A SWARNI Foundation Initiative

Sector: Area: Target Audience: Initiator: Education Reforms in High School Education Curriculum High Schools of Andhra Pradesh Veera Karthik Gonagundla President – SWARNI Foundation Anantapur 21/323, Vukkalam Street, Old Town, Anantapur 08554-237982; +91-7569952820 (Andhra Pradesh) +91-7259694925 (Karnataka)

Contact Details: Ph: M:

Executive Summary

advaita: ‘Advaita’, which means non-duality or unparalleled recognition leading to liberation, is a
SWARNI Foundation initiative, to propose unparalleled Reforms in the High School Education System. The Challenge: Today’s environment has undergone a drastic shift with the advent of globalization, new paradigms of business, unexampled means of communications, unprecedented types of relationships and ITled transformations. But the high school education, which lays the foundation for the rest of the life of a student, is not transformed to keep the education in tune with the demands of the current professional lifestyle. Years of High School Education has not become the integral part of the current Business Context. Today’s young professionals in various industries suffer from the syndrome of trained incapacity. The current Education system doesn’t have a robust component to capture the practical, emotional, spiritual, value-based and ethical aspects which are strongly believed to be the cornerstones for leadership and good management. Core competencies and attributes such as team management skills, creativity, communication skills, adventure learning, Optimism, Money management, decision making, Self awareness, Constructive Discontent, Risk Taking, Contribution-centric, Conflict Management Skills, Tolerance of Ambiguity etc are given inadequate attention in the High School Education. Talent plays a critical role in the development and prosperity of a nation. But the talent nurtured in the High School Education in State schools is not sufficient for an individual to be able to compete with the Specially-schooled competitors (Students of International School) and survive in the professional work life. Our Solution: Suggest to design and develop the High school curriculum in a manner that it inculcates various skills into the High School students, the skills more relevant to the needs of an individual in the current and future work life. SWARNI Foundation has researched rigorously and has come up with a wellcataloged three-dimensional breakthrough: PIE-Model, in which PIE stands for each of the following dimensions: 1. Personal Orientation, 2. Interpersonal Orientation and 3. Execution Orientation This paper documents many skills, habits and attitudes in each of the dimension to be learnt and practiced. Our vision: To keep the High School Education Curriculum useful and more relevant to the demands of the current and future work life and to provide an individual with the required tool kit as per his aspirations.

Project Report Introduction: According to Goldman Sachs report, it is expected that while US will be short of 17
million people, China by 10 million, Japan by 9 million and so on, India will have a surplus of 47 million working people in 2020. But, owing to the current skill sets of the current students, will all these millions of people be employable or be the prime contributors to the nation? And according to CIA World Fact book, and Indexmundi.com, the working-age population is around 51.4 Crores (42% of 1.2 Billion) in India and it is around 6 crores (51% of 12 Crores) in Japan. But surprisingly, the GDP of India is only $5.3 trillion while that of Japan is around $4.0 trillion. This shows that on an average the individual contribution in India is far below that of other countries like Japan. There are many factors responsible for this difference, but the major factor contributing to this is poor management of Human resources in India. An individual’s skill set or perspective on life is not in sync with the corporate or global demands. On an average, the Japanese spend around 11 hours a day on productive tasks. But an Indian spends only 5.5 hours a day and with lesser efficiency. Adding to these stats, much of the talented workforce is being migrated to other developed nations for the past few years. And the result is that only the less developed or under-developed workforce remains in India worsening the situation of the country further. UNESCO states that the role of education is to enable people in learning to learn, learning to do and learning to be. But the current education system doesn’t teach the art of learning. System is so rigid that an individual doesn’t learn to apply the theoretical aspects of his education in the practical scenarios. And the current system is not in sync with what one needs to learn to live. So, with this kind of an education system, will UNESCO be able to achieve its mission on our land? With all these facts aside, current workforce is facing innumerable issues in the day-to-day work life. The issues range from passive and local mindsets to unrealistic aspirations, poor communication to poor diversity management and from lack of potential to debauched lifestyles. Today’s environment has undergone a drastic shift with the advent of globalization, new paradigms of business, unexampled means of communications, unprecedented types of relationships and IT-led transformations. But the high school education, which lays the foundation for the rest of the life of a student, is not transformed to keep the education in tune with the demands of the current professional lifestyle, leading an individual to face the impact of lacking needed competencies. There is an unbelievable crisis of competencies possessed by an individual in the contemporary Business World. The paucity of these competencies becomes critical when viewed in the framework of the huge challenges and available opportunities for India. Even the Goldman Sachs Report (1999) projected that India has the most rapid growth potential among the BRIC countries. However, the report suggests that India will have to take drastic steps to develop relevant skills in the individuals. With the current level of skill set, attitudes and personalities, future generations will face with the overwhelming challenge of operating in the complex environment generated by the pace and scale of change and the need to move seamlessly across different situations, cultures as well as interact with different kinds of people.

