India: The Empire(‘s education system) strikes back?

One lasting legacy of the Empire/Commonwealth has been interest, and demand for, ‘a British education’ from countries in the Caribbean, Africa and India.  Whilst Chinese investment in Africa continues to potentially change Europe’s relationship with that continent perhaps the more immediate changes are taking place in India.

I have seen a few pieces of late advocating for Indian education to improve across the board, a number of which called upon historical precedent of fine Indian institutions which existed long before the Raj.  This is, presumably, partly nationalist sentiment coming through but also indicates a growing confidence as the country flexes substantial economic muscle.

It was interesting then to see a call for improvement in Higher Education from the President of India coming in the same month as India’s long discussed opposition to foreign universities setting up bases there coming to an end.  This will be of huge interest, no doubt, to Western universities who have eyed India as a natural base of operations and, thanks to culture, language and other reasons is potentially an easier entry point to this kind of operation than universities have found in setting up campuses elsewhere, such as Nottingham’s Ningbo Campus.

The clause in India’s proposed changes that “a foreign university cannot repatriate money that it makes in India” also goes some way to avoid the criticism leveled within Britain that increased private money in education is simply seeing tax funds sent abroad to the various parent companies, software suppliers, investors, service providers, etc that have become involved in either owning or supporting educational institutions from Free Schools to Higher Education’s expanding private sector.

Sorry, but I will not endorse you (on LinkedIn anyway)

I’ve written previously about my belief in the value of professional profiles, such as those introduced by professional bodies like CILIP, CIPD and LPI.

It was of interest then to see this article on the success of LinkedIn’s current alternative, the ‘Skills & Expertise’ endorsement.  Whilst I would agree that the author is correct in identifying the viral success of endorsements I would not agree they add anything to the platform.

Problems with endorsements include:

  1. You can set your initial long list, and this list can frame the conversation.  I deliberately set lots of skills in my profile, this was basically because I find this kind of approach a little silly.  The advantage of traditional job descriptions is that they force you to concentrate your application on 10-12 areas.  Having your online profile cover lots of items may be more accurate of a skill set but also dilutes the value of any one item by listing all of those other areas.
  2. It is not “fun”, instead notifications of endorsement can become annoying and the implied suggestion that you should endorse back is somewhat, let us say, pushy.
  3. Short phrase categories are of little use.  My profile currently has ‘E-Learning’ as the highest ranked endorsement.  This comes with a few problems, firstly, at one point I had ‘e-Learning’, ‘E-Learning’ and possibly even ‘e-learning’.  I eventually contacted LinkedIn support about how to merge these just to tidy my profile from the endorsements of others.  Secondly, a skill/expertise such as e-Learning is vague beyond use, do I know theory (yes), do I know how to use some related technology (yes) could I build an e-Learning tool from scratch (no).  Even in combination with other fields it remains vague.

So, whilst I appreciate those of you who have taken the time to endorse me I wont be jumping into that never ending pool.