Questions raised by the participants during the conference are answered by the speakers

  1. In the short video shown, the speaker says that schools are outdated and that institution should be uprooted. Is this the same view of the conference too? [From: Kani]

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: The aim of the conference was to bring about a new paradigm in the education system as a whole. This can be accomplished by making the system person-centered and not degree-centered; active and not passive; self-directed learning as opposed to authority-imposed learning, etc.  Uprooting schools would be a consequence of changing the system and not the cause. It’s the system that should be the focus, not the tool. Also, the video mentions it’s the education system as a whole that should be convicted, not just the institution. 

  1. Isn’t person-centered education too much of a dream for a heavily populated country like ours?

Answer by Garry Jacobs: If India has many people to educate, it also has an equally great number of people who can be most meaningfully employed in facilitating that education. The problem is not numbers. It is pedagogy and quality. It requires a change in thinking, strategy and training.

Answer by Ranjani Ravi:  Every original idea, every accomplishment was once an ideal. It’s today’s dreams that become tomorrow’s reality.

  1. How to incorporate Spiritual value along with education as a part of education in school ?

Answer by Garry Jacobs: If the education of teacher is transformed the schools and the system can be transformed. Archaic colonial values and practices need to be discarded.

The teachers have to be trained first. Not so much as trained but chosen for the traits inherent in their character. The teachers have to follow the values first, they must be the agents of change. Preaching is definitely not going to help.

  1. Attitude is the personality. How can the future education contribute to accelerate learning? [From: Prathaban, YCSR]

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: I think the question is “In what ways can education in the future help accelerate learning?” My answer would be: By providing the student with the needed freedom to self-direct his learning without pushing him to prove his worth, develop an open-minded, holistic approach and not imposing our authority, perspectives or conventions on them.

Answer by Sairam: Corporates prefer to hire people with good mindset, as skills can be learnt. The reason, if you don’t have good attitude/mindset towards your task, the efficiency is lost and sometimes even leads to catastrophe

Some points which are the positive traits of right mind set are:-

- Right mindset creates a sense of responsibility

- A deep desire to get into the problem and find out the solution, rather than blaming somebody else

- Right mindset helps an individual strive to learn which helps him / her to reskill or upskill themselves, and increase

- Mindset is a form of aspiration which keeps you more focused and move towards to the goal.

People with right attitude / mindset do not care much about the surrounding or environment you work in. Rather they see obstacles as an opportunity.

Answer by Garry Jacobs: A change in pedagogy can dramatically accelerate learning and enhance learning outcomes. The objectives, method, presentation and evaluation system need to change. The most essential step is to develop new models, experiment and demonstrate the difference. They exist in USA and other countries. We need to create them in India.

  1. When people are talking about region specific and person specific education, don’t you think a common global syllabus is a contradiction in itself? [From: Sumiki To: Sairaman]

Answer by Garry Jacobs: Knowledge is universal though it can focus on specific subjects, periods and places. The key to education is not the content of what is taught but how and why it is taught. A student- or person-centered education focuses on development of the person, his capacities, values and personality, rather than on the subject. Human nature is universal.

Answer by Sairam: One Syllabus - Globally accepted

Today we do have syllabus for region- and of course person-specific, the content which is in the process is again not being accepted globally. There is always a gap, a sort of divide. My voice towards globalisation of education syllabus can also be person-specific but gives the individual an opportunity globally. The course can be anything from Engineering, Medicine, Arts and Science and the other course branching out from the mainstream.

Looking into today’s business we come across and widely speak about globalization. Globalization assists us to expand and drive our growth. All organizations prefer to have their employees think and acquire global skills, which in turn helps an organization to market their products and compete globally. These products are accepted only when they adhere to globally recognized standards and compliance.

In this current scenario and in future days if the education syllabus/curriculum are standardised globally the education system will unfold itself and improve exponentially.

- This would avoid so called knowledge drain or brain drain
- The students will be able to face and be well recognised in the global arena
- Cross knowledge transfer between countries will help in understanding more about market and customers
- Cost of commodities will become affordable for all
- Education will be accessible to all - like internet
- Parents and students will not run behind institutions with top ratings, as the pedagogy exercised would be the same across educational institutions if the syllabus is the same globally.
- Faculties will act as mentors

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: A contradiction, yes. But people behind the unification of the princely states during the Independence movement here, colonies in the US during the Civil War and isolated villages and towns in Germany and France in the 18th-19th centuries overcame this surface-level contradiction to find a deeper truth.

  1. Gandhi said Technology ruins. We also teach children about green energy. But we want children to learn to use technology to learn. Are we teaching children to build their future world or to worsen impact of technology on their lives? [From: Dr. Anand, Professor of Psychiatry]

Answer by Garry Jacobs: Technology is an instrument to extend and enhance human capacities. The problem comes when we make it an end in itself and subordinate people to the instrument.

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: Technology is only a tool. It may help learn, but will not provide knowledge. It’s the Uber of knowledge. It gives you options to choose from. It shows you where to look, not what to look at. Also, it is how we use technology that determines our direction.