Immediate Challenge: The immediate challenge that the High school students would face immediately after their schooling in the next few years is the competition with specially-schooled students. There are many special schools such as International Schools, Talent Schools and many residential schools with extraordinary curriculum for the students’ overall development. These schools are now extremely prolific in cities and a few towns. Because of these schools’ curriculum the students of these schools possess most of the skills that they would require to succeed at every step of life. These students learn the need for risk taking, art of entrepreneurial thinking, beauty of arts and developing hobbies, necessity of English, etc. These students with such a skill set would excel in every arena limiting the scope for students from normal State board or Government schools. This would only widen the gap between the students of normal schools and those of special-schools, enabling only one group to take up the reins of most successful positions in the world. Hence, the talent nurtured in the High School Education in State schools is not sufficient for an individual to be able to compete with the Specially-schooled competitors (Students of International School) and survive in the professional work life.

Solution: “Advaita” – A SWARNI Foundation initiative, is an attempt for schools to re-examine and
re-orient their philosophy of education, pedagogy as well as their curricula to promote high quality education which could be useful and relevant to the individual’s career progress and to shape the Students’ perspectives. SWARNI Foundation understands and believes that High School Education has a tremendous role to play in grooming future business leaders in tune with the requirements thrown up by changes in the context. SWARNI Foundation has researched extensively and has documented the skills that the students would require to learn during the schooling, and that would enable them to be more successful in the path chosen according to their aspirations and dreams. SWARNI Foundation has invented a PIE-model, according to which the skills are categorized: 1. Personal Orientation 2. Interpersonal Orientation and 3. Execution Orientation These competitive capabilities and mindsets emanate from long-term commitment to improve quality of life and high quality of education. The skills/attitudes to be developed under each category are as below: 1. Personal Orientation: a. IQ,EQ,SQ & AQ (Intelligent Quotient, Emotional Quotient, Spiritual Quotient and Adversity Quotient) b. Understanding and Building Vision c. Drive to follow the Dream/Passion d. Intentionality e. Entrepreneurial Mindset and Global Mindset f. Learn Reality g. Human Values h. Passion for Adventure and Risk taking i. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

j. k. l. m. n. o. p. q.

Communication (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Expression & Etiquettes) Reliance, Focus and Commitment Confidence and Optimism Literature and Philosophy Hobbies Clarity of Thought and Continuous learning Maintain Personal Space Money Management

2. Interpersonal Orientation: a. People management b. Diversity Management c. Influencing People and Systems d. Emotional awareness of People e. Constructive Emotional Expression f. Negotiation Skills g. Constructive discontent h. Trust Radius 3. Execution Orientation: a. Opportunity Sensing b. Problem-Solving c. Entrepreneurship d. Creativity e. Intuition f. Prioritization g. Performance Focus h. Willing to Research i. Tolerance of Ambiguity j. Conflict management skills k. Fervor to contribute l. Innovation Management m. Ability to Analyze and Synthesize n. Thinking on your feet o. Impact/Result Oriented Approach p. Flexibility

Under three-dimensional PIE-model, each dimension suggests a few skills or attitudes or habits to develop. Let us understand each of the attributes of all the three dimensions. 1. Personal Orientation: a. IQ,EQ,SQ & AQ (Intelligence Quotient, Emotional Quotient, Spiritual Quotient and Adversity Quotient): IQ: IQ is one’s ability to learn or understand or to deal with. It represents one’s reasoning ability. No
doubt, today’s education helps an individual end up being knowledgeable but not smart. Whereas, IQ measures how smart a person is but not how knowledgeable he is. In this age of Google, knowledge can be obtained at any point in life, in any way, from any available resource. But the smartness, one’s ability to use the knowledge in a way more useful, should be practiced right from the High School. If neglected then, the development cannot be postponed. Schools should cater sufficient time for the

development of core components of IQ: linguistic, mathematical, spatial, logic, pattern recognition, visualization, classification skills and General Knowledge. This can be done by encouraging students to engage in Word Play games, Crosswords, Puzzles, reading, Brain Teasers, sketching and 3D-drawing, building blocks, Mind games, strategy games, Minesweeper, Mastermind, Sudoku, Number exercises, use of Mnemonics, informative TV shows, visualization games, memory games, chess, psychometric tests etc. EQ: Emotional Quotient is measure of one’s emotional maturity. Most often, we are guided by our emotional faculties more than by our intelligence. EQ therefore determines our ability to use our competencies or skills or attitudes or expressions in a more constructive way. It is the ability to recognize and regulate emotions in ourselves and others. Emotional intelligence has a huge role
to play in one’s success. How well you perform in your life and career depends more on EQ than on IQ. One needs EQ to accept certain hard facts in life such as – “Sometimes it is better or important to lose or it is good to accept certain failures for a larger objective you’re trying to achieve”. According to

Howard Gardner, EQ can be developed by developing below skills: Self-awareness: Develops emotional awareness and self-confidence. Self-Regulation: Develops Self-control, Trustworthiness, Conscientiousness and adaptability. Motivation: Develops achievement drive, commitment, initiative and optimism. Empathy: Develops Service orientation, leveraging diversity and understanding others. Social Skills: Develops influence, communication, leadership, conflict management, building bonds, collaboration and cooperation, team capabilities and change catalyst skills. SQ: Today’s education failed in developing the spiritual component of an individual. It is the crucial component for work-life balance. It is a measure of one’s fulfillment in life. If one believes that success comes from happiness, happiness comes from one’s spiritual quotient. Many schools and institutions mistake SQ for a religious orientation. That’s wrong! SQ need not be a religious orientation. It is the understanding of one’s self, the meaning of life and one’s efforts, the reason behind one’s drive for emotions and regulation of expressions of ego. SQ is about pondering

