Printer Friendly

Management education for the future a corporation's view point.

VISUAL THE FUTURE

Before I talk about Management Education for the Future, let me try and visualise the future. Not too distant a future, say another 10 years from now. Just as we are about to enter the 21st century. Brave New World! Man may have colonised the Moon, inter planetary travel could become a reality. The division between the Communist East and the Democratic West will have blurred. Led by Japan the nations on the Pacific rim are likely to be mighty economic powers, - countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and further removed, perhaps even India. Trading barriers between developed Nations will be minimal. The gap between the third world and the developed countries will have increased further! Global communication through satellites will be common place and computers will be as much of an essential part of our daily life as perhaps the telephone is today.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR OUR

BUSINESSES?

-- The customers/consumers of our products will be much more aware than they are today. There will be a glut of information available to them about competitive products and services, about prices and availability.

-- Our customers and consumers will have very high expectations. They will demand "Quality" products and services. They will be extremely discerning and the second rate will simply not be acceptable.

-- There will be a very competitive business environment with a consequent rapid pace of change. New products and processes, new technologies and institutions for manufacturing and trading will emerge rapidly and unless the older established businesses keep pace with this fast changing world they will be left far behind, reminiscing about the "good old days".

-- Overall there will be greater control and monitoring of businesses by the Government agencies specially in the context of environment protection, safety and health of workers and the quality of goods and service provided to consumers.

SO WHERE ARE WE TODAY?

No discussion of the future is complete and meaningful unless we have recognised and accepted the present and more importantly unless we have charted the route and assessed the means of journeying from the present to the future. Therefore, before I elaborate on Management Education, and the processes and methods of achieving our desired goals, I must draw attention to the present status of general education in the country.

The feedstock for our future Management are the youngsters who are today receiving "education" in schools and colleges of our country. The finished product cannot be better than the raw material that is used to 'manufacture' it. By what miracle of Alchemy can we hope to transform this material that we have de-based so grossly into pure gold!

If I were to choose one word to describe the present situation, I would use "chaos" or perhaps "disaster"! My intent is not to be the prophet of doom and burden you further into dismay and hopelessness, but to perhaps shock you into action! Is it not a disaster that even after more than four decades of independence we have not been able to decide on a medium of instruction; that we have not been able to produce any worthwhile text books and works of research and reference? Is it not a disaster that our educational standards of performance are significantly lower than ever before, that our educational facilities and administrative capabilities for managing education at all levels have almost completely disintegrated? Is it not a disaster that the status and self worth of our teachers has almost completely eroded. Is it not a fact that the competence and quality of the majority of our teachers is vastly below standards? May I ask how many amongst us today would like their children to adopt the teaching profession in Pakistan? Is it not chaos that prevails in most of our educational institutions? The corruption, the violence, the intolerance, the total lack of ethics, the politicisation and brutalisation of our youth. It is chaotic and disastrous and self-destructive! There appears to be no silver lining at all to these dark storm-clouds that have gathered all around us.

For how long are we going to send our best educated youth to colleges and Universities abroad. For how long can we sustain this brain drain. Let met warn you that most of our youngsters who receive higher and professional educational abroadare sorely tempted to settle there. Of the few who do come back, what welcome awaits them? A society and culture that accepts crookedness and corruption as normal. The innocence and ideals of youth are shattered even before the ink of the entry stamps on their passport has dried! What have they learned in their exalted institutions about professional theory and practices and what can they apply in the Business environment prevailing in Pakistan today.

Our primary and secondary school systems are in a state of utter confusion. A few schools in 2 or 3 major cities are providing education of some standard, while the rest of the schools are churning out semi-literates. Even these schools are atleast contributing a little towards some form of literacy; these schools can be considered to be small islands in a vast surging ocean of illiteracy, which is threatening every day to engulf and drown the fortunate few who have some how managed to become semi-literate. In view of the economic needs of our country, how can we afford to be illiterate. How will be able to absorb the major surge of industrialisation that our country desperately needs. How can we compete with any country in the rapidly industrialising world around us. Forget Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia; even countries which are less industrialiy advanced compared to us today, such as The Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand etc. are fast overtaking us, because firstly they have built up their services infrastructure and secondly, perhaps more importantly, they have poured vast resources into education. Each and all of the countries named above have literacy rates which are better than ours and improving every year.

