Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

21 February 2018

The future of education, according to experts at Davos

The future of work is going to look very different, as automation and Artificial Intelligence make many manual, repetitive jobs obsolete.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, robots could replace 800 million jobs by 2030, while the World Economic Forum suggests a “skills revolution” could open up a raft of new opportunities.

“If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now, we’re going to be in trouble,” said Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant.

13 February 2018

Sealing the border redux: American universities are losing international students

Dick Startz

One year ago, I wrote on these pages: “If new border controls prevent the entry of foreign students, or simply makes them feel unwelcome so they go elsewhere, American jobs and American students pay the price.” I regret to report that we have now started down that path.

First, the fact: College enrollment of international students is down for the first time in a long time. The drop is large, but not overwhelming—at least not yet. We’ve seen a one-year decrease of about 30,000 students, which isn’t massive. However, Department of Education data suggests that foreign-student enrollment had risen consistently for the last 35 years. Here’s a picture based on NSF data. (A nice article in Inside Higher Edgives more details.)

28 January 2018

'Reskilling' Top Of Mind At World Economic Forum In Davos

Jason Bloomberg

Two massive macroeconomic trends are colliding at this snowbound congregation of the world’s economic leaders: the insistence on providing a fair work environment for women and minorities, as well as the adverse impacts automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have on the global workforce. Setting the tone: last November’s The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 from the World Economic Forum (WEF), which sounded the alarm over results that progress toward parity between men and women in technical roles had dropped since the report from the previous year. “In 2017, we should not be seeing progress towards gender parity shift into reverse,” according to Saadia Zahidi, WEF Head of Education, Gender and Work.

14 December 2017

What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages

By James Manyika, Susan Lund, Michael Chui, Jacques Bughin, Jonathan Woetzel, Parul Batra, Ryan Ko, and Saurabh Sanghvi

In an era marked by rapid advances in automation and artificial intelligence, new research assesses the jobs lost and jobs gained under different scenarios through 2030.

The technology-driven world in which we live is a world filled with promise but also challenges. Cars that drive themselves, machines that read X-rays, and algorithms that respond to customer-service inquiries are all manifestations of powerful new forms of automation. Yet even as these technologies increase productivity and improve our lives, their use will substitute for some work activities humans currently perform—a development that has sparked much public concern.

5 December 2017

What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages

By James Manyika, Susan Lund, Michael Chui, Jacques Bughin, Jonathan Woetzel, Parul Batra, Ryan Ko, and Saurabh Sanghvi

In an era marked by rapid advances in automation and artificial intelligence, new research assesses the jobs lost and jobs gained under different scenarios through 2030. The technology-driven world in which we live is a world filled with promise but also challenges. Cars that drive themselves, machines that read X-rays, and algorithms that respond to customer-service inquiries are all manifestations of powerful new forms of automation. Yet even as these technologies increase productivity and improve our lives, their use will substitute for some work activities humans currently perform—a development that has sparked much public concern.

23 October 2017

Journalism’s Broken Business Model Won’t Be Solved by Billionaires

By William D. Cohan

Ever since Donald Graham, the heir to the Washington Post, decided to sell the family’s newspaper for two hundred and fifty million dollars, in 2013, to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the world’s richest men, the preferred solution for a financially struggling publication has been to find a deep-pocketed billionaire, with other sources of income, to buy it and run it more or less as a philanthropic endeavor.

13 October 2017

Manners and Political Life

I married a woman born in Australia, of that class that emulated English culture. Loving her as I did, I did not understand the British obsession with table manners. For her, eating a bowl of soup was a work of art, a complex of motions difficult for me to master, and to me incomprehensible in purpose. From the beginning of our love, dinner became for me an exercise of obscure rules governing the movement of food to my mouth. It was a time when conversation was carefully hedged by taboos and obligations. Some things were not discussed at dinner.

11 October 2017

Making Broadband a Priority Makes Education Better

By Nate Davis

It is no secret that our country’s bridges, roads, railways and airports must be improved. Rebuilding our transportation infrastructure is critical to commercial and economic growth. But digital access in the internet age is just as important as the expressway needed for daily commutes and shipping goods.

27 September 2017

War Books: Jacob Olidort on How to Read

By Jacob Olidort

“How” to read seems a strange and perhaps even condescending way to propose a book list. However, given that reading takes time, and that those who might have the most use for good reads often have little time and long lists to go through, as well as many outlets to consult (including blogs, tweets, recommendations), it might be more useful to reflect on how I go about choosing what books I read and how I consume information.