over life’s purpose, thinking of ourselves as an expression of higher reality. More often, it is a way of life because it answers the question “How do I serve others when I myself need so much from others?” The high SQ is the best predictor of happiness, serenity, good self-esteem and harmonious and loving relationships. AQ: Adversity Quotient is one’s ability to prevail in the face of adversity and triumph over it. A person with high Adversity Quotient is a hardy personality who is resilient, self-reliant, with zest for life, and is able to cope with anxieties and risks. Such people have vigorous sense of commitment, control and challenge and tend to react positively to stressful events. In this generation, learning to live with failure is another of those often not realized truths. More often than not, there is enough time to mull over a failure or even lick your wounds. But facing it with grace and bracing yourself for the next set of decisions or actions is what the real world is all about. One needs to realize that learning comes from experience and good learning from bad experience. The best way to improve AQ is by understanding and being conscious of the origin of response to the adversity and improving the control over the response. Practicing to respond to situations consciously improves one’s AQ level. b. Understanding and Building Vision: “It is easy to float on the tide and lose sight of the future” is a
known fact. But what results out of it is living on compromises than on educated choices. Current education doesn’t ensure that students have more clear choices than compromises. One must be clear about what brand one wants to be, at least in the next 3-year rolling map. Because, it’s critical to align our actions with objectives and our objectives with our Vision. Today, one switches from one career path to another as a result of lack of this skill, resulting in wastage of time, money, focus and many other resources. This only begets regret in one’s life, for the uninformed choices or compromises one made. One should be able to take pride in every effort, every decision and every step one takes in life. This pride comes from the belief that whatever one does makes one’s life more meaningful and is making positive difference to the world. If one is not proud of what one is doing, there is a vital piece missing. Pride is not an inheritance or a legacy. It has to be earned. If you have pride in what you do and do it with passion, results are sure to come your way, and you are sure to make your every effort more meaningful and purposeful.

c. Drive to follow the Dream/Passion: Follow your heart, not your wallet. Let your heart decide your
career; but not your wallet. Bring passion to whatever you do. Identify what it is that you enjoy doing (and are good at) and then focus on finding a job that lets you do more passionately. Most of you work about 12 hours a day. So, it’s important to like what you do. Following one’s heart is a bitter pill initially and demands “Gut Feel” and self-confidence though the results in a long term are more promising. This most-inevitable “Gut Feel” is not taught in schools but it is imperative in any situation that calls for solving or managing problems and people, facing the resistance from the world, while following your passion. Even if you are not outstandingly brilliant, but have a hunger to succeed and passion to follow your dream, it makes a lot of difference. Passion cannot be taught – it is inherent. But following passion can be taught in schools by instilling Gut feel and self-confidence. Passion gives you an inspired energy towards realizing your dreams. Following passion causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. Passion lets you do your duties full-heartedly, leading to most desirous results.

d. Self-Awareness: It is the degree to which one is able to notice feelings, label them, and connect to their
source. Enhanced self-awareness leads to increased effectiveness at work. It is a key differentiator between star performers and others. One with self-awareness makes the choices by fully understanding one’s abilities. But unfortunately there are no marks for self-awareness in schools.

e. Intentionality: It is the ability to act deliberately, to do what you mean and mean what you do. It is the
measure of one’s consistency between one’s professional goals, values, and decision making. People with high levels of intentionality are capable of staying focused despite distractions. All their actions are done intentionally without lacking purpose. This quality enables one to perform actions only purposefully, increasing the performance efficiency. It involves managing distractions, awareness of deeply felt motivations and consistently working to make things happen. The powerful attributes these people possess is Integrity, Achievement Orientation, Work Focus, Quality Orientation and Contribution Focus. One, who practices this quality, never takes up any job without any purpose. Thus Intentionality is inevitable in shaping one’s life more meaningful.

f. Entrepreneurial Mindset and Global Mindset: Students need adequate execution mindset, cognitive
capabilities for cultivating Entrepreneurial Orientation, capacity to thinking systematically as well as out of the box, and give fresh perspective to understand a given problem, understand the contextual sensitivity, ability to prepare today for tomorrow, to develop requisite competencies not merely for the present but for the emerging future as well, leading change, to have entrepreneurial orientation, to have dignity of labor, good reality orientation, healthy peer comparisons, to have good appreciation of ground realities, being sensitive to the context, high ambitions and desire to reach top but not in a hurry, the importance of learning and passion to contribute. Hence Entrepreneurial mindset is most essential.

Today’s business, fun & entertainment, information, Social networking and lifestyles are totally global. Then why is education not global? Internationalization of education is indispensable. It enables one with the capacity to think in a global context and have a global mindset. Schools should
start building a strong case for developing a distinctively different mindset and competencies to operate in a global context. g. Learn Reality: To have a holistic world view encompassing perspective of life, society and the globe, one needs to learn reality. But today’s education is provided in the boundaries of a classroom, away from the vagaries of real life situations. Students just pass out with bloated egos, completely unaware of the ground realities. As this package comes in contact with reality, it goes through a range of emotions, starting with denial, wrath, angst, confusion, wonder and finally settles into pragmatism, with bouts of nostalgia and a few clear learning that are far removed from what the rule books preached in schools. Real life is about real people. It involves dealing with diverse personalities, cultural backgrounds and competencies that you do not normally encounter in School. The challenge is thus, compounded year by year and you often see stars of academia unable to deal with this core reality. Students do not know how the skills and learning acquired in schools can be used in situations demanding reality. Schools know that the Workplace is a better teacher. But still schools never encourage students to interact with the industry, understand the ground reality, get the reality check, understand organizational and operational processes and develop real and valid perspectives on life.