Take the example of a very simple industry, such as paints production. Even for this basic, simple industry the workers have to literate. They have to be able to count, to undertake simple calculations of addition and subtraction. They have to be able to read in order to understand simple instructions, warning labels and contents of contaienrs. They have to be able to write in order to pass on messages, record instruction and work as members of a team. Is this asking too much!

BACK TO THE BASICS

The reason I am dwelling on this subject of basic education is two-fold. Firstly it is obvious that we cannot have a good superstructure unless we have sound foundations. Thus without an excellent system of basic education we cannot hope to produce students who will go on to become professionals and managers of the future. The second reason is also very fundamental, though perhaps less obvious. Unless we provide basic literacy and skills to our workers we will not be able to compete and exist in the future. Thus there will be very few industries and consequently very few managers to worry about in the future unless we dramatically change the whole educational system and provide enough resources to it. We cannot afford to have 20,000 Nai Roshni schools "established" on paper (without teachers, desks and students) in one year and just as easily scrapped the next year.

What is required is a massive effort to raise the level of literacy along with providing basic marketable skills to the majority of our youngsters. Skills in trades such as carpentry, construction, metal work, electrics, repair and maintenance of cars, appliances, machinery etc. At a very early age students should be streamed. Those who have the required aptitude should be encouraged to pursue higher studies and professional degrees, while those who do not have the required aptitude should be provided options where they can quickly learn trades and skills which are desperately required by the country. Even for those who are pursuing higher studies and professional education, we should be in a position to determine and plan the total demand and supply equation. I wonder how many of you witnessed the shameful spectacle of newly qualified MBBS doctors who were unable to find places for house-jobs in any hospital and who consequently, in order to dramatise their plight, had set up tents and were selling "paloras" in front of the main gates of our two premier teaching hospitals in Karachi!

ARE YOU PART OF THE SOLUTIONS?

The crucial question now before us is, how do we get from this disastrous and chaotic present, to the future that we would like to create for our coming generations? This is a herculean task, however we must not be daunted, for every journey, of even a thousand miles must start with a few first steps.

All the affected groups in this problem should be partners in the solution. The Americans have as usual a very apt saying, "If you are not part of the solution, you must be a part of the problem". Government, Educationists, parents, the Business community and students must get together to frame a comprehensive education policy. This policy should take into account our growing population, the demographic shape of this population explosion, the available and future job market, the infrastructure facilities and resources and the future projections for supply and demand in various sectors of the economy.

The basic thrust of this policy should be in line with the expectations and aspirations of the people concerned. However, it is evident that in any large distribution of population, the majority should receive basic education only and then, if required, appropriate vocational training as skilled workforce. Out of the remaining minority about half should receive professional/commercial education and the balance should receive higher academic training for Scientific/Research/Teaching professions.

A fundamental issue that must be tackled is the ridiculously cheap and subsidised education that is available right from primary through college and professional education. Can we afford this cheap education! Let me quote from John Ruskin:

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The professional recruitment managers have a saying: "If you pay peanuts you will only get monkeys."

The whole Nation is subsidising this cheap State run educational system and in return we are only getting quantity and not even second rate quality. To rub more salt in the wounds of the Tax paying public; not only are we subsidising this huge and worthless education system, we are also, it appears, funding the so euphemistically called "anti-social elements" in these educational institutions.

The present situation is not entirely a picture of despair. There are honourable exceptions which have already made major strides in the search for excellence in the development of Business Management education. I would like to mention the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi as one of these, and the recently established LUMS as another such exception that shine like beacons from a light house.

In this respect it should be noted however, that both these institutions are devoted towards the development of commercial/Marketing professional. Unfortunately, we do not have a single Engineering or Technical University that can claim to have similar standards and reputation. This is indeed a very serious gap as we desperately need to produce good Mechanical, Electrical, and Chemical Engineers for the development of Business and Industry in the country. May be the first priority on our agenda should be to establish a world class Engineering University. The question is what can we, the leaders of Businesses do collectively to bring about this change.