16 September 2017

Why power matters in the digital world

Digital networks are a proxy for the digital economy of the future. Illustration: Jayachandran/Mint

In 1994, Mitchell Kapor, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, summed up the idealism that pervaded the dawn of the consumer internet era: “The first-order issue ought to be: What are we shooting for as a society? How are we conceiving of this great project that we are engaged in? My hope is that we reach a consensus for the system to be open, inclusive, egalitarian, and decentralized...”. The fundamental assumptions underlying this idealism—the inherent egalitarianism of the internet, its potential to upend pre-digital political, economic and social hierarchies—continue to shape public debates.

Last week, the Supreme Court directed Facebook and WhatsApp to file affidavits stating what user data they shared with third parties. Legal challenges to the Aadhaar programme are pending. Both are part of the broader privacy debate that will now be informed by the Supreme Court’s landmark decision reading the right to privacy as a fundamental right. Net neutrality remains a perennial issue in India, the US and elsewhere. European Union courts continue to subject tech giants to withering antitrust scrutiny. There are multiple principles at stake here: individual rights, free market functioning and fair competition, among others. But they are ultimately aspects of the central issue Kapor raised: power and its distribution.

In a new Foreign Affairs essay, “The False Prophecy Of Hyperconnection”, historian Niall Ferguson has analysed this within the framework of network theory. Any social network consists of nodes (individuals) connected by edges (relationships). Not all nodes are equal; “Some nodes have a higher ‘degree’, meaning that they have more edges, and some have higher ‘betweenness centrality’, meaning that they act as the busy junctions through which a lot of network traffic has to pass.”

12 September 2017

Cambridge University could allow laptops and iPads for exams amid fear young people are losing ability to write

Luke Mintz

Cambridge University is considering axing compulsory written exams and allowing students to use laptops or iPads instead, after tutors complained that students' handwriting is becoming illegible.

Academics say that the move, which would bring an end to more than 800 years of tradition, has come about because students rely too heavily on laptops in lectures, and are losing the ability to write by hand.

Cambridge University has now launched a consultation on the topic as part of its "digital education strategy", having already piloted an exam typing scheme in the History and Classics faculties earlier this year.

In an online survey, students are asked whether they would like the option to type exams, and whether this would have a “significant positive impact” on their “well-being”. 

Dr Sarah Pearsall, a senior lecturer at Cambridge’s History Faculty who was involved with the pilot earlier this year, said that handwriting is becoming a “lost art” among the current generation of students.

“Fifteen or twenty years ago students routinely have written by hand several hours a day - but now they write virtually nothing by hand except exams,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

16 April 2017

India’s Education Is At A Crossroads: Time For Some Hard Decisions

Gautam Desiraju

Corruption, chronic shortage of funds and caste reservations are endemic to our institutions.

Unless we train young men and women in an enlightened, holistic manner, we are in trouble.

Modern India urgently needs to create educational opportunities for its people at all levels. Education is like defence, national security, finance and health, with the responsibility to disseminate it, shared by the centre and the states.

Any modern country needs one decent university for per million population. By this token, India needs 1,200 good universities. We have around 400 universities that exist perfunctorily, with many of them languishing, practically lifeless. The large majority of them are state universities.

The solution to this huge imbalance between demand and supply with regard to employment cannot be solved by opening new universities in remote places, or by handing over the whole education enterprise to the private sector, but rather by a total cleansing, of what I would term, the salvageable state universities.

Our education policies, at both the central and state levels have failed. At the central level, our efforts have probably been well meaning, but insufficient. At the state level, they have been unsatisfactory.

13 April 2017

Big-Bang Reform Agenda For India’s Distressed Education Sector

Swarajya Special

Why gradual decentralisation and private sector participation is key to revamping the Indian education sector

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education” - John F Kennedy

It is trite to say that our education system needs a rejig. While ideas for reforming the archaic macro structure of education in India will call for a whole book, a few strategic moves outlined in this column could help infuse vigour and enforce clarity in the system.

Education is in the concurrent list of the constitution. Both school education and higher education are under the purview of the central and various state governments. The Ministry of Human Resource Development(HRD) has under its ambit, a cognitively-impossible number of institutions and organisations to keep track of, leave alone administer efficiently from a central pulpit. This calls for rationalisation of the structure for some efficiency in the distribution of labour.