h. Human Values: It is essential to understand that IQ and EQ levels alone are not sufficient for success. Human Values are more important for the constructive efforts. Without Human values, the high levels of intelligence will only hamper the nation’s growth, peace and harmony. India has ministers educated from the Ivy-League like Harvard, Wharton etc. But the recently revealed scams are an example of those ministers lacking Human values, in spite of such a high education and mental abilities.
In this cut-throat environment most of us tend to forget two important emotional aspects of life – compassion and the power of long term relationships. People want to use others as steps in their climb to the pinnacle of success. But students have to understand that it’s not about who is first; but, it’s about how people can succeed collectively and strengthen relationships. There is a famous quote to be understood – “God has created people to love and materials to use. But Man perceives material to love and people to use.” One should possess the ability to be exceptionally empathetic, compassionate and honor another person’s feelings and point of view. People perceive good and quite as weak. But you need to understand that India got independence only with these Human Values. One needs to understand that Beliefs and Values powerfully influence one’s attitudes and behavior at work. It’s a potent combination when values are backed by hard work.


Passion for Adventure and Risk taking: It is the ability to step beyond the conventional mode and try
something different, which can be more beneficial. Many of us have role models who succeeded assuming greater risks in life. But we are afraid to follow their path. We don’t dare to take risks. Even schools do not instill an appetite for risk taking. Schools do not teach courage. Schools should enable students to benchmark themselves against their role models. Students’ assignments should be characterized by greater curiosity, open mindedness, sense of adventure, and inquisitiveness. Students should develop the passion for adventure. This gives the strength to defend your risky decisions, which is even more important than the ability to take risks. Only if you challenge yourself, you will grow. Your life will change.


Identify Strengths and Weaknesses: Many students start thinking of their strengths and weaknesses at the end of graduation as an exercise before the corporate recruitment drives. But, had the students understood their strengths and weaknesses well before their pre-university education, they would have made wise decisions at many stages of their life and would have made wise career choices. Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses will enable students to work on the weaknesses right from the beginning and to improve their strengths extremely to the point to excel in the field chosen based on their strengths. Schools should provide an opportunity for introspection to ponder over one’s strengths and weaknesses.

k. Communication (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Expression and Etiquettes): It is the powerful articulation ability and capability to convey the message through multiple media:
telecommunication, written articles, print technology, television, social-networking, movies, plays, presentations, meetings, conferences and proposals through writing, speaking, expression or etiquette. Though India and China has remarkably potential human resources, BPO sector has come to India mostly because of our communication skills being in sync with that of western countries.

Students should also possess the ability to interpret the tacit communication, which is more prevalent in Japanese management in contrast with the western management. One should have the ability to recognize patterns and react appropriately and instinctively to situations based on prior experiences. Schools should devote enough attention to develop different communication skills in students. “Communication Skills” is the widely marketed skill, learning tools for which are profusely available in the market. So, schools should not face any resistance or difficulty in inculcating quality communication skills into the students.


Resilience, Focus and Commitment: Resilience is the tendency to recover from or adjust easily to
misfortune or change. Today, the capacity to recover and bounce back in the face of difficult situations and to retain a sense of curiosity and hopefulness about the future, even in the face of adversity is an essential requirement to deal with tough and unpredictable challenges. Resilience gives you mental and physical adaptability to adversity. Resilience develops commitment which is a combination of attributes like relentless perseverance and tenacity. The commitment gives you the ability to stretch beyond the normal according to the requirements, thus improving the focus. Therefore, we need a high degree of resilience as we go through our career because resilience develops commitment and commitment develops focus, teaching you how to maintain a positive perspective on and deal with the ups and downs of your career. Unfortunately the education doesn’t teach you resilience. Resilience can be taught by enabling student to constructively look back at his failure and derive a lesson out of it, by enabling a student to have a positive outlook, to remain hopeful with less anxiety and be proactive; and by explaining the importance of not giving up.

m. Confidence and Optimism: Confidence and optimism help maintain hope regardless of the
situation. Optimism contributes to better self-management, inspires problem solving, academic achievement, job productivity, and greater health. Any evaluation with optimism will lead to a capacity to step beyond the conventional/an ability to take challenges and meet them. There will be times, when, in spite of your best effort, you fail, or you take the accountability of failures for your friends, family or colleagues. Having the equanimity to handle these failures with the same composure as you handle success is critical. Schools should teach students to unflinchingly believe that tomorrow will be better than today. Schools should follow what the holy book Bhagavad Gita says - “Only the removal of ignorance gives true knowledge and knowledge combined with optimism gives confidence”, to instill confidence in the students.

