• Niyam Bhushan

Reset Education: We Don’t Need No Mute Control

You! Yes, you. It’s time. For a reset.



More than 1,200 college campuses in the US shut down permanently within the last 5 years. Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen predicts 50% of colleges and universities will close or go bankrupt in the next decade. All these are figures from before Covid pressed the alarm bells in the hallways of education.


In the current academic year of 2020-21 in India, 179 professional colleges have shut down permanently, the highest in last 9 years. Across the world, schools and colleges are gallantly struggling to impart education online. Parents are raising their hands and asking a fundamental question: “What is the value of a non-campus education?” Should the university charge the same for a class imparted via a Skype or Zoom video-conf call? Especially when the parents or their child may just have to be straddled with huge education loans? When jobs have abruptly evaporated due to the pandemic? When economies of the world lie shattered and some may need at least a decade to recover? And when some parents themselves may have just lost their jobs too?


Reset.


Finland has stopped imparting education via school subjects. Instead, they have adopted Phenomenon Based Learning (PhenoBL). All major universities in the world have started to publish their courseware and recorded video-lectures under a creative-commons license. Some of these individual videos have amassed millions of views each and growing. Providing a Professor millions of students for a single lecture, much more than a lifetime of teaching could have achieved.


A few parents have moved with their children to their hometowns far away. Every morning their children log into their virtual classes. This poses three fundamental questions.


  1. Do students have to be within a 5 KM to 10 KM range from their homes to be admitted to a school? Such a rule is indeed implemented in several cities and towns across the world.

  2. Should a student be allowed to enrol into any school anywhere on the planet, remotely?

  3. More fascinatingly, why should a student be restricted to only the teachers and faculty enlisted in the student’s school? Can a student take a bouquet-based approach to learning? Choose which subject to study from which teacher from across an unlimited choice of schools from across the world? All that the student needs to do is to log in to a class remotely.


Google is disrupting the education market with its Career Certificates program. It is a fraction of the cost of a university degree, focusses on the core skill and knowledge you need for a job. Google has also announced it will do away with the need of a college degree for its hires, and will employ from among candidates who complete their Career Certificates program.


There are a thousand moving parts in the complex world of the education industry. A multitude of players have been attracting investors, generating record revenues, and everyone is driven with the disruption and impact they can muster.


A hard reset begins with asking one singular question: How do we de-hypnotize ourselves from the perceived value of education? This TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson is inspiring, even more

remarkable when you realize he delivered this 13 years before COVID struck our Earth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY


This in turn may just leave you with a few profound questions:

• As a learner, ask not what education expects from you. Ask what you expect from education. What value or values do you define and seek?


• As an entrepreneur, what part would you like to play in the unbounded opportunities that the education sector, both formal and informal, offer to you? And what value would you like to drive through it for the new age?


© 2020 Narrativ.Design. All rights reserved. Entrepreneur and Designer, Niyam Bhushan has helped design several innovative products across diverse industries. He set up his first business at age 16 in digital publishing. In 1990 he also became the co-founder of Connect, a pioneering print magazine to win an international Design award. His second venture was as an Apple solutions provider for creative professionals. Since 1996 he set up and works as an independent consultant through Digital Dionysus. In 2016 he also founded the DesignRev.in initiative. A TEDx speaker, his ‘Awaken Your Creativity’ workshops apply Dance, Mindfulness and Meditation to unlock explosive creativity in people.You can reach him at authors@narrativ.design.

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