At this point, it is worthwhile to note that our constitution framers had placed education in the state list. In 1976, it was transferred to the concurrent list through the 42nd amendment, leading to stealthy appropriation of powers by the centre to push through its socialist agenda.

8 March 2017

The Importance Of Teaching Arts And Literature To The Management Students

Sanjoy Mukherjee

Arts and literature can break open the stagnant chambers of management education dominated by linear thinking and binary logic.

Austrian psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor Viktor E Frankl, in his seminal book Man’s Search for Meaning, had identified in clear terms that the real problem of human beings in our modern world is not nothingness but “nothing-but-ness”. The implications of this diagnosis are deep and far-reaching. While it may appear that a kind of purposeless existential vacuum (nothingness) has engulfed the mind and life of people, a deep look at the behaviours, lifestyles and aspirations of jet-setters and go-getters among management students and corporate executives, the so-called torch-bearers of global economic progress, reveals a much deeper malaise. It stems from an uncritical bond signature to a worldview that celebrates and champions the logic of market economy, aggressive competition, linear undifferentiated growth, single-point drive for profits and relentless acquisition of material “goodies”.

The phenomenon of nothing-but-ness consists of systematic bulldozing of alternative models of progress and development in work and life that are still vibrant but beyond the margins. A random sampling of the usual language of conversations in the “educated” mainstream milieu will show an abundant use of such phrases as “great”, “perfect”, “absolutely” and the like. This often amounts to a vulgar display of arrogance that is hollow, distasteful, culturally impoverished - all pointing to a poor understanding of the life-world.

As the voice of the “other”, alternative modes of thinking and living increasingly face the peril of fading into oblivion. We hear the burning question on choosing life from German psychologist Erich Fromm: “To have or to be?” And T S Eliot makes the point sharp and clear in his three profound questions in the poem ‘The Rock’:

2 March 2017

** Keeping the score - Predators in an academic jungle

Sukanta Chaudhuri

Nowadays the University Grants Commission requires that college and university teachers be appointed and promoted on the basis of their academic performance indicators or APIs. These are used for academic assessment in many countries, but there is no standard format: each country, authority or institution devises its own. The UGC, too, allows each university to modify its general guidelines, subject to some overall stipulations.

The API system is intended to prevent the selection of teachers by subjective judgment, shading into nepotism and corruption. Like most schemes for academic improvement by mechanical means, it has not only failed to select the best candidates, but created a set of practices to ensure that this does not happen.

The problem can be traced to a growing policy of the world's leading academic journals. Under cover of the disarmingly named 'open access' model, whereby users can consult the journals online without charge, they are extracting money from researchers contributing papers. British academia tellingly calls this high road to publication the 'gold route'. There is also a 'green route', whereby a trickle of papers are printed without charge. Researchers in a hurry to publish their findings, in order to secure a job or pre-empt rivals in the field, can seldom afford to wait.

This system is gradually replacing the earlier one whereby journals were marketed at such exorbitant cost that the world's richest universities had begun to protest. Both new and old systems assume without contest that the electronic circulation of knowledge should command profit margins wildly disproportionate to costs. (No scholar associated at any stage - author, editor or reviewer - is paid a penny, and papers must be submitted in ready-uploadable form.) The technology of electronic publication gained ground in the post-Cold-War era. The upswing of global capitalism around that time captured this new territory from the start, overturning the earlier economics of academic print publication.

The threat from within


Former Provost John Etchemendy, in a recent speech before the Stanford Board of Trustees, outlined challenges higher education is facing in the coming years. Following is an excerpt from that talk.

Universities are a fundamental force of good in the world. At their best, they mine knowledge and understanding, wisdom and insight, and then freely distribute these treasures to society at large. Theirs is not a monopoly on this undertaking, but in the concentration of effort and single-mindedness of purpose, they are truly unique institutions. If Aristotle is right that what defines a human is rationality, then they are the most distinctive, perhaps the pinnacle, of human endeavors.

John Etchemendy(Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

I share this thought to remind us all why we do what we do – why we care so much about Stanford and what it represents. But I also say it to voice a concern. Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within.

