Presentation at NPSC Conference 16th February 2017

npsc-16th-february-2017

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Thoughts shared at the 4th National Conference on School Education Leadership

Sharing my thoughts at the Brainfeed Magazine’s 4th National Conference on School Educational leadership at New Delhi on 4th Feb:
1: Learning is not a spectator sport; it is a participative one. We have to support ‘active’ learning and the teacher has to transform from the ‘sage on the stage’ and display attributes of a ‘coach’
2: India has a demographic dividend that has gone unnoticed: the retired and about to retire teachers, augmented by the new emerging technologies to create a global footprint.
3: An expert can demonstrate his or her expertise; but a teacher can make a expert out of an ignorant person; that is why they are so valuable in the future where the challenge is to very rapidly inform, educate and train very large numbers ( millions) in new emerging domains.
4: Eric Hanushek, Stanford Professor……http://hanushek.stanford.edu/publications/valuing-teachers-how-much-good-teacher-worth
5: The Economist dated 14th January 2017 emphasises life-long learning for succeeding in the age of hyper-automation.
6: It draws attention to fact that the purpose of a school is to build a better learner, who is curious, enjoys learning, has developed the habit of learning and is ready to be a life-long learner.
7: My response is the trinity of : coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age; the TeacherPreneur and SmartParenting.
8: Elinor Ostrom’s work : learning communities can handle educational challenges better than either the Government or the large private corporations
9: Margaret Mead’s quote : never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed that is the way it has always been.
10: New emerging technologies affecting education : Big Data, Block Chain and Machine learning. Chatbots : Siri, Alexa..

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Course Structure for Education in the 4th Industrial Age:

The program

What is it ?
This is a program directed at the young (both boys and girls) who are coming of age (turning 18) in the years to come. We are aiming at the age group of 18+-2, that is from 16 years to 20 years.

This is about the same age group that pursues the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, The A levels and the Senior Secondary stage of the CBSE and other State Boards. Younger persons may not be able to benefit from the program, although students in post-secondary courses (general BA, BSc, BCom or Professional courses such as Engineering, Medicine or Law) would find this program helpful in preparing them for their future. There is really no upper age limit for an enquiringly mind with the disposition of a life-long learner.

India now has about one million children turning 18 every month, and we have to design a vehicle for mass education that moves very swiftly and responds rapidly to the external changes.
Education therefore has to become a mass movement with its goal as life-long learning and liberated from the shackles of regulators with a narrow myopic perspective.

Coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age:
Cluster 1: Time is money and learning is earning
1.1: Time Management
1.2: Learning how to learn ?
1.3: Learning from Mobile Apps and MOOCs
1.4: Financial Acumen

Cluster 2: Emerging Technologies
2.1: Big Data : the Big picture
2.2: Blockchain : Demystified
2.3: Machine Intelligence : what is it and why it matters?
2.4: Quantum Computing ( a Primer)

Cluster 3: Learning to Think

2.1: Creative Thinking
2.2: Critical Thinking
2.3: Mathematical Thinking
2.4: Computational Thinking

Cluster 4: Being human ?
4.1: Homo Sapiens ?
4.2: Genes, DNA and why it matters
4.3: The Brain, neurons and why it is important
4.4: Emotional Intelligence

Cluster 5: Doing the right thing?
5.1: Judgement and Decision Making
5.2: Ethics and Values
5.3: Negotiation
5.4: Service Orientation

Cluster 6: The road ahead
6.1: Online Safety
6.2: The future of work?
6.3: Preparing for a hundred year life
6.4: Developing a personal action plan

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Education for the 4th Industrial Age

