THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION DOES NOT MATTER. THE PRESENT DOES.
Yesterday I have attended yet another presentation about the future of education, and in the last 5 years I have attended probably just about twenty similar presentations, watched thirty or forty videos and read perhaps a hundred articles and blogs. Fascinating at the beginning, incredibly boring and upsetting today. While everybody seem to have something clever to say about the future of education, I hear so little or nothing about the present of education. Isn’t it easy to dream, imagine, envision and talk about the future of something? Easy and cool at the same time. “Wow, you are a visionary!”, “Yes, this is what everybody should do!”, “Finally, somebody who say it clear!” “Yes, Yes and Yes!”. These are the comments I hear or read for presentations on the topic of the future of education. And normally the contents that are strongly applauded are things like:
- Technology is here to stay
- Robots will take over many jobs
- The 4th industrial revolution has started
- Most jobs available in 5 years do not exist today
- We need to make computing languages mainstream learning
- We need mindfulness and empathy
- Problem solving abilities will be very important
- Collaboration will be central
- Ethics are now more important than ever
- Students must develop sensitivity to the problems of the world
- Empathy must be encouraged
- Reflection practices must be taught
- In order to teach systemic thinking we need cross-curriculum topics
- Students should learn in a flexible way and decide when, where, what and how to learn
I am sure there is more than that and apologies for forgetting one of those great applauses I should remember. Who does not like or agree with the above? Trust me, if you want to collect a good audience and a few applauses, just deliver your next talk around those topics and you will see plenty of heads knotting down. Ok, so what is this article that I am writing about? I am writing to all courageous change agents in the education landscape. Stop thinking about the future, we got it. Here is the challenge for you, the present. What are the risks you are called to take if you want a better (for the world) education? Are you ready to disappoint some students? Their parents? Your Dean? Your Faculty? Do you believe in the future of education to the point that you will implement it today? How will you do it?
At Business School Lausanne in Switzerland, we are experiencing the lowest student intake in our recent history, congratulations to us! At the same time we are experiencing the most incredible and exciting transformation into the future of education, and we are doing it now! Am I worried about the student intake year? No, I am not. This place is full of courageous change agents who believe in what they are doing and are strongly pulled by a powerful purpose: educating business leaders for the good of the world. So, next year our student numbers will be good again, promised. I know you want to know more so here some scattered bullet points on what we are doing to change the present of education:
- We have made it clear and loud what type of education we stand for. We want sustainable business and responsible leaders. If you are not interested, there are plenty of other business schools that are less interested in this.
- We think hierarchical management belongs to the past and, approaching an incredibly powerful human age (beside the robots), will welcome new forms of organizations. We believe in self-organization principles and since 2015 we use a system called Holacracy to govern our business school. This is has generated a profound change in the way we act, make decisions, innovate and live our values. All on the positive side. Our students are learning alongside with us.
- We have launched a new Millenial BBA where our students will take a full year outside the classroom and build a portfolio of experiences aimed at learning more about themselves and the world they live in. They also design their 3-years-experience picking up among a large number of elective courses.
- We operate as a multi-stakeholder hub and run Collaboratories to generate business solutions for the wicked problems of the world.
- We run every 3 months a Gap Frame Week where all our students from all our programs work together alongside the Professors to prototype businesses that tackle the 24 major issues of the world in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
- We have coding courses for our BBA program but they are not just coding courses, we run them through a NGO who provide such courses to refugees in Switzerland and we invite our students to merge their classes to create a truly multicultural and empathetic learning experience. Technology, business and empathy all in one room!
- We also have a Master Degree in International Business with different specializations and capstone projects including:
o Data analysis where students take a nanodegree from Udacity.
o Aim2Flourish capstone project where students learn from great business stories that are changing the world in a positive way.
- We have a MBA program where students can chose whether to do a thorough Management Report or go through a challenging 10 weeks experience in South Africa enrolled in the Emzingo program
- We work with great heroes and heroines Professors who today facilitate learning and moved away from the traditional teaching model. We embrace a pedagogical model that involve students in learning by exploring the I, We and All of Us dimensions.
-We are publicly engaged in shaping business education and inspiring others to help business become an irresistible force for good.
- We are ditching traditional economics and embracing the great work done by Kate Raworth and the Doughnut Economics
There is much more but, how is that to get started with the present of education?
The good news are that Business School Lausanne is not at all alone in building a great new present of education. There is a great network of inspired business schools coordinated by the UN PRME initiative. There is another great network of Thought Leaders coordinated by the GRLI. And there are many courageous new initiatives such as www.rita.global and OPEN among many others.
Ready to join the present of education? You are welcome and let me know how you have started!
The future of education does not matter. The present does.