19 February 2017

In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant

George Monbiot

In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant

A regime of cramming and testing is crushing young people’s instinct to learn and destroying their future 

In the future, if you want a job, you must be as unlike a machine as possible: creative, critical and socially skilled. So why are children being taught to behave like machines?

Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity. So why are they dragooned into rows and made to sit still while they are stuffed with facts?

We succeed in adulthood through collaboration. So why is collaboration in tests and exams called cheating?

Governments claim to want to reduce the number of children being excluded from school. So why are their curriculums and tests so narrow that they alienate any child whose mind does not work in a particular way?

The best teachers use their character, creativity and inspiration to trigger children’s instinct to learn. So why are character, creativity and inspiration suppressed by a stifling regime of micromanagement?

27 January 2017

Why Does India Refuse to Participate in Global Education Rankings?

By K.S. Venkatachalam

India’s troubling record on education won’t go away by boycotting PISA. 

For the third time, students from East Asian countries have outperformed their peers in the rest of the world in science, math, and reading in the 2015 Global Education International Triennial Survey. Popularly known as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), the survey is conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to test education systems by comparing the test performance of 15-year-old pupils.

The two-hour test not only evaluates the cognitive skills of students in science, math, and reading, but also assesses their ability to solve problems in new and unfamiliar conditions. The approach of PISA, according to the OECD’s director of education, “reflects the fact that modern economies reward individuals not for what they know, but for what they can do with what they know.”

The latest results show that students from Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China (Hong Kong, Macao, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Jiangsu province) were among the top performers. Over 540,000 students, from 70 countries, participated in the tests.

How did India rank? We’ll never know. For some reason, India refused to participate in the global survey.

India’s refusal to participate in PISA is hard to understand and also defies logic. In the 2009 survey, students from two Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, participated; India placed 72nd among the 74 participating countries. Since then the Human Resource Development Ministry in India has chosen not to participate in PISA, as they perceived that there was a socio-cultural disconnect between the questions and Indian students, because of India’s peculiar “socio-cultural milieu.” Although India’s concerns have been backed by educational experts, that doesn’t change the fact that the PISA results can help in assessing standards of education in India, especially at the primary level.

22 January 2017

** A new class act Higher education in India is failing. Overhauling the system can salvage it

By Pranab Bardhan

Let me start with a blunt statement: India’s higher education is in general a decrepit, dilapidated system, it’s afflicted by a deep malaise.

The National Knowledge Commission—Report to the Nation (2006-9) put it only a bit more mildly: “There is a quiet crisis in higher education in India which runs deep”. Three widely acknowledged criteria for judging an education system: Access, Equity, and Quality. We have failed our young people by all three criteria.

On account of financial hardship, inferior schools, lack of remedial education and social compulsions for early marriage for girls, the majority of young people from poor families drop out of school at or before completing secondary education. So they have no access to higher education. In addition, for socially disadvantaged groups discrimination at workplace and occupational segregation lower the rate of return from (and hence demand for) higher education for them compared to other groups.

Even for those who complete secondary education and are willing to enter, entry into premier higher education institutions is riddled with various kinds of inequity (only marginally relieved for some people by lower-caste reservations). For example, the currently almost indispensable intensive entry examination preparation in coaching classes (or private tuition) with high fees is often out of reach for poor students. (NSS data suggest that in 2014 nearly 60% of male students in the 18-24 age group cite financial constraints or engagement in economic activities as the reason for discontinuing higher education).

13 January 2017

The Quality Education Imperative for Military Children

Military life is a nomadic one. Every few years the order comes to move to a new duty station. While it can be challenging for adults, the test for military-connected children can be even worse.

The average military-connected child moves six to nine times between the time he or she starts kindergarten and the time he or she graduates high school.

That is a new school every 18 months to two years. It is not a situation that leads to a consistent educational foundation.

As an Air Force senior non-commissioned officer, my husband, also a senior non-commissioned officer, and I moved 12 times around the world while raising our four children. Our youngest son went to four different high schools in four years.

To handle the constant change, our family had our coping techniques. Besides doing our due diligence, we relied on the resources of the Air Force’s Airmen and Family Readiness Centers. We looked at issues such as the quality of the neighborhood and the level of excellence of the schools. 

When it came time for the move, we gave our children a backpack. Each of the children could put their favorite toys and some snacks into the backpack. It was our way of making them feel comfortable as military requirements sent them from the United States to Europe and Asia and back again.