in Facebook: I must do this in 2015 because I thought about this in 2014 as I wrote them down in 2013 because I felt the necessity in 2012..
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
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.
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
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,
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
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
In our age, the only way to be politically correct is to be democratic. This is a post-70s affair - those days, still, some people had alternative ideologies in mind. Those alternate ideas are dead and gone, long discredited, and it seems that we have only one system which can make people happy, free and live longer. So, we have this huge export industry of democracy, and democracy's warriors, which the American security establishment has lately become. The democracy's businessmen, the bond traders, the media barons and the Hollywood types, are feted everywhere. The consensus is deafening and dumbing. It is indeed awkward to ask now - whether democracy is the right system for every society. It indeed should be. Collective wisdom is better than individual autocracy. In societies where democratic elections have been few and far between, the popular vote has demonstrated the extra-ordinary political savvy of the usually disinterested masses. Democracy has proved to be an excell
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.