  1. As teachers are calling the learners "children" till 18 years of age, shall we expect the employers to give a 'breathing time' to their employees so that they themselves get oriented to their roles and assume responsibilities? [From: Vidhyageetha, DIET]

Answer by Garry Jacobs: The striking contrast between the passive mode of indoctrination applied to education and the capacity for teamwork, thinking, problem solving, initiative and creativity required in work can be eliminated. Education should become more like work in the sense that it places emphasis on what the individual actively does to learn rather than to listen passively and obey.

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: This question assumes that students these days are naive and not worldly, which in my opinion, doesn’t reflect the current world. Youth these days are super smart, want to be treated like adults. They are not children, and don’t want to be treated that way. Having said that, waiting patiently for the new employee at work to get fully oriented to the role  is fine as long as they don’t take it for granted. The question we should ask is: How can be develop an atmosphere that brings out the fullest potentials of the employee?

  1. You have said that 60% of your students are unemployable. Do you mean to say that all your training is not reaching them? If so what do you propose to do so that the training reaches the students? [From: Ashok Natarajan, Secretary, M.S.S To - Sreejith, Giims]

Answer by Garry Jacobs: Most of the teaching is irrelevant, disconnected, fragmented and unrelated to the lives, experience and context within which students live and to the work they will later take. Companies are primarily recruiting people for their personality characteristics and capacity to learn rather than for the academic abstract knowledge acquired through education. A student who cannot ask questions, interact in fresh situations, take responsibility for work, search for new answers rather than memorizing old ones is equipped for menial repetitive non-thinking tasks, not for work in the 21st century.

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: A general answer: Providing an atmosphere for the students in which they grow psychologically is key, not training them. Any physical skill can be learnt, it’s the acquiring of values that should be the focus. Students should be given the freedom to make mistakes and encouraged to learn from them. For this to happen, learning should become cooperative. As long as it’s competition based, students are only going to see the world in absolutes.

  1. An aimless life is the miserable life for the Individual. What can be the aim of the Individual life? What can be the aim of the this planet? Is it accomplishing Immortality in the Physical as proposed by Sri Aurobindo, Launching Space Shuttle to planets like Elon mask, Making fortunate and creating conglomerate ecommerce like Jack MA, or like Stephen Hawkings to write a theory of universe, and list of leaders to tell. Actually where should Education take Humanity towards? For Procreation and Family legacy? Business legacy? Proving Country Superpower? Jobs ? Etc? [From: Vimalathithan E , Founder of Superhumanpeaks Society]

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: Even having an aimless life is a step in human and social evolution. Evolution differs from person to person. What applies to one doesn’t apply to another. For some, the idea of evolution may be superhumanity, for some it may be the marrying of their daughters, so on and so forth. Development of individuality is the ideal aim of education. What you have listed are various forms of the expression of individuality.

  1. Gurukulam System has always been a Successful model in imparting Encyclopedic Education which is almost not existing now in the modern world. Are we having alternate methods for Gurukalam System in the modern world? Or is that model outdated? [From: Vimalathithan E , Founder of Superhumanpeaks Society]

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: Is encyclopedic knowledge the aim of education? If that’s the case the current system serves the purpose. If truth be told, I know very little about the ancient Gurukulam system to answer this question.

  1. Will Future Education Conference be conducted annually on regular basis? If so, are we having digital forum or group or page in Facebook? [From: Vimalathithan E , Founder of Superhumanpeaks Society] Yes. 
  1. Why do employers still take education qualification as minimal criteria for acquiring new employees in initial level of screening in organisation ? [From: Anjali Mohandas, GIIMS]

Answer by Ashok Natarajan: I suppose educational qualifications are the most obvious criterion that employers can rely on during selection process.  Detecting the creative and socializing abilities of recruits will be more demanding on their time and require similar abilities among the employers themselves which they may not have. But in big MNCs these are the things that they are looking for and those with such abilities are being selected in preference to those with good and impressive qualifications.

Answer by Ramesh Kumar: It is not because the employer thinks so.  It has become a basic industrial norm to fix a minimum qualification for the post with core subject areas.  Even if I tell that it is based only on the employability, the pattern of application will be thus: plus two level students will apply for security and non-skilled jobs, under graduates will apply for office assistants and many a time I get an engineering graduate for irrelevant jobs, based on his own thinking that he can fit only that job.

But the true scenario now is, startups and growing entrepreneurs are truly professional not to bother about all those conventional basics and need only those who can get the job done.  For example, I picked a person who has only completed school, and used to be a courier deliver person, for a supervision and marketing work. This is because I found energy, initiative and leadership quality in him.  After three years, he went on to start his own courier agency.  Similarly, I picked another person who came as a driver of a transport company that delivers my goods.  He used to participate in site works without anyone asking him to do so.  I encouraged him as a part time worker and now he is a main sub-contractor for me. 