Education for the 4th Industrial Age:
This is probably the most important issue before the entire world today. Attention was drawn to it at the WEF meeting in January 2016, by Professor Klaus Schwab, where he traced the history of the 3 previous Industrial Revolutions and drew attention to the fourth one taking shape.
In November 2015, our Bharat Ratna had declared that 90% of our Universities have outdated curricula, a statement that has not been contested by any of the agencies such as the UGC, AICTE, NAAC..responsible for regulating Higher Education.
In March 2016, the Department of Science and Technology released a vision document for the year 2035, and the section on education begins with the following lines:
” Schools, colleges and Universities as currently constituted will be redundant in 2035. Instead we will have Institutions of learning that are virtual/meta/open in character.
So, let’s get back to understanding the why of the above statements.
Quoting from Klaus Schwab “The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.”
The challenges and opportunities for humans living in such a world are unprecedented.
Our experience of the 3 earlier Industrial Ages creates thought barriers that prevent us from being ready for the future.
The metaphor often adopted by our leadership is of the Nawabs portrayed by Prem Chand in the famous ‘ Shatranj Ke Khilari’.
When dealing with impending danger, another model is that of the Ostrich and the Giraffe. Folklore has it that Ostriches bury their heads in the ground ( the truth is that they lie down as flat as can be ) and hope that the danger will pass. The giraffe on the other hand stretches out its neck further to observe the scene and then tales a decision whether to fight or take flight. So while adopting the Giraffe strategy, I augment it with Isaac Newton’s strategy of ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ of thought leaders such as Ken Robinson, Guy Claxton, Clayton Christensen, Richard Feynman, Ravindranath Tagore, Eric Hanushek, Klaus Schwab and organisations such WEF, OECD, Brookings Institute, Edge Foundation, Young Foundation….
And the earliest traditions of Socratic questioning that is similar to the Indian tradition of questioning, arguing and conversations as illustrated by the Yaksha Prashna or the Janak Yagyavalka Samvad.
What one can safely conclude is that we are undergoing a ‘ phase transition’ with emergence of new fields such as ‘synthetic biology’ and sometimes described with book titles such as ‘ business at the speed of thought’ or ‘life at the speed of light’. And these are some of the trends:
Megatrends in Technology :
1: Big Data
2: Blockchain
3: Machine Intelligence
4: The Internet of Things
5: Digital Manufacturing or 3 D Printing
The 5 important Skills :
1: Computational Thinking for Complex Problem Solving
2: Creative Thinking
3: Critical Thinking
4: Cognitive Flexibility
5: Judgement and Decision Making
Attitude / Attributes/ Character
1. Grit
2. Philanthropy
3. Charity
4. Gratitude
5. Integrity

The present education system has its roots in religious preaching ( perhaps indoctrination) with the basic ‘sage on the stage’ operational model suitably evolved with the 3 industrial revolutions to an efficient and productive factory model, suppressing creativity and developing conformity and obeisance to authority.
But the 4th Industrial revolution that we are witnessing is driven by exponential developments and the fusion between the physical world of atoms ( and energy) , digital the world of bits ( and qubits) and the biological world of genes ( and neurons).
In responding to the challenges of 4th Industrial Revolution, and to benefit from the new opportunities that it will give rise to the following 5 stake-holders have to work in cohesion.
Firstly the Governments, both National and State. They can create MOOC Universities to fulfil the need of increasing the GER in higher education and universal school education.
Secondly, in present times, Businesses have an important role to play, in complementing the role of Statutory Universities and other Institutions. They can take the lead in adopting new age technologies such as mobile phones, cloud computing, big data, Blockchain, artificial intelligence and VR & AR to provide experience and training skills for today and tomorrow. I have coined a generic phrase ” Mobile learning Diversity” to reflect diverse courses, learners, modes of certifications and they can be rapidly created by innovators and technology leaders.
Thirdly, it is individuals who have a very important role. But there are 3 categories of individuals, who can collaborate to create a winning team. Beginning with teachers, who have to transform from servants of their masters to becoming Independent Educators ( TeacherPreneurs) asserting themselves as professionally as lawyers, doctors or management consultants.
The fourth category of individuals who have to play a very important role in this endeavour, are the parents. Most parents are still caught up in the world of their childhood, and fail to accept the new trends and realities.
And finally the most important is the learner. We have to transform the reluctant and passive learner who has to be forced to go to School and attend at least 75% of classes that are held, to an enthusiastic active self-directed learner with intrinsic curiosity and motivation to learn new things rapidly, the UberSmart Autonomous Self-directed life-long learner, who can negotiate MOOCs, OERs and other learning resources to construct and acquire the learning that is needed, rather than that prescribed by a regulatory authority.
The 5 pronged strategy to succeed in the 4th Industrial Age is the MOOC University ( to be steered by Central or State Governments), the MOLD ( Mobile Learning Diversity), the TeacherPreneur, the SmartParent and the most important the UberSmart Autonomous Self-directed life-long Learner.

