Radhika Shrivastava, executive director of Fortune Institute of International Business shares her views on changing phases of the Indian education system with FE Education Online.
What is the best thing about today’s education system?
With the move to the recent next-gen learning environment in a global setting, while we are mostly aware of what opportunities were created for students, what we do not realize is the wonderful opportunity this connection brings for faculty of institutes of higher learning, and the disruptive role they can play in transforming student learning outcomes. Today, faculty can access best practice course materials, get trained on engaging pedagogies through attending multiple ‘free’ training opportunities, and they can learn from the best by collaborating with renowned faculty for their teaching and research initiatives. And in the process they are able to bring this changed perspective to their classrooms thus enhancing outcomes for their students.
-What is the one thing you would like to change in the system?
We need to understand that the ultimate consumer of our services today is thinking beyond certificates and degrees, and looking for candidates who can succeed in the world-of-work just as they do so in the classroom. When it comes to making hiring decisions, skills is the only currency that employers care about because in the absence of being job- and future-ready candidates they must invest in upskilling and reskilling graduates continuously thus wasting precious time and money. Higher education today therefore needs to go back to the drawing board with their recruiting partners, and focus on embedding the learnability of the desired skill sets into their offerings.
-What is the role digital has played in the evolution of the education system?
Digital has allowed institutions of higher education to provide flexibility and tailor-made education for today’s students. For institutions like FIIB, we were able to experiment and pilot what a digital-led transformational shift would involve and how we could re-architect our learning ecosystems for the changed aspirations and preferences of a new generation of learners and instructors. Digital allowed us to start offering blended experiences recognizing the needs of today’s learner to have the freedom to experiment with new approaches towards their own career success.
-What has been the disadvantage of digital in education?
An over reliance on digital has been the most devastating disadvantage of digital. What I mean by this is that digital is not a solution to the problems facing today’s education such as learner engagement and retention. It is just a facilitator for the solutions we want to put in place to address the challenges. Still many times technology is implemented with little thought about its intended usage; We mistakenly see it as a replacement for certain core aspects of faculty’s teaching responsibilities since there’s a pressure to increase faculty productivity in light of the demands from accreditation and ranking agencies on producing intellectual contributions, contributing to institution building tasks and also transforming student careers through teachings. What we need instead is to bring empathy into the teaching-learning process, something that technology cannot do. Only human faculty can create classroom environments where effective, sticky learning habits are cultivated through creation of time and space for student reflections.
-What is the career advice you would like to give to students?
The S shape in business represents growth over time— it starts out slowly, picks up speed during rapid growth, then tapers off as growth slows. Most people are focussed just on their first S curve – the first job. But long term success comes to those who are able to create a new growth path (a new S curve) as they are nearing the end of the previous rapid growth stage. So I encourage the young professionals of today to keep finding a new ‘S’ curve in their growth journeys by maintaining a continuous improvement and lifelong learning mindset. At FIIB, a B-school charged with the responsibility of developing the future leader managers, it manifests itself in our #NeverStopLearning approach, and it is this mantra that has contributed to FIIB standing the test of time for the last 28 years and be known for its ability to innovate to stay relevant, future focussed and impactful for our stakeholders.