ESSENTIALS OF BASIC EDUCATION

Before we can embark on Management Education, we have to address the issues and problems of not only higher and professional education but also more fundamentally, the crucial issues of primary and secondary education. As you know specialisation is the science of knowing more and more about less and less. However, much before that stage is reached, a broad based education is necessary which in my opinion should have these five core themes:

-- Literact - to be able to read and write adequately in ones own mother tongue and/or preferably in the national language.

-- Numeracy - to be able to count and calculate using simple functions.

-- Health and Hygiene - to understand basic concepts of health and hygiene, including diet, preventive measures and first aid.

-- Scientific concepts - to enable students to understand the basic phenomena of the world around us - the chemistry, the physics, the biology of this world. Without this understanding even simple natural phenomenon like a rainbow appears to be magic! (However, even seemingly well educated people sometime fail to appreciate these basic concepts. Let me share an incident with you. Sometime back, our Personnel Manager and I were interviewing a candidate who had recently qualified in M.Sc. Chemistry with first class honours and a gold medal. We asked him to explain in simple layman terminology the phenomenon of rust. To my amazement he was unable to do so. That of course speaks volumes for our educational system and standards).

-- Religious Studies - To complete my list, the final theme of basic education should include Religion. This is absolutely essential in order to provide a basis for discipline and acceptable norms of social behaviour.

But before I venture further, it may be important to reiterate some of the givens. The State, as you know, has primacy in the field and responsibility of education towards the individuals governed. The private sector can only complement its efforts, not replace it. However, for the last 40 years we have been slowly, but surely, regressing towards an age of darkness. The human mind, un-enlightened, is a terrible waste. May be the government should look at the situation as seriously as I am putting it to you today. Unless concerted action is taken, and steps implemented, to energize the business of education, future generations will always recall our wayward thinking in dooming them to a bleak future. The government may wish to seriously consider:

* Increasing the fees so that education is not virtually free and people value what they pay for.

* The Iqra surcharge should not go to the government treasury, but directly to fund modern education development and provide the resources for investment in the future of the country.

* Increase pay scales of teachers to attract better quality people to the teaching profession. Have teachers training institutions impart modern teaching techniques and non-threatening methods to maximise learning in students. Also initiating new curricula development with input from seasoned professionals.

* Create a merit system of acknowledgement and rewarding for high potential students with scholarships programmes on academic performance to provide incentives to individuals to excel.

* May be, the government could seriously look at other measures to creatively fund this exercise. For example, ban on all political processions and showings of strength which needlessly cost millions. In the same vein, cut back on the assembled multitude of dignitaries and foreign diplomats 'receiving' and 'seeing-off' important political figures at airports etc. Monies saved from cost of petrol of cars, flowers, garlands, red carpets, flags, buntings, expensive receptions etc. could all be foregone for a better tomorrow for our children. One can go on and on about the colossal waste of public money but it would need a separate seminar to discuss such a subject.

-- The government must seriously consider doubling the allocation for Education in the annual budget each year, for the next three years, so that it represents between 5 and 6% of the GNP. Resources of such an order need to be mobilised in order to meet, what I can only term as, a national emergency - more education would also reduce the rate of growth in our population.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FUTURE

MANAGER

Let us however, drag ourselves away from this depressing present scene and force ourselves to confront the future. If we continue to be sucked into this quicksand of despair we shall be paralysed into inaction. Unfortunately, as a Nation, we have developed a very good talent for complaining and finding faults and a correspondingly poor attitude towards self help and positive action, e.g. after the end of this seminar most of us will go home and say "that bloody bore Naseem Mirza did go on and on about a subject which we all know" - or in other words, the syndrome we all suffer from "I am all right Jack"!

Seriously with the earlier described scenario for the future, we must ask ourselves urgently - what sort of Managers will we require to lead our businesses successfully in the future? I believe that the undernoted skills and abilities will be paramount in anybody's recipe for a successful Manager of the 21st century.