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The importance of Teachers in the Fourth Industrial Age:

The importance of teachers in the Fourth Industrial Age:

Reflections on Teacher’s Day 2016.
The very first para of the Summary of recommendations ( Chapter 9) of the draft new education policy 2016 begins with:
” From ancient times, Indian thinkers and society have recognised the value of education. The Guru-Shishya Parampara is one of the earliest examples of knowledge sharing between the teacher and the student “. It laments the deterioration in teaching quality, deterioration in standards of learning and corruption in recruitment. A little later it says ‘ the focus of the new National Policy on Education is on improving the quality of education and restoring the credibility of the education system’.
But the  proposals that follow are all aimed at exactly the opposite. Adding numerous bureaucratic levels in the form of a new Education Service, more and more regulators and co-ordinators in the name of quality assurance, will surely assure the death of whatever little good education is happening.
Another organ of the Government, the Department of Science and Technology through TIFAC released a report around March 2016 that was endorsed by the PM.
This report is called India Technology Vision 2035 and the section on education has the following prophecy, with full certainty and no qualifying if, but, maybe or perhaps.
‘ Schools, Colleges and Universities as currently constituted will be redundant in 2035.
Instead, we will have institutions that are virtual/meta/open in character’.

In January 2016, at the World Economic Forum Davos, Professor Klaus Schwab drew attention to the fact that we are now at the threshold of the 4th Industrial Revolution. According to the experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this next stage in societal development will see artificial intelligence, and robots, take the place of humans at work.
Of course, the authors of our New Education Policy have turned a blind eye to the possibility of the 4th Industrial Revolution and Digital India impacting Indian education and youth employability.
While the MegaTrends and convergences in Computing, Genetics, Energy and allied technologies do warn and caution us that the status quo will not remain, it also encourages us to believe that we the educators will be the drivers of change this time around.
Our policy makers continue with their Ostrich policy or if you do prefer are like the Nawabs in Prem Chand’s ‘ Shatranj ke Khiladi’.
Earlier Industrial revolutions were driven by control or ownership of capital, land, labour or means of production, but the 4th Industrial Revolution will be led by innovative ideas and co-operation rather than by tight control of ownership or over-regulation of Education by the State.
Education and training to overcome ignorance of STEM and acquisition of new skills led by complex problem solving, cognitive flexibility, critical thinking and creative thinking for very large numbers over very short times is fundamental. Educators empowered with mobile phone technology of specific Apps and WhatsApp for learner cohort management will be the most powerful enabler for this. India could possibly become the world’s hub for educational Apps.
The reason why accomplished practicing educators are more important than the policy maker bureaucrats and fossilised experts in this situation is that while an expert can demonstrate his or her expertise, an inspiring technology empowered educator can transform every ignorant person to an expert by using techniques for successful learning.
The Economic value add by educators has been well researched by the Stanford Professor Eric Hanushek in his book ‘ The Knowledge Capital of Nations’.
Added to the above reports we had the announcement of the Reliance Jio ecosystem by Mukesh Ambani at the 39th AGM of Reliance that gives a serious acceleration to embracing the 4th Industrial Age rather than be terrified with it.

If we want to seize the opportunity before us, we need to follow two intertwined strands, somewhat like the double helix of the DNA.
These are :
1: The MOOC University as the first strand. and
2: The Independent Educator, the TeacherPreneur as the 2nd strand.

Let us expand on these 2 concepts a little further.

1: The UK Open University at Milton Keynes in 1969 was the trailblazer for Open and Distance Learning which inspired Open Universities all over the world. In India the IGNOU was created in 1985, but that was not the first Open University in the Country. The State of Andhra Pradesh legislature enacted in 1982 the Andhra Pradesh Open University emulated the UKOU in delivering distance learning augmented with multi-media.
Now in 2016, it is the right time to launch a series of ‘MOOC’ Universities that are authorised by their Acts to offer degrees and other academic qualifications.

The first such University can either be a Central University created by Parliament or a State University by a progressive state. By awarding its own credits for courses run by others but proctored examinations conducted by its evaluation division it will become a very effective model to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and competencies for the 4th Industrial Age.
2: The Independent Educator : the TeacherPreneur
The Internet facilitates the disintermediation of all organisations , and it must do the same for educational intermediaries and this is what has also been stated in the TIFAC vision 2035 report.
The enormous recent success of the Government in implementing the Direct Benefit transfer schemes clearly demonstrates that as said in para 1 of the summary of recommendations of the draft new education policy, we can now eliminate all intermediaries between the educator and the learner.
These Independent Educators can be MOOC facilitators for not only college level qualifications but for life-long learning as well. All Schools/Colleges that offer education at +2 level can be MOOC Centres so that they can have the motto : ‘ College Ke Saath Bhi…..College Ke Baad Bhi’

The 5th September 2016 is when Reliance Jio would be made available to millions of Indians both learners and teachers.
Teachers Day is being celebrated on 5th September since 1962. And this year in 2016 it is also Ganesh Chaturthi, and we may expect that the 5th September 2016 will be a turning point in the history of India.
Who knows if in the decades to come, this day will be celebrated as one more National Day, the day India took cognisance of the 4th Industrial Age and started a movement to prosper, flourish and thrive in it.
Wishing you a very Happy Teachers Day, which may mark a personal turning point in the lives of each of you.

