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Education is one of the most exploited ‘term’ in the era of agile surroundings. In my view, it should be termed as ‘mentorship’ where the student could creatively attain ‘wisdom’ instead of ‘learning’ from the knowledge, experience, vision & views of someone else.

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In Japan, there is no formal education during the early years, unlike common schools and institutions. Until a specific age, the children are let to be staying connected to A. Humanity B. Morals & Manners C. Creativity. Only after spending those years, the formal education is initiated. This gives strong cultural and ethical roots on the backbone of discipline and creativity. 

However, a majority of parental mentorship and guidance that youngsters get is perception driven which is mostly based on the experience of the mentors, parents in this case. Ideally, mentorship and guidance must be given keeping in mind the following: A. Businesses stance in the next 5-10 years so that the students opt the ‘hot’ tracks. B. Inclination and creativity index of the student and accordingly customize and guide a few road-maps for the student to decide and opt for. 

The foundation on which the future of ‘wisdom’ relies is extremely weak. From childhood, children are taught that playing (say, soccer) is recreation instead of guiding that playing soccer is physics and mathematics and develops strategic thinking, develops decision making. Instead of finding a solution to a problem, children are guided the path to solving a problem without giving a second thought that they may find a better and quicker solution if given a platform to let them think creatively. As the children grow up, scores and excellence in schools/college subjects become the next benchmark and an unending blind race with no concluded destination begins. We forget that for this level of excellence, students should have been given the freedom of choice from the elementary years. They reach to this stage through a step by step guided mentorship.  

At this stage majority of the students look back to all the years of education they have slogged and termed it as a ‘waste of time’ because, in the end, they end up in a job where they are utilizing a very minimum of their learnings in schools/colleges. While the students complete their 14 years of schooling and step into Universities and further spend another 2-5 years (overall 16 – 19 years). I myself have spent some time in a secondary research and found out that majority of the students have their upbringing with a ‘service’ oriented targeted vision. However, very few who selectively choose their surroundings with an ‘entrepreneurship’ oriented vision have more scope of survival in a plethora of competition. 

Henceforth comes the ‘Executive Education’. These are short, quick, an agile course with specialization in a specific domain to target domain expertise. What is the need for it? Is it to deliver and perform better in the profession we are in? Yes, exactly. Then what was the ~16 years of studies all about? This is the food for thought. 

With the disrupting businesses where businesses meet consumers, instead of another way round domain expertise is essential and integral. With the business transformation happening where digital transformation plays the paramount role in disrupting the existing businesses and evolving the new ways of businesses. Communication has reached every corner in seconds which earlier used to take months and years. Any industry, be it any vertical is transforming digitally. The hotel industry is challenged by AirB&B, Transportation is challenged by Uber, Retail by Amazon, Alibaba etc. On top of all these aspects, there is ever increasing population and increasing competition. It is ironical, globally there is a skills deficit. What exactly is the skill deficit whilst we have students pursuing an education in schools and universities? That skill deficit is what we call is the ‘domain expertise’. 

My uncanny view towards learning is to A. ensure the elementary education includes ethics, discipline, morals, manners with creativity B. the next layer of education (school) mentors’ students in mathematics, physics, language, economics, and C. the students choose the direction of domain expertise and creatively excel in those. 

This is firm that the future of education say it be a classroom, remotely live or online videos but the essential is to bring in the domain expertise which we term as ‘Executive Education’. It is the present and the future of filling the skill deficient void that is being created. Specialization is a domain through a short-term course that brings in hands-on skills to perform a job efficiently better is the integral need. In my opinion, the sooner the students choose this path the agile it would be for their career. It doesn’t matter who is teaching and from which institution one is gaining knowledge, what is important is if the learning is happening and if the interpretation of that knowledge could reap better business results for the industries and for the students/employees. 

Most of the Universities are transforming into this direction through various mediums like online, short-term affiliations or general classrooms sessions. With the ever-changing demands, there are specializations to succeed in respective domains. 

Learning is un-ending. Unlearning and Re-learning in a different way is a skill. 

This article was published in BW Education issue dated 'Nov. 20, 2018' with cover story titled 'BW Education Issue Nov-Dec 2018'

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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executive education mentorship learning agility

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