n. Literature and Philosophy: Every person should be well versed in literature and philosophy; along with
aesthetic sense and artistic temperament. But today’s students don’t get the chance to engage with the arts, philosophy, history, literature, culture, political science etc. Schools should introduce larger component of liberal arts, develop broader awareness and appreciation; recommend autobiographies and biographies of great people; select all-time great films, and use the interaction with great minds as the vehicle to broaden their perspective. Pedagogies like theatre, literature experiential labs and to some extent gaming, also will help them tremendously. Reading autobiographies and biographies plays a crucial part in developing one’s perspective on life. Because, reading about people who made it big is not theory; it’s sort of practical experience. As Will Smith recommends in his inspirational video, reading biographies will let you identify the practical solutions devised by our antecedents for most of the problems that we face today. But today, students in schools only read one or two biographies a year, as a part of curriculum, and grab only the information but not the inspiration.

o. Hobbies: A typical day of a student is not tightly scheduled before hand. So, most of the students find a lot of time every day, which can be used for some productive tasks or for fun. But students are not aware how to utilize the spare time available. Rather, students get easily attracted to many distractions and addictions like watching unproductive movies and TV shows, spending time on gossiping, or sleeping. This makes the brains more lazy, uncreative and useless.
We need to lose our bad habits or lazy ways that hold us back and clutter our minds. So the best way is to develop some good hobbies. Hobbies can lead to developing creative and artistic pursuits, acquiring substantial skill, knowledge and experience. Developing hobbies will help in regulating the energy levels frequently and help from being stressed out with loads of work. Schools should monitor and encourage the hobbies that the students develop over the time. Unsurprisingly, Chess and reading books are the only hobbies that 95% of graduates in India say. But surprisingly, they are not sincere in stating so.

p. Clarity of Thought and Continuous learning: Thinking through clearly and focusing on a singular
objective is the most important ingredient for achieving results. Clarity of thought can be practiced by paying attention to the path, not just the end result, sticking to one goal at a time, lateral thinking, concentrating one point at a time, translating the mental thought to written statements and putting forward for analysis. Focus and concentration is primary for developing the clarity of thought. So one needs to practice various techniques for developing focus and concentration. Continuous learning is essential to have a periodic reflection of what students are doing and also to initiate continuous quest for excellence. Students should have the ability to learn as they grow and also to unlearn what they have learnt. Zest for continuous learning and an open mind in the early years of your career lays a strong foundation to future success.

q. Maintain Personal Space: Many a times students need to be provided opportunities to understand
their emotive and inner psychic space. When emotive power is not developed, it remains as the dark continent of the human psyche leading to lack of regulation and utilization of the creative energies. Sometimes, distance from the circle of concern gives students the space and freedom to think and plan out fresh ideas. In such cases students should be taught the techniques to maintain personal space even while staying with their people around.

r. Money Management: With the growth of entertainment industry and internet, students get a lot of scope to display their prodigality. Schools should start a course on money management. Students should be made to practice calculating and balancing receipts and expenditure, which makes them aware of amount and kind of expenses they make. They should also be guided on how to spend money wisely. Money management need not encourage frugality. Not expending for necessities contributes as much as unnecessary expenditures do to lack of money management skills.

2. Interpersonal Orientation: a. People management: People Management is not a single skill but is a mix of many skills. To have a high score on people management, one needs the ability to initiate a contact, establish relationship, interact, understand needs of others, inspire the team or others to action, lead the team and manage superiors, subordinates and conflicts; work with other team members and put the right team on correctly prioritized goals and letting the team run with it.
You may be brilliant as an individual, but if you can’t be a good leader or a good team player, everyone suffers. The amount of time you spend with people is 60 to 70 percent of your work hours. And it’s a great disadvantage if you don’t know how to deal with people at all levels. Schools should teach students to inspire people to work together and scale new heights of success. It is also imperative to learn how to handle non-performers in your team – a painful process that needs to be tackled sensitively. Only those with good people management skills can handle this more skillfully.

b. Diversity Management: Today’s business is characterized by brutal storm of competitors, seemingly
strange cultures, endless business horizons, confusing marketing channels and unknown frontiers of technology. Seamlessness of marketing and borderlessness of the world is the prevailing pattern today. In such an age of discontinuity, business leaders need to develop alert antenna, build opportunity-sensing mindset and have the courage to go beyond the set rules and frameworks in order to successfully navigate the present. In order to successfully operate in a scenario full of apparently contradictory forces, the business world needs leaders with a capacity to manage diversity. Students should acquire diversity consciousness and sensitivity. Schools should enable students to understand the need for cognitive diversity and integrative ability. Students should be exposed to the fact that they may have to work with people with whom they may not get along, and people with whom they may have to agree or disagree. Understand the famous quote - One is not better than the other; but just different.

c. Influencing People and Systems: To generate any positive change, it is imperative that the systems are influenced. To influence systems, people who maintain the system need to be influenced first. You need to earn your spurs before you ride the horse. Capacity to influence the
thinking of relevant people in one’s own work sphere is inviolable before influencing the systems. To influence people, you need an ability to create and sustain a network of people with whom you are your real and whole self; to whom you can express caring and appreciation; with whom you can share your vulnerabilities and hopes.

d. Emotional awareness of People: It is the ability to hear, to sense or to intuit what other people may be
feeling, from their words, body language, and other cues. The emotional power is critical for connecting with people and influencing them. Emotional awareness of people is the key to maintaining interpersonal relationships. But today, people are neglecting the feelings of their friends, acquaintances, relations, family and colleagues. Especially in the work environments, people get inspired and are willing to stretch themselves when they are touched on the emotional level. The only time when a team member or a colleague at the work place delivers more than a 100% is when he feels positive about his immediate environment. The emotionally satisfied colleagues will surprise you with their entrepreneurial thinking and execution. To get more people with you, it’s important that you give more weight to someone else’ view. Also, managing group emotion is one of the major traits of a leader.