* Foremost he must have "Vision", that almost magical quality that only a very few are born with and the rest of us have to struggle to cultivate. The Manager of the future must be able to dream with his eyes open! He must have a clarity of purpose and an unwavering faith in his vision so that he can think strategically and set directions for others to follow. He must be a leader.

-- The manager of the future must have an over powering drive to achieve excellence in all his endeavours; he must not be willing to compromise and settle for the second best. He must establish very high standards of Quality and competitive advantage in all the products, services and functions of his establishment.

-- The manager of the future must combine and temper the two above mentioned qualities with an equally powerful concern for people. A concern for and an empathy with all the people and their environment that his organisations affects: His colleagues and workers, customers and consumers, the middlemen, traders and suppliers. In short any and every one who is affected by the operations of his organisation. This essential quality is not just to please the woolly conscience of solemn "do-gooders" and meddling bureaucratic agencies. I believe that this aspect of empathy with the environment and the people surrounding an organisation will become a critical parameter against which the performance of an organisation will be measured. The sanction to exist and operate will be very quickly withdrawn from an organisation if the people affected by it are convinced of that organisations negative attitude and behaviour towards them or their environment.

-- This list of essential qualities can go on forever, however, I would like to add just one more which I consider to be very important. The manager of the future must be extremely competent in managing change, for this is one thing that we can all predict very safely; the future pace of change will be far greater than what we have experienced so far in our lifetime. Whatever change we have seen in scores and decades, our next generation will experience in years. The successful manager of the future must be able to assess options, manage decision making and take risks on the run. Here he must be able to combine the sometimes divergent qualities of an entrepreneur and an Organisation leader. He must be able to take individual risk and decisions and at the same time be able to manage the organisational change that is required as a result.

By the very nature of the structure of Organisations it is axiomatic that managers have to be trained as specialist first before they can progress on to become generalists. Another self evident principle of Management practice is that managers must be capable of doing practical work themselves before they can develop the ability and confidence of directing others to do it. These two principles of Managerial work should dictate the essential parameters of all Management Education.

SO WHERE DOES ONE START?

I would suggest that we start at the beginning. The 'feed-stock' stage of our future Managers of change. The grounding and training needs to start at the beginning. Through school life to the University and specialisation before becoming a generalist manager in business. The focus in our grand plan needs to be 'cash them young' at the Secondary and High school stage. Introduce them to the subjects of Business, Commerce and concepts of basic Economics, the romance of demand and supply and the task of managing inputs optimally to meet market needs. Issues that are not esoteric, but every day to our life, so that they become a part of their vocabulary and thinking. To effectively move them out of the existing mind set at school that has no relevance to either the life of today or in the 21st century.

HOW ARE WE TO DO THIS?

Pakistan is decidedly in that divide of the world where disparities are diverging and disequilibrium is rampant. Burgeoning population, high birth rates, an old and decrepit educational system, a new affair with elusive democracy, an under financed health system, one of the fastest urban growth rates, a general acceptance of problems overwhelming the resource base and an overall lack of the will to add quality to life. Yet, a population properly supported is an immense natural resource which can be an incomparable source of accomplishment. Poor people without necessities, or hope of attaining them, turn upon themselves or their landscape with distressing results.

Considering this relentless momentum of things awry, indifference cannot be benign Crafting of an accord or a visionary grand plan to reduce these disparities cannot wait for the emergence of a consensus. I believe, it must emerge from a series of what a Japanese economist calls a 'patch work of creative appliques'. In more down to earth terms what we need is a series of measured responses, managed through towards success. Using the initial achievement and through its ripple effect creating a change. A small success here and a small success there, collectively moving towards a full blown phenomenon. Building credibility and creating role models which in turn will make for a positive dynamic change in attitudes, hopes, and aspirations, besides instilling a basic ethic for acquiring knowledge and skill rather than acquisition of degrees on paper.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO US?

