Discourage Politicians and Bureaucrats From Running Educational Institutions - Prof Dr. N Chandrasekhar

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1. Tell us more about your experience as an educator.

My shift as a fulltime educator happened after serving in the corporate sector close to 25 years during which period, I have had the opportunity to attend some training and skilling programs conducted by pure academicians. Even as a Vice President I was not able to see the connection between the Industry-Corporate interface! This gap was seen by me as an opportunity to contribute better and enticed me to jump into full-time teaching which I have been into for the past 16 years serving in various capacity Professor, Dean, Chairperson, etc…What I found of particular interest is the eagerness of students to learn from Practitioners rather than preachers! 

They enjoy sessions where the Professor is able to share experiences and what and how he/she handled a given situation. This led to better understanding and generated interest and discussions between the different groups all resulting in mutual learning. In my experience, if a student is treated as a co-creator or stakeholder the outcome is vast. He or she should not be treated as a customer. On the flip side, this also resulted in motivating me to be energetic and innovative! I have taught across national and global business schools and found that right across students look at experiences sharing. I firmly believe that teaching should be a profession by choice and not by chance. A very conscious decision. 

2. What is your opinion of the Indian education system and how would you like to change that?

We as a country find it very very difficult to give up the past!! Perhaps reluctance to change! On different forums we see educators speaking out against the present system but if the same person is entrusted with changing the system, he or she follows the herd. The result is practical there is no change! Flow with the tide is the attitude. Change has to come from within. There appears to be a situation where groups are formed to promote interests. Siring is very much prevalent even in the education sector. 

These are some of the changes which I would usher in : 

Recruit T shaped gurus………teachers who are specialized in a particular area but have a broad understanding and appreciation of other disciplines and more importantly culturally open. 

I would prefer to employ practitioner-teachers. If for Business school…..I would look for an individual with at least a few years of industry experience before coming on board as a full-time faculty……….if a technical teacher I would give weightage to shop floor experience…… 

Invite seniors from industry regularly to skill students. In fact, this should be at least 30 to 40 % of the course. 

Encourage Reverse Sabbatical……. teachers to go back for a short duration to their respective industry to update. 

Offer a very wide and often not connected basket of study. Example: Aerospace with Music! 

Discourage politicians and bureaucrats from running educational institutions. 

To a large extent deregulate the sector and have just a single-window single entity regulator with a minimum of regulations. All financial transactions strictly online. No recognition of transactions otherwise! 

Peer inspection and cooperation. 

More of application-oriented learning rather than theory and memory dependant. In fact, I would split the program evaluation as 50% practical and 50% theory. 

3. What changes in the teaching methodologies have you seen in recent times? 

I have heard of a lot of discussions and talk but very little implementation. Obviously, the current situation has forced some changes in course delivery and I strongly believe that anything forced is not very well received. I have had discussions with both the student population as well as faculty and this feeling is obvious. At best about 25% of teaching may be delivered online restricted essentially to pure theoretical elements. You cannot have a Facebook University of Medicine or a Whatsapp University of Business! Blended learning may be a way forward. A proportion of this responsibility lies with the teacher. A not effective teacher in the classroom will be a failure online! 

4. How does education help one do well in their career?

Education by itself maybe only one of the foundation stones for a successful career. By itself, it serves a very limited purpose. Like a passport required to enter a country, it may at best be a prerequisite or a test indicator to give one a sense of direction. But one has to be a good navigator able to pick and see the lighthouses along the career path and use the education as a driver for his or her passion. Education offers the network and exposure but what one learns from these offers and exposure is one’s personality which could very well decide success or failure in one’s career. 

5. Do you think teaching as a profession is viewed at par with corporate jobs? 

The answer is yes and no depending on the geographic location! 

In the West, particularly in Germany, a Teacher is regarded as the first citizen! This may not be the case in other locations! In financial terms, it most certainly is not. In terms of self-respect and prestige maybe. As mentioned earlier it should be a career by choice! 

6. How can we adopt technology to make teaching more effective? 

Having dealt with this in my earlier response’s technology will have to be blended into different courses and faculty should be motivated and incentivized to embrace different technologies in delivering knowledge. Technology must also be made user friendly and less dependent on technical personal. Deployment of adequate personal in terms of skills and abilities will spell the difference between failure and success. Typically “they should come together” and not “al a carte “. 

7. Why does India need more educators like you? 

On a lighter vein, I am not a typical boss’s man! I always speak my mind and am prepared to experiment and learn with an open mind. Particularly in this era of knowledge capital, it is important that we keep innovating and blending with different cultures which in turn will draw students into the sharing and caring process. Fortunately, with my very vast travel across different countries and exposure to different cultures and with a healthy mix of industry-academia exposure I am naturally accepted in any environment which enables me to blend and deliver! 

Prof Dr. N Chandrasekhar
Senior Professor & Consultant
Firebird Institute of Research in Management.

Interview By - Sandeep Virothu 

Discourage Politicians and Bureaucrats From Running Educational Institutions - Prof Dr. N Chandrasekhar Discourage Politicians and Bureaucrats From Running Educational Institutions - Prof Dr. N Chandrasekhar Reviewed by Sandeep Virothu on August 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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