e. Constructive Emotional Expression: The trend of nuclear families, the increasing fragility of marriage
as an institution, the rise in individualism, have only contributed to under development of many aspects of emotional intelligence. Constructive Emotional Expression is the ability to verbalize or express tacitly your emotions in a way that puts the information to productive use. People with high score of constructive emotional expression never find it difficult to understand others, communicate their intentions in a proper way and appreciate someone else’ point of view.

f. Negotiation Skills: It is the capacity to convince, present views, data and facts cogently and get the best
outcomes in a given situation. Not just for a marketing executive who sells merchandise, the negotiation skills are vital for anyone who wants to sell one’s point of view. A good score on negotiation skills will not let you feel that someone is taking advantage of you. Good negotiation skills also shape and keep conscious your conversations and communication and that it ends only in a win-win situation. Schools should focus enough on developing students’ skill on negotiation by engaging them in an activity that uses sufficient negotiation capabilities. There are many books on this topic. Schools can recommend a few and command some exercises and role plays for the students.

g. Constructive discontent: Constructive discontent is the ability to stay calm focused and emotionally
grounded, even in the face of disagreement or conflict and to get the work done responding constructively. Conflicts and disagreement are the realities of everyday life. This is so because this global atmosphere constitutes people with myriad backgrounds, perspectives, attitudes and styles. People with a good score on Constructive discontent can harmonize, synthesize, and effectively channelize their diverse energies towards coherent goal in a positive way. These people have the ability to transform conflict into a creative action. Strikes, work stoppages etc are the results of only destructive discontent. Students should be taught to get the work done in a constructive way and not by destructive manner. It is so disappointing that students of Osmania University and SK University were so much involved in ruinous actions recently. This only indicates that students are not aware of the repercussions of their actions and that they are not aware of techniques to solve a problem in a constructive manner. So, schools should take an initiative in inculcating the understanding of and the need for constructive discontent into the students.

h. Trust Radius: It is the degree to which you expect people to be trustworthy, to treat you fairly and to be
inherently good. It is a radius of believability, safety and compassion. Trust begets trust. Trust is considered an essential ingredient for developing cooperation in groups. It determines one’s circle of influence, which is the prime contributor to one’s overall success. Developing good trust radius will enable students the way to express emotions like sympathy and compassion towards people, keep commitments and promises, act in best interest of others, embrace diversity, present your position and give a perfect feedback based on the situation. Thus, practicing Trust in schools is sacrosanct.

3. Execution Orientation: a. Opportunity Sensing: People say India cannot progress with its huge population. But we believe, if even a part of the population is good at opportunity-sensing, India could be a warehouse of initiatives and innovations making India the leader of all nations. But the problem is with the kind of education we have. Current education is all about minimization of risk, not maximization of
opportunity. The future belongs only to people who see possibilities before they become obvious. And not just the ability to sense the opportunity, but also the speed of execution with the right strategy is vital to the development. If strategy can be devised, lightening speed of response will decide the winner. One should possess the ability to change faster than your competition that keeps you afloat in the corporate world. And Schools should encourage students in sensing opportunities through everyday problems they or their environment faces. This is how the Entrepreneurs are born. Opportunity-sensing is the first best quality an Entrepreneur has.

b. Problem-solving: Today, chaos has become the rule of the game. There are as many facts
supporting a decision as there are against it. And Decision making need not be black and white always; there are plenty of grey areas. You can’t always take a right decision but can practice taking a decision that is almost perfect. You just have to make sure you have a high percentage of right decisions, for which problem-solving skills with the sound analytical focus is essential. Students should be taught to focus on deriving solutions. Students should be taught the most crucial skill, the ability to see simpler patterns in a simple way and complex patterns analytically and then synthesizing solutions to multiple simple patterns into a solution to the overall complex pattern. The ability to involve in problem solving and think laterally will be the needs for the future.

c. Entrepreneurship: An aphorism – A new problem cannot always be solved with the old solutions – is very true in any context. India, the country that faces innumerable issues every day with
its huge population and minimal resources, needs leaders with entrepreneurial zeal, curiosity and enthusiasm to create new routes and new solutions to everyday issues. Practicing to develop entrepreneurial mindset right from the schooling will enable the students to take entrepreneurship as their best choice, and will enable students to move from working for a large company to creating one. Even the large companies need employees with a strong entrepreneurial sense and with an inclination to think like a CEO, gaining functional tools to enable decision making, as most business issues are interrelated and a fair understanding of all areas is critical. It is imperative that every person in the workplace thinks like an entrepreneur. But, the challenge is to inculcate the mindsets into the individuals to interact with business realities and then develop appropriate frameworks. So, schools also should identify the need for entrepreneurship and provide students the constant interaction with the industry. Schools can also simulate small scale work environments on campus. This would give enough confidence and understanding to the students to be an Entrepreneur. India scores very low on Entrepreneurship compared to other countries like US. Indians generate many ideas but do have a fear of failure and lack of execution skills, which hinders entrepreneurship. As Vivekananda says - Thought without action doesn’t have any value; however action without thought has a lesson to learn. Entrepreneurial experience doesn’t go waste. Even most Business schools throughout the world fail in teaching the execution, while the theoretical concepts alone would not help in starting one’s own startup. Experience of execution is very crucial - When I read, I forget, when I see, I remember but when I do I understand.

