National Education Policy

Three imperatives for Indian B-schools to revitalise management education

B-schools need to adopt transformational pedagogy so that faculty members are empowered to act as facilitators of learning rather than custodians of knowledge

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The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) has presented a unique opportunity for B-schools in India to revitalise management education which has lost much of its glory during the past decade or so. The mushrooming of B-schools has resulted in higher incidence of incompetence and under-specialisation among management graduates leading to their unemployability in an alarming way. However, the emerging scenario can be upturned if the B-schools in the country make concerted efforts at integrating the core philosophy and holistic intent of NEP 2020. Here are the three things that the Indian B-schools may try in order to make management education relevant for all the stakeholders.

  1. Adopt a multidisciplinary approach: TheNEP 2020document categorically indicates that there would be immense job opportunities for young people with multidisciplinary abilities across sciences, technologies, social sciences and humanities. Most of the B-schools follow a rigid curriculum. Hence it is important that these B-schools revisit their curriculum framework and introduce courses drawn from humanities, social sciences as well as science and technology. Some of the B-schools have already adopted a multidisciplinary approach in management education. For example, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode is the first B-school in the country to have introduced Humanities and Liberal Arts in Management as specialisation in its MBA programme. The Apeejay School of Management offers Indian Ethos & Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability and Community Service as core courses in its flagship PGDM programme. However, a majority of B-schools in the country indeed need to rejig their curricula to include courses on history, culture, philosophy, sociology, politics and governance, theatre, photography, etc. Simultaneously, the B-schools also need to introduce courses on blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence which are reshaping the dynamics of running the businesses across the world.    
  • Espousing Learner-centric Pedagogy: Generally speaking, most of the B-schools and university departments of management have content-heavy curricula and the focus of faculty members is on completing their respective courses. NEP 2020 envisages a teaching-learning process that shifts the focus from content to learning and competency development. Some of the institutions have already pioneered experiential learning. For example, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad organizes Shodh Yatra for the MBA students. The Indian Institute of Management Indore conducts the Himalaya Outbound Programme for the MBA students. There are several other B-schools that conduct rural immersion programmes. However, these one-off events may not suffice. B-schools need to adopt transformational pedagogy so that faculty members are empowered to act as facilitators of learning rather than custodians of knowledge. It is easier said than done. Hence, the B-schools need to organise extensive training programmes on innovative pedagogy. In the existing system, faculty members are recruited on the basis of educational qualifications and research publications. Teaching aptitude is not a criterion for faculty selection in higher education. Hence, it is imperative that the faculty members are provided with rigorous training in pedagogy relevant for competency development among the would-be entrepreneurs, business managers and corporate leaders. Moreover, the B-schools need to offer lucrative fellowships to practising managers who might be interested in a career in teaching in due course.         
  • Augment life-long learning opportunities: Rate of technological innovations has been phenomenal in the last two decades and the trend is likely to continue. As a result, both domain and technical expertise become obsolete faster than one can imagine. Hence, the executives in the corporate world need to upgrade their competencies more frequently. Unfortunately, B-schools are still offering traditional short-term programmes for the executive. Such executive programmes have absolutely lost relevance. The B-schools can look at strengthening their executive education offerings by launching short term courses in blended mode in the emerging areas such as decentralised autonomous organisations, video marketing, carbon finance, neurodiversity, online collaborations, green management, management of digital and remote workers/teams, hybrid project management, social innovation, healthcare entrepreneurship, cryptocurrency, etc.          

The three imperatives may appear quite simple, but their implementation might be challenging. For example, there are regulatory norms regarding number of teaching hours in the two-year MBA/PGDM programmes. Moreover, transformative changes in the curricula will require trade-off in terms of removing some of the traditional courses in order to accommodate liberal arts courses to ensure multidisciplinary nature of MBA programmes. Likewise, sifting focus from content to competency development may necessitate changes in assessment which is currently concentrated on evaluating knowledge through end-term examinations. Some of the leading B-schools including Apeejay School of Management have increased the weightage of continuous assessment to 60%. However, a large number of B-schools are yet to take a call on the issue.            

[Srirang K Jha, PhD, teaches Indian Ethos and Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability and Corporate Strategy at the Apeejay School of Management. He has contributed articles to leading newspapers like Economic Times, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, etc. Besides, he has published more than 50 research papers in national and international journals.]

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