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Leveraging 'People' Power of Sustainability
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Dr. Anitha Ramachander
Professor of Management, Director AIMIT, Bengaluru, India
Dr. Anitha has more than two decades of academic experience. She is the Director of a leading B-School in India.
A regular columnist at Deccan Herald, Dr. Anitha has published over 100 publications including books, book chapters, international journal articles and conference papers for publishers.
She has been conferred the PAUL HARRIS FELLOWSHIP, the highest award of Rotary International, in recognition to the outstanding participation in the Group Study Exchange program in Kentucky, USA. She is also a recipient of International Achievers’ Award 2010-2011 for Education Excellence. The Award was conferred on the occasion of 4th International Achievers’ Summit on “Global Business Opportunities” in Singapore. Indian Achievers Forum in association with Singapore Indian chamber of commerce and Industry (SICCI) and India-Thai Chamber of Commerce honours the outstanding achievers from all over the country and abroad.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Helen Keller
I firmly believe that the more mindful we are of ourselves and the environment we live in, the more we comprehend what we really want out of this life and live realistically. Eventually, we will lead a life with improved versions of ourselves for the benefit of those around us.
The year 2019 has been a period full of experiences and incidents that have left an indelible mark in the way we perceive and lead our lives. Recently, we at Adarsh Group of Institutions lost the founder of our institution. I feel fortunate to have worked with him for 14 years. Rarely do we find someone like him. He believed that his employees built the institution and hence their interests and well-being were a priority to him.
Every day is a learning experience. The year 2019 taught us that we need a rounded approach towards life. We do not need to have a large circle of people to be loved, valued and appreciated. It is acceptable to let people go and to realise that not all relationships are meant to stay with us for the rest of our lives. We should not take criticisms personally and should acknowledge the fact that people view life the way they perceive things. We cannot have a life that is completely sorted out and that is what makes life fascinating.
I am thankful to be in a profession (higher education) that inculcates values and ethics in young lives. All that we need to stress upon today is to have a humane approach to life. The wonderful aspect of humankind holds compassion, understanding and forgiveness and when we communicate with this awareness, it binds us as members of this society. I envision the future of education to be holistic. I trust that we teachers are the architects who shape the lives of our students. The need of the hour is to retain the nobility in the profession. The dynamics of education sector has changed in recent times. Having said this, I foresee these key trends in education sector for the year 2020: Firstly, People will drive educational transformation. Tailor-made programs and learning experiences will lead to education that is focused on the student. Personalizing and customizing should be the theme in the higher education industry. We have evolved from the outdated, teacher-centric to a student-centric approach, personalised experiences, in which each student's learning needs, career objectives and other interests are copiously met. Institutions need to share resources and utilize developing technologies like massive open online courses, creatively. This will require a greater ingenuity in curriculum and program development in consultation with industry experts. Our curriculum needs to make students employable and match the needs of the corporate world. Today, we are not sending competent people to the job market. Our graduates lack the generic and specific skillsets. The need of the hour is to revamp the higher education curriculum only based on the needs of the industry. Secondly, the growth in urbanization. More people are moving to bigger cities. This in turn is creating a much greater need for aligning education and jobs regionally. Big cities continue to grow as hubs for jobs and careers. The role of educational institutions in economic growth becomes more critical and in industry-institution partnerships too. Lastly, automation is becoming all-pervasive and is entering every industry. But, skilled labour cannot be completely replaced yet. We need to be prepared for this change and a great place to start would be to equip our students with entrepreneurial skills. If we teach them to keep up with big changes and help them use their skills for themselves rather than for somebody else, they would be well prepared for future.
There are certain things that B Schools cannot teach, like being a humane leader. The life we lead and the lives we touch, make a niche when we leave this world. One of the important lessons that life has taught me is that one need not be popular in order to be a good human being. You can do things silently shaping the lives of many around you. To better equip themselves for the future, my students take up spiritual and emotional programs during their period of study. This has made me formulate a learning outcome in the pedagogy that is included as transcendental level programs. This would make them more ethical, honest and follow best practices in their profession and be humane leaders. The change is realistic and happens within.
We live in a society that communicates happiness, peace and love to people all around. We need to teach our students to lead a minimalistic life and propagate the way to simple living. The underlying philosophy is to get rid of superfluous things and live life created on experiences rather than worldly possessions. We should change things that take us forward in life, a life which will eventually be meaningful and worth living. Life will be fulfilling because we have the power to change everything.
We need to realize the infinite energy that flows towards a life of purpose and meaning, a life that is authentic and beneficial to all. We should believe people can change as we are the concierges of our own happiness and that of people around us.