d. Creativity: It is the ability to tap multiple, non-cognitive resources that allow you to envision powerful
new ideas, frame alternative solutions and find effective, new ways of doing things. Creativity is the production of novel, appropriate ideas in any realm of human activity. Knowledge must first be digested and eventually emerge in the form of fresh new ideas. Creative thinking has been found to be related to a cluster of personality attributes like independence, self-discipline, ambiguity tolerance, perseverance, orientation to risk taking, and relative lack of concern for social approval. Lack of creativity hinders innovation and it is in this context that creativity is considered a key factor for organizational competitiveness. Creativity is the bedrock for managing complexity - Exploring and thinking beyond the known frameworks and arriving at creative solutions to complex problems. Then, why not schools take a leap forward to develop creativity and creative thinking in students when Creativity can be enhanced? e. Intuition: Intuition is the ability to use non-cognitive cues or sixth sense to navigate through potentially overwhelming or conflicting information, derive important insights or sense opportunities. The major attribute of an intuitive person is that he concentrates on the possibilities and is less concerned with details. Intuitive person finds solutions directly without basing them on facts, which is very crucial in turbulent contexts. Intuitive persons are found to be fast and quick decision makers especially under conditions of uncertainty and also when situations did not have clear clues. These are capable of going beyond logic and analysis. There is a strong and powerful association of Intuition with emotion, creativity and innovation, with new learning, improvement of competitiveness, opportunity recognition, improved overall performance and rapid or more efficient decision making. In general, Decision making is more of an intuitive process than an analytical one. The first and clearly noticeable attribute of an intuitive person is his ‘Gut Feel’, which is used more for strategic decision making and which is very crucial for any part of execution. Unfortunately, schools do not emphasize on Gut Feel and strategies to develop intuition. The historical science and Vedic texts have revealed various techniques to improve intuition. Schools can adopt a few as a part of its curriculum to improve the levels of intuition in students. Various texts on Japanese Management System reveal that intuition played a vital role in forming most of their strategic decisions especially post-second world war.

f. Prioritization: It is the ability to organize tasks at hand in terms of relevance and importance as per time
deadlines for delivering timely results. It basically means ‘first things first’. Unlike a decade ago, today students unavoidably have to get engaged with many tasks like, education, skill development, social networking, fun for life, to cope with competition, etc. The day of a student has become so tightly scheduled that he finds very less time or even no time for hobbies or interests or fun or to spend with family. Hence loses the work-life balance right from the adolescents. Therefore students should practise prioritization, which helps them rank their activities and work on them based on the priority assigned.

g. Performance Focus: It is the ability to focus energy on performance while delivering the desired
results. People with high score on performance focus are highly focused on their goals that achieve superior results and outperform expectations. Stephen Covey, in his 7 Habits of Highly effective people says, Begin with the end in mind, but still focus on the path that leads to the end. Students should be given exercises to practice the goal setting and working towards that goal with unperturbed focus. Schools should give students the tasks like becoming an individual contributor to the success of the institution, and then evaluate their focus on the set goals.

h. Willing to Research: Our education mostly focuses on just learning from what others have

researched and found. But never pays attention on how to start a research, how to gather different threads and connect each, how to transform the unknown to the known, how to transform the mystery to science. The role of a scholar is to research and publish and thereby to use
the power of knowledge to improve society. Students would need the research skills at every stage of their life, such as searching for an accommodation in a new place, adapting to the new cultures, progressing on new or creative interests etc. But schools do not pay enough focus on the ways to research and at least on developing the willingness to research. This skill is very important for an entrepreneur who has to work on all different levels relying purely on his own research or for an employee who is expected to work on a tacitly communicated task assigned by his boss.


Tolerance of Ambiguity: It is the ability to create a structure out of the fluidity or ambiguity. It is the
ability to function optimally in a poorly structured fuzzy context/fluid situation. One, lacking TOA, finds it difficult to operate without structure and framework and very difficult to thrive in today’s chaotic and diverse scenario. People with high degree of tolerance for ambiguity do not get anxious or unnerved by such diverse realities and carve out opportunities out of all the problems characterized by uncertainties and ambiguities. Tolerance of Ambiguity assumes importance in a scenario characterized by diversity, complexity and uncertainty. It is equally important where the context is dynamic and change is order of the day. Higher Ambiguity tolerance is indicative of cognitive development and ability to deal with complex ambiguous patterns. It is basically managing the unknown. It is increasingly a way of life. The way people look at and respond to unclear and vague situations, in a threatening manner, leading to avoidance of the situation is called the Intolerance of Ambiguity, lack of tolerance of ambiguity. Intolerance of Ambiguity is the tendency to perceive ambiguous situations as a source of threat. Today’s generation should practice to embrace duality by managing uncertainty, essentially knowing when to act and when to gather more information and balancing tensions, understanding what needs to change and what needs to stay the same. Students should be given the assignments that are more ambiguous but with a direction. Students should be given the tasks that have a clear destination but multiple paths to it. This will enable student to make educated choices to derive the desired results. Tolerance of Ambiguity has been found to correlate with originality. High scores on originality were more comfortable with complexity and uncertainty. Entrepreneurs, compared to managers, are more comfortable with novelty and complexity. Entrepreneurs have been profiled as people with a liking for uncertainty and change. Hence the entrepreneurially inclined have more ambiguity tolerance along with greater innovativeness, higher propensity to take risks, Greater locus of control and higher need for achievement. Therefore practicing TOA will also help a student develop entrepreneurial mindset.


