I often hear U.S. educators and businessmen talk about the global talent race and how young Indians could become a real threat to the American economy.
I think that is a false assumption in today’s global talent race. The real threat will come from anyone who can take available information and convert it into reliable market intelligence.
According to Jamie Casap, Google’s Chief Education Evangelist, the future belongs to those who can convert information to intelligence. That’s how Google makes money by converting usable information into relevant searches (intelligence) for consumers and advertisers.
So, how can we create the next Global Indian, the one who moves away from memorizing the ABC’s and 123’s to making things with a critical mind and an entrepreneurial spirit?
Indian educators must make this change fast or else they will leave millions of children behind. They will ruin millions of precious lives, especially those in our public schools with huge potential, skills and the ability to lead. Here are best practices that will help us create the next Global Indian:
- Our schools must focus on a student-led learning model, as there will be no classrooms of the future. Children will learn in multiple ways, from online to blended learning environments and in physical spaces away from cramped, factory model classrooms.
- We need to provide everything we can to develop and retain great teachers.
- Our children should learn to solve open-ended problems. We cannot afford to be the global leaders in memorization.
- We must build an entrepreneurial skill set among children and allow them to tinker. Otherwise, “Make in India,” will be easily taken over by the global economy. Allow children to find out more than one solution to a problem.
- Teach children to understand today’s digital footprint and instill in them the ability to listen and collaborate.
- We should not rely on standardized testing. In a world where even adults do not know what the next 5 years could bring in, what is the point of testing? Instead, allow children to solve complex problems and let them tolerate ambiguity early on.
- Make students culturally competent so that they can learn to play well with others.
- Last, but the most important, let us provide equity so that children in our public schools can receive an education that is as good or better than those offered by private schools.
On a social responsibility level, it's great to know that a majority of Indian companies that fall under the ambit of the CSR law are investing in education. However, this needs to be deliberate and strategic so that it enhances the learning experience for students. One good way would be to use models in vocational training that are being used in developed countries. And, it is easy to get resources now in a world that is very much inter-connected. A good education will create a more confident Indian who will be very well prepared to take on the world.
Founder of Lettersnatcher.com, Sarat Pratapchandran’s career spans philanthropy, corporate social responsibility & content management. A graduate from Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, he worked as a journalist in India, the Middle East and the United States and now advises and mentors individuals at kanthari, an international organization focused on creating social visionaries around the world. Sarat is also on a personal mission to help 50 orphans by age 50.