It does mean that we need to act in concert. May be to establish a Foundation with the objectives of bringing quality and relevance to education. Fund it, create a locus standii for it. Procure government blessings so that its outputs can be implemented within our schools and college systems. Some of the other initiatives that we may wish to consider for the Education Development Foundation could be:

-- We should collaborate and set up schools, colleges and professional institutions which can be centres of excellence in every major city of Pakistan, and we should work closely with them to determine curricula, teaching processes and standards of performance, both for the teachers as well as the students. The present emphasis on memorising, learning by rote and finally degorging at annual examinations must be replaced by more emphasis on deductive learning i.e. inference from the general theory to the particular phenomena. the ability to think and reason, to discern cause from effect and to derive practical applications from theoretical knowledge is the single most important aspect of education.

-- We should sponsor research and development and provide generous financial assistance to scientists and institutions for this purpose. Teachers of professional institutions must also be encouraged to conduct research and publish papers. Case studies and text books on more relevant/topical situations should be written.

-- We should also provide financial assistance to outstanding and deserving students and higher/professional education.

-- The Business community must be prepared to provide practical on the job experience and training to young professionals during and immediately after their course of study. This in fact should be a compulsory/formal requirement of their qualification process, and students should be assessed and graded for their work and experience during these periods.

-- Joint sessions of career counselling must be undertaken by the educational institutions and the Business community in order to guide and counsel students towards appropriate career choices.

CAN WE DO ALL THIS?

Yes! If we feel strongly about this land and its people. And, if we wish to safeguard their future and ours. It may need a little time devoted to it, but mostly, it needs a collective will amongst the private sector Businesses in Pakistan. For example, take all the companies we represent here today, most probably all of us believe in corporate philanthropy for our own enlightened reasons. Most organisations already earmark funds in the range of 0.1-0.5% of their profits before taxes towards this area of social concern. If we were to resolve here today, that for the next 5 years we are willing to dedicate a predetermined percentage of our individual philanthropic expenditures for the funding of an "Educational Development Foundation" and if we are willing to devote some time to its development, there is no reason why it should not succeed. Surel, if we can run large complex organizations and diverse businesses successfully, we could take a project of this nature and with our collective minds and wills, create the synergy to succeed in establishing a Think Tank on education with excellence for Pakistan.

ICI Pakistan, which I represent, has already undertaken a number of initiatives in support of education. Through scholarships in Pakistan for either residents of a given area, or children of employees. Through support targeted at students through institutions and/or programmes that assist individuals to acquire higher education. Using the same focus and acting collectively, through a forum like the 'Educational Development Foundation', we should be able to make not only positive change but significant change. It is just possible, if we start today we should be able to see the first buds of promise on the three of knowledge in Pakistan within our own life times. I, today on behalf of ICI Pakistan Limited am willing to pledge a full 50% of our philanthropic activities budget towards the support of such a Foundation every year, for the next 5 years. These suggestions are not meant to be exhaustive and comprehensive, however, I have tried to provide a menu listing of measures which, I believe to be important. If I rambled on and on - it is because I passionately believe that a mammoth effort is required - if all of us believe that Pakistan has a great future - if our vision for the year 2000 is that our country will be an Economic Power equal to the countries of the Pacific Rim then we must act now. We have already wasted the last 20 years - the future generation will never forgine us.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Economic and Industrial Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Mirza, Nasim S.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Words:4458
Previous Article:People's programme its possible role for the welfare of masses.
Next Article:Preparing for the 21st Century.
Topics:


Related Articles
Risk management education.
Seizing the future: an imperative for risk management and higher education.
Netscape Implements Saba Software's Education Management System to Manage Its Global Training.
Intermec Introduces the 2101 Universal Office Access Point.
IntraLearn Delivers First Online Learning Management System To Integrate Microsoft Office 2000 and Digital Dashboard For Higher Education and...
Using CPE to Help Maintain Your Financial Skills.
Blackboard and MiCTA/ATAlliance Reach Agreement for e-Learning Products.
Customers Easily Connect Employees, Partners and Suppliers Using Oracle(R) Portal.
Digital Learning Management's Virtual University Appliance Unveiled at the Annual South Bay Economic Forecast Conference.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters