Sunday, December 27, 2020

A case for a systematic implementation of the ‘flipped classroom’ at all levels

Imagine the era that preceded the publication of the first textbook for a given subject.   Teachers would individually devise their own teaching material and exercises, document these in their ‘class notes’ and subsequently deliver their classes.  They would often copy material from their ‘class notes to the blackboard along with relevant illustrations and exercises.  Students would in turn copy some of this material in their notebooks and work on the exercises set.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Dealing with systemic corruption

For years now the country has been struggling to reduce if not eradicate corruption.  Laws like the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002 have been passed.   And yet numerous debates and talk shows later, we still come across alleged corrupt practices some involving hundreds of millions of rupees.  These alleged practices, while potentially enriching a few individuals, also result in a drain of public funds.  Goods and services – often of poorer quality – are purchased using tax-payers money at higher prices than those charged by competing suppliers.  The beneficiaries are often those in power and/or their cronies.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Modernizing our Election System


Introduction
It is generally acknowledged that some of our electoral practices are archaic and that while they served us well in the past, they have now become the source of serious problems. Moreover, they belong to an era which preceded the widespread use of information technology. There is also considerable mistrust in certain quarters about the use of e-voting. And yet transactions worth millions of rupees take place daily over the internet and through Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country. We trust machines counting our bank notes and updating our bank accounts but insist on our votes being manually counted as they have always been.

Lockdown – the way forward?


 Covid-19 is very contagious and dangerous and we need to try our utmost to prevent it from spreading and claiming more lives.  Any death is one too many.  It is also a challenging time for decision-makers because they are being called upon to deal with a complex situation that they were the least prepared to handle.  In this crisis, we are extremely grateful to all those in the frontline who are bravely ensuring the continuity of essential services (health, retail, law and order, etc.) in spite of the risks involved.

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Leadership

Introduction
Leadership experts like Warren Bennis refer to major crises as “crucibles of leadership” – situations that makes it possible for great leadership to emerge. The Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly one such event. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is potentially a turning point in human history – one that we have all been experiencing for the last few weeks. As such, the handling of this crisis will probably become one of the most quoted examples in discussions about leadership in the coming years. There are already articles comparing, for instance, New Zealand’s PM, Jacinda Ardern’s handling of the crisis with Donald Trump’s.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Toxic Management Practices: Impact on Health and Performance


...toxic management practices affect employees at all levels of the organisation. Those at lower levels often feel helpless while those occupying the higher echelons have been conditioned to believe that one has to be thick-skinned to thrive in the corporate sector to the extent of sometimes foregoing all self-respect and dignity.

Student Malpractices


A widespread phenomenon

Last week while walking in Port Louis I saw in a shop window one A-4 sized poster addressed to students of various universities in Mauritius having to write dissertations and assignments.  While it may appear quite innocuous, it set me thinking.  I talked to some younger people around me and they all confirmed knowing people who paid to get their assignments and / or dissertations written for them.  I am also aware that such services are also offered online. 

Should Employers Be Accountable For Employees’ Mental Health?

If someone fractures his ankle while at work, his employer is required by law (OSHA S.85) to formally report the matter to the Director, Occupational Safety and Health.  On the other hand, if someone suffers from complications resulting from excessive work-related stress and is hospitalised for a week, no such reporting is required.  And yet the second scenario is probably more frequent in today’s workplace.

The Leadership Development Challenge

In a recent article, I discussed the implications of confusing leadership with power and how this can be counterproductive in a service / knowledge economy*. In this article, I discuss some of the implications of this confusion of leadership with power and of the lack of clarity regarding what leadership is all about, on leadership development.

Demystifying Leadership

If one asks a random group of people for examples of leaders, the names that are first mentioned are those of key political / historical figures.   This is mainly due to the fact that for many people leadership is often confused with power.

The Disciplinary Committee


Legal Provisions

The Employment Rights Act 2008 states that “no employer shall terminate a worker’s agreement … for reasons related to the workers misconduct, unless (i) he cannot in good faith take any other course of action;

Friday, September 1, 2017

What if our elected representatives were really our employees?


One view which is often expressed in social media is that our elected representatives are our employees probably because they are paid indirectly by us through the various taxes that we all pay.  In this article, I would like to explore the implications of this thinking.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Demographic decline:  the case of Mauritius


Introduction

While explaining systems thinking, experts often give the example of someone in a traditional bathroom with a hot-water and a cold-water tap connected to the shower.  First the water is too cold, he turns the hot water tap and increases the flow of hot water.  The water remains cold.  Unaware of the delay in-built in the system, he turns the hot water tap further and suddenly the water is too hot.  He panics and opens cold-water tap to the maximum …

Leadership and Educational Reforms


1.       Introduction

Considerable time and resources have been invested into the drafting of the Nine-Year Schooling (NYS) project.  This reform, like most others, may be far from perfect.  However, this is not the time to go into the flaws of the reform but to focus on what is required to move successfully forward.  This article argues that leadership development at all levels of the system is a pre-requisite if we are to ensure its effective implementation and thus an optimum return on our investment.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Hidden Costs of Corruption

 Introduction
 Many of us tend to adopt a simplistic view of corruption.  We tend to see corruption as a mere transaction that involves people who illegally enrich themselves by taking bribes or kickbacks and others who pay the bribes voluntarily for some bigger benefits or because they are compelled to do so. 
 Corruption in this case is reduced to a transaction between two parties and third parties (i.e., the public at large) who are not involved in this transaction are often tempted to adopt either of two stands or a combination of both:  (a) they acknowledge the immorality or illegality of the transaction; (b) they are indifferent to it because they are not personally involved.   In any case, they do not think there is much they can do about corruption.
 This article tries to establish that corruption involves more than a simple illegal transaction –  it has a significant long-term pernicious impact on ALL of us.