Conflict management skills: Conflict management skills are very essential especially in an unprofessional, conflict-prone environment. It takes the capacity to listen, accommodate and
tolerate contrary viewpoints and also defuse deadlocks between people and within groups. Future belongs to those who can shape the complexity, resolving any conflicts present. Conflict management skills will also help develop a peaceful and amicable atmosphere. It develops the strength of relationships, cooperativeness, synergy etc. With the high score on this skill, people management would be a cakewalk. Hence, schools should provide a guide for the students to deal with the conflicts in relationships or in deadlock situations in a more constructive manner.

k. Fervor to contribute: Life ambition of current generation seems to be reaching high positions than making contributions to nation building. This is where the Japanese Management differs from that of any other nation. Students should be evolved persons with larger vision, holistic perspective and a
sense of community and responsibility towards society. Schools should encourage students in social activities, understanding the need for and developing sense of contribution to the society. Understand the need to give back to society what you have received from it. This is what inspires the Corporate to engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities. Schools should enable students believe in the philosophy – What you give to the society in turn comes back to you. For instance, providing sustainable livelihoods leads to increasing the earning capacity of the poor. This in turn leads to increased spending power, which then translates into a greater demand for goods and services. Contributing to the improvement of society is a must. After all, successful businesses need successful societies to survive.


Innovation Management: It is the ability to cultivate the innovation mindset, innovate and manage innovations. The demand for anything new: new skills, new products, new markets, new experiences, new fun etc; always exists and it becomes imperative for an individual to have a mindset well capable of managing innovation to come up with something new. Because, standing
still is akin to moving backwards because competitors constantly strive to move forward. Innovation Management skills lets you explore different options and different ways to address an issue or problem, which you wouldn’t probably explore if you think in a structured way. Schools should encourage the students to come up with new concepts. Schools should not make its curriculum, pedagogy or other methodologies rigid, as rigidity kills the innovation. Schools should conduct classes on craft making, 3Dsketching etc which increases one’s visualization skills and develops one’s ability to come up with new concepts.

m. Ability to Analyze and Synthesize: Today’s generation needs ability to both analyze and synthesize. Ability to analyze deals with the breaking down of complex issues into multiple simple issues and deriving a solution for each of the simple issues, while the ability to synthesize deals with combining all the solutions to the simple problems to form a solution to the complex issue, as the issues the generation facing now are of integration of multiple scenarios and aspects.
Real life needs synthesis. Breaking down a problem into smaller pieces (analysis) is a killer skill. But, putting together different points under uncertainty into a single decision (synthesis) is the hardest. For this, one needs to apply logical linear thinking and deductions and develop powerful logical thought processes. The best way for the students to develop the skills to analyze and synthesize is to identify contemporary issues and problems confronted by the immediate environment or in the institution and then do backward integration to work out the relevant inputs and chalk out the design. It is also recommended to provide some exercises on these skills.

n. Thinking on your feet: It is the ability to come up with own quick solutions when required to take
tough calls and hard choices. For instance, when not delegated properly and the directions are unclear, you need to have the ability to achieve goals that have not been clearly defined. This skill comes only on experience but one needs to have a resolved mindset for experience. Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards. Students should be well prepared to take that test and the lesson that follows.

o. Impact/Result Oriented Approach: Most of the times, we mistake our efforts for achievements and
focus on activities rather than results. And we finally end up performing the activities without the desired results. There is a tendency to becoming process-driven rather than being outcome driven. This is what reminds us what Stephen Covey says – ‘Begin with the End in Mind’. Students should practise this right from having a better understanding of what they want out of their education and how it will help them at their work place in future. Also a technique many management books recommend is to be issue-centric rather than concept-centric. The idea is not to denounce the power of concepts but to highlight the need to integrate concepts with issues and problems faced in order to be sure to achieve the desired results.

p. Flexibility: It is a ready capability to adapt to new, different or changing requirements. It is the ability to
shift one’s mindset/stance in response to the changing scenario. Flexibility has been operationalized as the characteristic of being open to new experiences, liking change and variety, and being patient. Flexibility is essential to operate in changing circumstances for managing diversity of people and ideas. A low score indicates – not prone to change, likes a steady pace and well scheduled life, may be stubborn, even rigid. Whereas, a high score indicates person who likes change, variety, easily bored by routine life and everyday experiences, impatient; able to listen, explore, approach more in alignment with the new realities and make the needed changes in perspectives and actions when required. Students who succeed most in their career are those who unlearn the past quickly and move on to adapt to what the future offers.

Documented above are the skills that are imperative for the students of 21st Century in India and that are not given enough focus in the current education system. Hence SWARNI Foundation urges the High Schools to actively take a leap forward to develop the above stated skills in students in order to make them better leaders of tomorrow.

Let’s make the 21st Century the Indian Century.