Oct 23, 2019
In Latin, “bachelor” is baccalaureus. In English it originally meant a knight who followed another knight’s banner, or a young man who hoped to become a knight. It later addressed a junior member of a 'guild' - an association of people for the pursuit of a common goal. Its sense of “unmarried person” came from the notion that a bachelor was young and inexperienced, just starting out and not yet established, and therefore not apt to be married. And we are only referring to a certain gender so far.
You must be wondering - so what? Well, we have faithfully adopted, passed on and are still holding on dearly to a societal concept of the medieval era. The 3-4 year bachelor’s degree continues to define the market-(non)readiness of a batch of individuals, born around the same year. Yes, a ‘batch’ - waiting to be processed and refined by prior ‘batches’ in the industry, by choice or by force, to sustain businesses.
Various thinkers and experts have defied the system and even proven by example that one could dream, create and innovate, even without being awarded a ‘bachelors’ degree.
I don't think a four year degree is necessary to be proficient at coding. I think that's an old, traditional view. - Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Students, especially in India are indoctrinated to set themselves up for a minimum of an 8-year long grind (Grade 9 through college). These years are packed with purely having to cope with examination schedules and the race for university/college admissions and job interviews. Such conditioned minds succumb to the ‘competition’ to become a specific job-holder in a field that is projected to be most coveted. There is no time, no mind-space to explore, assimilate and to get curious.
Only curious minds seek to make sense of the world. Curiosity leads to expanding one’s exposure horizon - Exposure to what the “grown-up” world actually looks like; exposure to the nature of problems that people face and try to solve; exposure to what makes a solution to a problem scalable and marketable; exposure to how technology, arts and economics could culminate and solve problems.
No, there is no time and space for this when all of the archaic content put together by academic enthusiasts needs to be imparted, in order that the ‘syllabus’ gets 'covered' (not uncovered and thrown light upon!).
The curriculum of the 3-4 year course includes so many subjects, with the intent being that one needs a wide lens view of the specialization program. An outcome of this is - shallow learning of a broad range of content regarding applications that might have gone obsolete in the industry.
It is practically impossible for curriculum planners to account for industry changes, every single year, especially for a 3-4 year long course. With that said, there is hardly any room left for reform within the system. Recruiters too have resigned to having to create an industry realignment program for freshers. It is ironical that a student who has undergone a 4-year course is yet to be ‘aligned’ to the industry, if and when recruited. The bachelor is not ready for knighthood, after all!
One of the most appalling aspects of the undergraduate course culture in India is that students do not realize that they have laid their future in the hands of a placement cell. A council of professors invite a specific group of companies over others, on the basis of trivial things such as the number of students that they plan to recruit and their popularity. This council actually gets to decide what kind of opportunities the students would land, with no consideration to the individual interest. But then, what else can we expect of a system that views people of the same age-group as a batch? Worse, most times, colleges deny startups from accessing the talent, as bigger companies, who would recruit in bulk are preferred.
The solution to all of these could begin with a simple re-coinage - replace ‘education’ with ‘learning’. It is widely accepted that ‘education’ is a prep ride, whereas ‘learning’ is lifelong. If the norm is that everyone ‘learns’ on the job, then why the ‘education’ and bachelorhood? Industry exposure can begin much earlier, as early as when in school. At that age, the teen brain in the right environment, is rearing to become an adult and challenge the status quo. Exposure to the work-world can help the learner
Develop various skills - thinking, social, communication, transferable technical skills etc
Develop the attitude to grow and let grow, amongst many others.
Pick a problem to solve and demonstrate knowledge gained thus far
Evaluate experiences and measure effectiveness
Learn to assess the relevance of his/her own interest in the chosen field and thus plan the course of action - which could include taking up pertinent, expert-recommended learning modules and courses
Imagine and synthesize new roles for the self and others in the ever-transient ecosystem
Most importantly, network with experts, experienced professionals and peers who share similar goals and interests.
This when scaffolded with an understanding of learning to learn skills and development of a growth mindset will set the path for curious explorations
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn, Personal Development Guru
It is only too obvious that being a part of the industry would allow for a much better peer group than wheeling through years of under-graduation alongside peers who are equally ill-equipped to handle the professional space. In order to build expertise and stay relevant and sought after, one needs to be a sponge and maintain access to experts.
The Tathastu 2-hour expert interaction modules from Beyond 8 enables just that. An expert is someone who is never content with the status quo. Beyond 8 emulates that very attribute and tries to push boundaries and defy conventions, in order to aid the formation of an ecosystem of lifelong learners, where expertise will be provided and nurtured.