The pandemic has shaken education and underscored the need to train people of all ages and make them employable instead of training young people to only seek degrees, several speakers said discussing “learning for life” at Infocom 2021.
An MIT professor, CEO and educator were the speakers at the flagship âLearning for Life – Creating a Better Futureâ session at Infocom 2021, an ABP initiative, on Thursday evening.
IIHM Founder and Chief Mentor Suborno Bose, who moderated the hour-long session, pointed to the dramatic changes in education imposed by Covid. âIt taught us an important lesson and that lesson is that change is imperative. Covid has pushed a lot of changes. “
The speakers took there and explained the need to look beyond education as the world generally knows it.
Excerpts from what they said:
SP Kothari, Padma Shri (2020), Gordon Y Billiard Professor of Accounting and Finance, MIT, Sloan School of Management
In all countries, but especially in developing countries, a large part of the adult population is not well educated. Naturally, this negatively affects their productivity and therefore their income and quality of life.
We cannot afford to ignore this population and in my opinion this is where lifelong learning comes in. It is applicable more broadly, but it can certainly be targeted to that large segment of the population who for some reason … have not enjoyed the benefits of education. So, for the benefit of this segment, as well as for the well-being of a nation, the focus should also be on adult learning.
We need to be realistic and recognize that for this segment the type of vocational training for adult learning is more promising than the traditional education offered to young people.
For the adult population – when it focuses on education, the opportunity that was deprived for some reason in its youth – the emphasis must be on vocational training and this can go a long way in improving productivity.
Janine Teo, CEO, Solve Education, Singapore
In the current scenario, not only in India but all over the world there is a high rate of youth unemployment and this is because there is no focus on vocational schoolsâ¦. Perhaps the image of vocational training does not appeal to parents.
Much of the education system offers demand-driven education. Demand is what the market demands and supply is what the education system produces. Many education systems actually produce a lot of young people with different degrees but not thinking about the needs of the market.
How then can we move from supply-oriented education to demand-driven education? This is something that a lot of governments are thinking about.
Giri Balasubramaniam, educator, quizmaster, Harvard alumnus and researcher in Indian administration, Ministry of Education, Government of Karnataka
One of our big challenges is to make sure that we don’t have too many dropout rates. It’s a huge challenge for us.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc in the villages. The first easy decision for a family with a capable child is to get the child to earn money and we have to stop that. So quite frankly this is the first big challenge for most governments in countries like ours. This is a problem for many countries.
Beyond that, it is a matter of teaching the elders. We sometimes don’t spend enough time as a human race retraining and educating adults and that creates a lot of problems.â¦
You are going to be unemployed much faster than you think, you are going to be overtaken much faster than you think. You are going to live much longer than you think. These are amazing paradoxes, aren’t they.