“Take charge of the Future”

Jun 16, 2015 | Posted by admin in Faculty Talk   No Comments »

That’s the message Prof Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool, Matunga, wants to pass on to today’s students, he tells Shraddha Kamdar,FREE PRESS JOURNAL

He is busy, a fact that cannot be denied. And yet he finds time to take a look at many things, most of which involve the advancement of his students. He has been instrumental in developing many processes and programmes, all of which have a unique features and he has been successful in establishing partnerships with various universities across the world, putting WeSchool on the global map.

On a lazy Saturday morning when half the city was looking forward to enjoying yet another weekend, I went to the campus to interact with Prof Dr. Uday Salunkhe is the Group Director of WeSchool (Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research), Matunga. He explained many ideas in the short amount of time he could spare, and talked about the concept of three As – the acquisition, application and assimilation of knowledge. “Post the financial crisis, we were taking stock of why it happened the way it did,” he explains, and how they arrived at the results. He believes that the acquisition of knowledge was too classroom-centric in India (it still is in many cases) which does not make much sense. The way out is to broaden the horizon, and the very meaning of the classroom. It could be the market, society, the globe, even theatre and music. “To change the method of acquisition of knowledge, students need to get a sense of the new society and its role in the whole ecosystem,” he says.

Following acquisition is the application of knowledge. Prof. Salunkhe remembered a quote, the essence of which is: “Education is what you remember after you forget what you memorized.” He talked about the application of what is learnt even beyond simulations, and taking the students to the market to link the knowledge with the basic practices. Suring such activities, he said that the students’ retention of knowledge is a lot.

Finally, we reach assimilation – not in the literal sense, but from the ethics and governance point of view. Prof. Salunkhe’s message to the students of today is that: “Take charge of the future. Be active, not a passive observer in the world.”

Excerpts from an interview:

How can educators encourage students towards academics when the syllabus sometimes is archaic and outdated?

The role of a good institution and faculty is really to ignite the interest in learning. The syllabus will always face the challenge of remaining contemporary. It is only a starting point. As a faculty, I believe in creating a classroom where all the students are required to bring in new and updated information on a topic into the class, we then discuss various perspectives and most importantly the impact it will have. Creating an environment where the student and the faculty are both actively contributing to the learning experience. This environment is created by also bring in cases and stories from our immediate surroundings in business or society, movie snippets, games and sometimes even bringing in stakeholders related to the topic into the classroom. The mantra is to create meaningful engagement with a goal to develop a learner’s attitude. Once this is established, the faculty becomes a mentor.

Should students be empowered to a certain extent that they can participate in policy decisions regarding their education?

Certainly. Involving and empowering students to participate in policy decisions in education will help students understand and value several aspects of the education system which may seem a mystery otherwise. It will also bring in fresh perspective into policy making and we will be co-creating the future of education, establishing higher responsibility and ownership among all involved. For students to get interested, the faculty first needs to be extremely excited about bringing in meaningful information and sharing how it connects to the world of work. This energy is usually contagious. Providing students simple tasks to implement something they learnt in class and come back next time or experimenting the concept in the class are ways in which the faculty can establish meaningful connect and belief with the students. Apart from content, how the faculty connects with students with varied abilities to learn a subject, how willingly they put in a special effort to care about the success of the student almost directly impacts the students interest in the learning experience.

Do educators and students work towards getting out of the university mode and into the ‘real world’ mode? If there are some measures taken in classes for this, can you give us a few examples?

Students respond to the ecosystem we have created. If we create an environment that encourages and values learning that will contribute to their life in the world of work, students usually respond positively.

At Welingkar, we have been running a programme called the Global Citizen Leader (GCL). It is a transformational programme that equips students with tools to apply their talent and skills in the real-world context while providing them with leadership, innovation and inspiration to make a difference in society. This programme is designed by WeSchool in collaboration with Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) , a global provider of executive education that cultivates creative leadership—the capacity to achieve more than imagined by thinking and acting beyond boundaries. With a number of top corporate honchos stepping in to share their pain-points which turned into problem statements that the students had to work on, it compelled them to step out of the comfort zones of classroom learning, look closely at the fast- paced realities of the environment and come out with strong solutions that had the potential to be taken to a higher level. The projects presented at the finale were the outcome of a five-month journey of learning, observing, empathizing with stakeholders, ideating, prototyping, and finally arriving at a suggested solution for a shared ‘opportunity’ space.

I understand that students need to consider marks, especially until class 12, since the admissions to undergrad courses depend on marks. But do they really get out of the marks mode ever?

The system of using marks to define the success and capabilities of a student is something we all have put together. It has its own merits and demerits. What we need to focus on is creating an equally strong learning environment that is rich with opportunities to experiment, try and fail, accept that all routes will not lead to desired outcome. The moment the environment creates opportunities that allows them to experience success, fulfillment and a sense of accomp-lishment beyond the regular “marks method”.

How do educators counsel students about starting small, and look for job roles rather than glamourous companies to work with?

The pressure of being judged by the brand that they work for, the package that they get is so high that making the decision to start small and progress is quite frightening for a young person. I think what you are trying to say is that one need not feel dejected if one has to start small and move on to the larger organizations. In this area we have initiated two important steps at Weschool. One is the mentoring to set the expectations right and the second step is to show the various opportunities and options that they may be unaware of.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved. Designed by Singapore SEO SEO Blog  SEO Web Design  Mind Movies