Answer by Ranjani Ravi: Because of the herd mentality. When they shift perspectives, when they realise they are feeding ignorance by placing value on an outdated model, when they come out of the past to see there is a future, there’s a chance people resort to original thinking, creativity and resourcefulness as the ultimatum.

  1. How to incorporate Spiritual value along with education as a part of education in school?

Answer by Garry Jacobs: All values that lead to truthfulness, humility, goodwill, perfection are spiritual. Every subject is an opportunity to relate the value of values in life -- whether it be the courage of Copernicus to challenge religious doctrine, conventional thinking and sensory impressions regarding the place of earth in the universe, or the indomitable curiosity of Leonardo to observe life minutely, ask questions and test different answers objectively, or the inventiveness of Steve Jobs to think of technology from the viewpoint of society and search for ways to more effectively serve human needs or the idealism of Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi or Washington who refused to exercise more power than was legally allotted to him as president.

Consciousness approach to Management incorporates spiritual values into management. Using the same process, it It is possible to develop Consciousness approach to Education and incorporate spiritual values into Education.

Answer by Ramesh Kumar: For me, all the attributes of Love, Light and Life are spiritual values.  To incorporate that, we have to make the learner understand that all above are our true nature and in fact as we long for that everybody longs for the same.  So, incorporate in the learner’s mind that all that denies Love (harm, hatred, cruelty, jealousy, scepticism, selfishness, etc to endless list of falsehood), all that denies Life (spoiling health, all that leads to early death, habits, worries, apprehension, denial of joy, etc.), all that denies Light (that spoils - experience, opportunity, mentoring, responsibility, creativity, comprehension, self-esteem, discovery, etc. and the list is endless) are values of falsehood and  make the children / students understand that denial of all these to others is detrimental to their  character, personality, evolution and prosperity. 

During interaction with some teachers, I mooted a point that there should be a weekly interaction among the students about the mood change they had due to another’s behaviour and the other person has to explain the reason for his behaviour.  This way they can learn the other man’s point of view or being in another’s shoes.  The simple interaction can develop harmony and empathy as a spiritual value in an individual at a later stage.  Every basic values taught - even a small etiquette, a small courtesy goes a long way in building higher spiritual values.  At the outset it can be planned as a moral class or interactive behaviour development class to develop positive emotional states and enchanting relationships throughout their life.

The underlying fact is, pursuit of basic values like interpersonal values and psychological values for benefit of joy of humanity that leads to self-realisation is pursuit of spiritual values.

  1. In India, students address teachers as Sir and Madam to show respect contrary to the American setting. Indian teachers love to get such respect. Any comments? [From: Dr. Anand, Professor of Psychiatry]

Answer by Garry Jacobs: These cultural differences tend to change with time. Practices today in India were common in Europe and even in the USA in the past. Even today social behavior in Europe is more formal and ‘respectful’ than in America. In the 1950s all Americans wore ties to work and managers ate in different dining halls than white collar workers. The 21st century is a century of the individual and even in India social formality is gradually receding. It is much less in urban than rural areas, in the North than in the South. Informality expresses the equal value of the individual. Formality expresses the value of recognizing social norms and the value of the other person. The forms of expression may change, but both are important. As freedom, education, prosperity and social equality spread, they will naturally evolve.

  1. Like Future education, we should have Future internship program, with Dynamic approach to practical skill. Will such an internship program, show us the way to change our education system? [From: Kanimozhi Sairaman]

Answer by Ramesh Kumar: Yes. Future internship programme can be implemented with dynamic approach even to impart advanced practical skills. I can give all my ten years’ experience, ups and downs, dos and don’ts so that anybody can save ten years of their life in experimenting. But as stressed in my speech there should be some basic value in persons to receive that, like trust, ethics, aspiration, etc., which should be imparted during schooling and upbringing. A knife has many uses but can I give that to a child just because it asks for it?

Today all industrialists, particularly budding entrepreneurs and start-ups are facing huge losses due to poaching and attrition. This leads to bonds, keeping the original certificates, compensation clause with guarantors etc., I think this starts the whole relationship from mistrust.  

If this aspect is kept in mind a system can be devised to change the education system keeping internship and employability in mind and based on values needed for that.

Answer by Vani Senthil: Vocational Education provides job-specific training to students, by balancing the supply and demand for technical skills. Hands-on learning on a particular future career and exposure to the industry through internship will give students a wide range of skills and the ability to secure a job. There is a negative social bias against vocational education in the Indian society, which favors and respects only certain professions and careers. We can learn from the innovative vocational education system in Finland, that lowered the youth unemployment rates.

  1. What do you mean by promoting ‘Unconventional careers’?

Answer by Ritu Kohli: Parents want their children to become an IAS officer or engineer or doctor. We must be aware of other careers like Data Analyst, Event Managers, Fashion designers that are flexible and much rewarding. There are also specialised professions, like psychiatry is specialised for sleep disorders, marriage problems, career growth etc. We must be aware of the opportunities of such unconventional careers.