MANTHAN: The Churn in Higher Education
Volume 2 Issue 1 June 2018 :Career Planning by Prof. RSS Mani
In my view, higher education is going through a churn and 2018-2019 will be defining years for both engineering and management streams. I strongly feel that the engineering programme in its current format has reached a saturation point and need to be reinvented for survival in the long run.
The demand for getting an Engineering degree might continue, but aspiring students would now carefully choose institutions with a good brand value and a good faculty -- here is where the pressure will be on faculty to strive continuously to unlearn, learn, and relearn in order to remain relevant and contemporary. However, the trend of engineering students migrating to do an MBA is likely to continue.
WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE FOR THE MBA FACULTY
All institutions need to relook at the MBA curriculum and revisit the same and make it more industry relevant. The faculty of management schools need to develop newer skills of classroom delivery as they are no more the single source of conceptual inputs thanks to Google. Hence, they now need to redefine their role as a facilitator and enabler of learning, and not the disseminator. This will also mean that the management teacher has now to play the role of expert interpreter, analyst, and evaluator of various approaches to management
Thus, the pressure will be more on the teacher to learn more and more to keep abreast of the latest trends, practises and such and be able to guide the student
Read: Skill development in school education: Importance of evolving skill training from a young age
QUALITY EDUCATION NOT POSSIBLE WITHOUT TEACHING BEING AN "ATTRACTIVE" JOB
Excellence in higher education and high quality is only possible if we have the best of teachers. The most important step that needs to be taken at the macro level in our country is to position teaching as an attractive option. It should be given its place of pride as an employment option.
In India however, the teaching profession is often seen as a last choice career option or one that executives can pursue after their retirement. We need to position teaching as a premium career option and provide best facilities similar to those we see at the corporate sectors.
WHAT A TEACHING JOB REQUIRES NOW
A career in academics would necessitate sound knowledge of e-learning platforms and also the ability to use various online resources to make learning more effective in the classroom. The use of online learning portals and interactive learning platforms such as Khan Academy, Coursera, edX, MIT, which host open courseware, can make the learning experience more enriching and meaningful for both the student and the teacher.
Thus, the faculty now has to move away from over-dependence on PowerPoint towards the use of such interactive learning platforms.
MANY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS TO CLOSE IN 2018: FULL-TIME TEACHING JOBS IN DANGER
An unfortunate reality that we need to soon realise and accept is that many educational institutions will see closure in 2018; thus, the faculty may find themselves without a stable job. There will be more jobs on a part-time basis or retainer or assignment basis, but full-time jobs may be on the decline.
Thus, I would recommend everyone to focus on reskilling oneself and also acquire additional competencies in emerging areas to remain relevant. Areas like business analytics, data sciences, digital marketing and such are the high thrust areas currently and It would be ideal to look at related areas to one’s specialisation.
TEACHERS ARE NO MORE THE ONLY SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE
Let us understand and accept that the approach to education and academics has changed to a great extent. The earlier model centred around the teacher as the main source of knowledge who would then share it to all the students in the classrooms and then test their understanding via the exam system.
However, the current scenario has changed the role of the teacher to be an enabler and clarifier; he/she is NOT the source of the knowledge anymore. Thus, the students now learn at home, and understand and seek clarifications in the classroom.
Thus, the new age teacher has to be better equipped and smart enough to satisfy the queries and doubts of the students to gain their confidence and establish credibility.
To summarise, a career in education would be more challenging and demanding and hence, is strongly recommended to only those who have a serious bent of mind towards academics. It cannot be seen as a comfortable and cushy career with limited working hours and minimal stress. Further, a career in this area would necessarily need a PhD qualification for growth and stability.
Prof. RSS Mani is currently Vice President -Institutional Development for ITM Group of Institutions & has been a founding faculty member of ITM too. He leads several initiatives for institutional development including industry academia interface, faculty development, collaborations, new initiatives & CSR projects. He is highly regarded in HR circles as a guru, mentor & an out of the box thinker. Besides, he is a career counsellor par excellence and has helped thousands groom their careers