Future of Work and Education

The recent lock-down of the country due to the outbreak of Covid-19 has a few unintended consequences which some may view as the positive takeaway from the crisis.

I am convinced that the very concept and nature of work will change forever in due course, so will the teaching-learning process in education. These changes will be irreversible.

Let us take the case of work. Now that people have experimented with 'work at home' (which in itself is not a totally new concept) and benefited from savings in time and money and have 'enjoyed' the flexibility of working in the comforts of one's own environs, why would they not prefer to continue the same even after the lock-down period?

Why would the companies also like that due to the potential savings in cost of providing infrastructure and facilities? Why would would it not be more appropriate in a world of the 'gig' economy? Why should companies carry the people on their permanent roles and incur additional costs towards terminal benefits and post-retirement compensation? Will it not be more sensible for people to choose what, when, and how to 'do' work and do what they are truly passionate about? Will people not like acquiring skills that they would truly like to acquire and use those skills in the most optimal ways that they would want to?

In education too, the teachers will need to learn newer modes of course delivery and newer ways of engaging the learners in the learning process. Is it unrealistic, then, to visualise a situation when a 'course' would not be a complete whole, but sum total of its small parts? Would it not mean that teachers are likely to turn truly into facilitators and mentors by force of compulsion? Of course, we need to recognise that all these changes will only happen on the foundations of advancements in technology.

We need to accept that technology will increasingly occupy a preeminent space in our already crowded work space and education space. Let us hope that the best emerges...

by Prof S Balasubramanian