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Upcoming events in person & on Whatsapp

Upcoming MeetUps till May 2017:
All the MeetUps are on Sundays, from 10 am to 1pm at the WOODs, Gurgaon
Each MeetUp will be preceded ( whenever possible ) by a one week WhatsApp program on the same topic. This will run from the previous Monday to Saturday.
For those in remote locations, efforts will be made to have live streaming, live blogging and live tweeting to connect them to the event.

Sunday September 25th 2016 : WhatsApp for Educators

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘WhatsApp 4 Educators’ from Monday September 19th to Friday September 23rd  2016


Sunday October 23rd 2016: Financial Acumen

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ Financial Acumen’ from Monday October 17th to Friday October 21st 2016


Sunday November 6th 2016: Time Management

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ Time Management ‘ from Monday October 31st  to Friday November  4th 2016


Sunday November 13th 2016: LLQLWD: Learning to live a quality life with diabetes

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ LLQLWD ‘ from Monday November 7th to Friday November 11th 2016


Sunday December 4th 2016: Learning How to Learn ( LH2L)

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ LH2L ‘ from Monday November 28th to Friday December 2nd 2016

Sunday December 11th 2016 : Flash Fiction 

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ Flash Fiction ‘ from Monday December 5th to Friday December 9th 2016


Sunday January 15th 2017: The future of work

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ The future of work ‘ from Monday January 9th to Friday January 13th 2017


Sunday February 19th 2017: Overcoming Maths Phobia and Enjoying Maths

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ Overcoming Maths Phobia’ from Monday February 13th to Friday February 17th 2017
Sunday March 19th 2017: Becoming an Independent Educator : a TeacherPreneur

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ Becoming a TeacherPreneur’ from Monday March  13th to Friday March 17th 2017


Sunday April 16th 2017: EMTIYL : Emerging Megatrends Impacting your life

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ EMTIYL’ from Monday April 10th to Friday April 14th 2017


Sunday May 21st 2017: Can’t get into IIT? Rejoice !!!: The Intelligent Person’s Guide to a future ready career

Preceding WhatsApp Group on ‘ Can’t get into IIT?’ from Monday May  15 th to Friday May 19th 2017

There are no SMILE MeetUps scheduled for June 2017 and July 2017

For being informed of the latest plans, join SMILE at Meetup.com; and keep visiting mmpant.wordpress.com

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Indian Education Congress 2016: Can success in Education be scaled up?

The opportunities in technologically driven mass education in India:
On Thursday 26th May, at the Indian Education Congress 2016, I have 5 minutes in a panel to respond to the above theme. So I wrote up this blog to share a few thoughts on the demise of Indian Higher Education and the emergence of life-long mobile based learning as its re-incarnation. This country has already learnt how to use the mobile phone without the involvement of the Givernment.
Now the country is ready to use the mobile for learning and personal fulfilment and professional development. The London School of Marketing has just offered a Smartphone based MBA. We are still vacillating on the national policy for distance learning. Reminds you of the Nawabs in Prem Chand’s famous story ‘ Shatranj Ke Khikadi’

In newspapers dated 5th November 2015, it was
reported that Prof CNR Rao, distinguished Scientist and Bharata Ratna awardee said at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, apparently before the President, who is the visitor of perhaps all the Central Universities that ” 90% of the Universities in our country have outdated curriculum.”
There has been no adequate response to this criticism and no tangible steps have been taken to mitigate the situation, even though 7 months have elapsed since that observation.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/90-Indian-universities-have-outdated-curriculum-CNR-Rao/articleshow/49671332.cms
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-11-05/news/68043966_1_cnr-rao-kailash-satyarthi-universities
http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/90-pc-indian-universities-have-outdated-curriculum-cnr-rao-115110500617_1.html

In January 2016, at the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab founder of the WEF led the announcement of the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution which will be driven by ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing,Intelligent robots,Self-driving cars, Neuro-technological brain enhancements and Genetic editing. The evidence of dramatic change is all around us and it’s happening at exponential speed.
The Indian higher education system is like the ‘dodo’ on its way to extinction.
If we depend solely upon the regulators such as the UGC, AICTE, NAAC, NCTE etc. irreparable damage would have been done before we know what hit us.
We can follow Schwab’s call for leaders and citizens to “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”
India now has about one million children turning 18 every month, and we have to design a vehicle for mass education that moves very swiftly and responds rapidly to the external changes.
Education therefore has to become a mass movement with its goal as life-long learning and liberated from the shackles of regulators with a narrow myopic perspective.
How did such a large population of this country learn to use the mobile phone without Government intervention? The same model of community driven social learning will teach the youth of this country the new knowledge and skills required to prosper, flourish and thrive in the coming 4th Industrial revolution, while UGC and AICTE can continue to produce astounding number of I’ll-fitting graduates in colourful convocation ceremonies in which the President delivers homilies about the poor state of education, that he himself is presiding upon.
So what would be the elements of the disruptive transformation of future education ?
The first to be affected would be ‘taught masters’ courses. Any graduate worth his salt would be able to learn anything that is taught at Masters level by pursuing MOOCs and learning from other Open Education Resources.
In the African animal world, there are 2 well recognized paradigms of responding to impending danger. The well known Ostrich policy is to bury one’s head in the sand ( actually lie very close to the ground and hope that the danger will bypass you). The other is the approach of the Giraffe, that stretches out its neck further to get a better look at the approaching danger, and then take a decision to fight or take flight.
The key challenges that we have before us in the education domain are:
1. Outdated curriculum
2. Poor unreliable assessment systems
3. Inadequate behavioural transformation
4. Ignorant, arrogant and irresponsible regulators that are not data or evidence driven but authority driven
5. An overall inefficient and underperforming system, still living and operating in the quota, permit and license raj, ready to be disrupted with innovative business processes and advanced technology.

Responding to the specific points:
A: Business models:
The big disruption will be the diminishing value of the role of the intermediary called the education institute ( University, College or School) and the enhanced value of the educator. Most educators will work as independent professionals and not as salaried employees either within Government or private owners of educational institutes. The most agile and flexible business models that provide a high quality experience to learners at reasonable costs will win the competition and neither pedigree or regulators rating will be an inoculation against destruction by market forces. Educators who are good will become ‘rockstar teachers’ having a celebrity status and cult following.

B: Education sectors ? The focus will shift from quick and painless education for good immediately available jobs to an intense and more durable learning that will help negotiate changes to the workplace over a longer time span.
A new emerging and very valuable sector in future education will be that of diagnostic instruments that can help a learner observe progress in the levels of learning and accomplishment. The diagnostic instruments are needed for the 10 skills listed below, and many other allied skills. This will also result in the development of a new breed of ‘ educational diagnostician’ who will help in interpreting the raw results of a diagnostic into a ‘ learning action’ plan.
Machine Intelligence driven evaluation of answer books to improve errors in evaluation by reluctant human assessors ( who are prone to go on strike) and hold to random the future of millions of young learners.
Facial recognition technologies combined with emotional computing for personalisation of learning.
C: Alone or partners?
It may be possible for some to go it alone, but for most, effective collaboration with others will be desirable. However the models of these relationships will vary, like the varieties of chemical bonding.

D: Building an educational brand:
The focus of brand building will change from the Institution to the educator and the ‘USP’ of the educator. Most successful educators will transcend a pre-determined categorisation and will be what are called ‘sui generis’ meaning ‘in a class of its own’ and not like any other existing. To build such a brand, either by design or otherwise, the principles of building ‘conversational capital’ will have to be applied.

E: From investor’s perspective, I see the following stages:
1: Pre-school: supporting parents
2: The early years ~ grades 1 to 5 : supporting teachers, parents & learners
3: The middle school ~ grades 6 to 8 : supporting teachers, parents & learners
4: The Secondary stage ~ grades 9 & 10 : supporting teachers, parents & learners
5: The Senior Secondary stage ~ grades 11 & 12: supporting learners
6: Life-long learning from ages ~ 18 to 81 : supporting learners

What skills are needed for future success?
The 10 most important skills for future success:
1: Complex Problem Solving Skills
2: Critical Thinking
3: Creativity
4: People Management
5: Coordinating with others
6: Emotional Intelligence
7: Judgement & Decision Making
8: Service Orientation
9: Negotiation
10: Cognitive Flexibility

Top 10 emerging Industries of the Future:
1: Alternative energy
2: Big Data Analytics
3: Cloud Computing
4: Connected Living
5: Cyber Security
6: Mobile Robotics
7: Online B2B
8: Urban Logistics
9: Waste to Energy
10: 3D Printing

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