I can recall the past when my family received an
"You are invited to attend the matriculation
passing ceremony of our child."
The entire neighborhood and family was invited to a
really joyful occasion. Then my elder brother did matriculation
nothing happened. Family said, it's just a start. He did bachelors,
family said "good" but master's is your destination. When I
did my master's family said "good" but destination is
doctorate. And I ended up with a doctorate degree. And now opting for
post doctorate. But the overall issue is where it all will end?Holding
master's degree in this extensive competitive environment is no longer
a point of differentiation.
Organizations are tying the promotion of their
employees with higher education. People are pursuing double masters
but opting for double masters is horizontal movement that might not
give any competitive edge. The prime reason is that acquiring skills
in another area that might not be congruent to your area of expertise
may move you from specialist to generalist, while present
organizational trends are to acquire specialized people.
Upward movement along the vertical chain of
education is the only tool to survive in the industry where survival
is for the fittest only. As we move upward on the vertical chain of
education we learn more and more about less and less i.e. it opens new
doors of in-depth learning and provides us an opportunity to reassess
our learning and practices. Staying away from education after certain
period dries up the innovative skills and brings flatness in the
performance as the individual thinks that he/she has learned every
thing. But innovations and improvements in concepts, ideas and
techniques are generally moving at a much faster pace compared to any
individual and continuously acquiring higher education will get you
retired before you get obsolete.
Employees in the private or government sector are
now realizing the importance of higher education as more and more
people at the top of the organizations are being appointed on the
basis of higher qualification, the progression requirements on the
lower level is becoming stringent. Organizations are reviving their
pay structures to compensate for knowledge. Pay structures for Ph.D.
faculty in private sector universities starts at an average of Rs.
80,000/month + benefits and moves up with the output of the individual
while providing the luxury of time (working hours) and respect.
The best time of acquiring a higher degree is the
very moment when you feel, you know all about your job because this is
the time when your journey to downhill begins. Second important time
of acquiring a higher degree will be the time when you feel that you
need to go up on the organizational hierarchy. Third occasion is when
you feel like switching your organization for better prospects.
Universities have entered into offering MS and
M.Phil. degrees with future extensions into Ph.D. degree, which has
opened new doors of learning. The prime objective of these programs is
to brush up the learning of individuals and pave way for creative and
multi-dimensional thinking. But educating methodology is one of the
tools that create differences in the standard of education, as these
programs have not been tailored according to the need of the Ph.D.
candidates. The methodology being followed in majority of the
universities is either too focused on making the students memorize the
definitions without inculcating in them the true spirit of the
definition, or otherwise, it is more focused on concepts through the
case study methodology. However, balancing the two is what is missing
from the curriculum and classroom delivery. Providing dedicated
research facilities, building analytical and conceptual skills are
hard to find. Management of the universities are very much concerned
about delivery of the required topics in the class in due number of
sessions, but how many of them have actually set standards to ensure
that what has been delivered in the class room has actually been
grasped by the students. And, how many of the students have actually
developed the capability to apply it to the real business environment.
At IQRA University we have always ensured that our
focus should be on transforming the leaders of tomorrow, and to
achieve this we have used a combination of methodologies.
Firstly, we have developed the course plan of every
single course. These course plans are given to the students on the
very first day of the class which briefs them about the sequence and
types of activities that are going to take place in each of the
session so that they can come prepared in the class. Secondly
management has created a course standardization document through the
involvement of the faculty board, industry leaders, academic council
and concerned faculty. These standardization document sets parameters
for assessing the students learning outcome of each of the topic being
delivered in the class and the management of the university through
periodic visits to the classes ensures the achievement of those
"students learning outcomes" of the courses.
Secondly, we have always encouraged our faculty to
establish a friendly environment in the class and to involve students
in the discussions by asking them come prepared, calling them to the
front to share not only the theory but the examples they are aware of.
And also encouraging them wherever they are correct and helping them
in finding their own mistakes.
Thirdly, we have emphasized on the learning of the
students through the use of multiple tools such as the use of video
and audio. Our class room discussions are supported by latest videos
to show students as to how companies in the world are applying
concepts that are shared with them. While the audio sessions include
the seminars of world's renowned speakers on topics that enhance
student's potential beyond books.
We have encouraged and supported our faculty in the
use of latest software in education particularly business courses such
as Research, Marketing, Statistics, Accounting and Finance equips
students with the state-of-the-art analytical skills for quick problem
Real world cases from the local national and
multinational companies are used which prepare students in a
discussion based environment towards the kind of problems they can
encounter, and harnesses their decision-making skills.
Management has made available multiple latest books
on each of the course plus additional reading books and magazines to
encourage educators towards the use of multiple book system in their
courses. Management has a philosophy for educators, i.e. you name the
book we'll get it for you if not available. We have also set up a
review board to ensure that only high quality books are being used in
Presentations is another important tool which is
widely used in our classrooms, where students are asked to speak on
certain topics, and to answer the questions of other students. This
technique certainly enhances their communication skills and builds
confidence in them, which is the most important pre-requisite in the
today's job market.
Field research projects are given to the students
which are based on real environment situations and are sponsored by
corporate sector which enable students to apply their class room
learning in a real scenario and build relations with the industry.
These projects polish the students towards working as a team and
winning as a team.
Class workshops, pre and post discussion quizzes
are conducted on regular basis to enforce theoretical learning, and
it's application via brief classroom exercises. While, assignments are
given to direct students towards additional books and magazines study.
Guest speaker sessions are also organized in each
of the course, where experts from the industry come to share their
experiences with the students. These sessions bridge the gap between
the students and the industry and assure them that there is no
knowledge gap between the classroom teaching and practice.
Our library has a dedicated section for Ph.D.
researchers equipped with online researching facilities, latest
national and international journals, sample research work etc. to
facilitate the research process of the students.The curriculum for
Ph.D. candidates include courses that develops writing skills in them
and university facilitates the publishing of their research work.
University has its own research journal available on-line.
But, above all, our eminent faculty which comprises
of Ph.D.'s and industry leaders in their respective fields shapes the
education methodology, which offer the students a nice blend of
theoretical and practical learning while sharing their national and
international experiences and exposures.
It is indeed a matter of concern that should we
develop the students to meet the job challenges only, or it is our
responsibility to educate them the real spirit of what is shared in
the classrooms. And, making them not only a better member of the
organization but a continuos learner and a contributor to the nation
and save them from getting obsolete before they get retired.