Experience level: 
Intermediate
Intended Audience: 
All
Speaker(s): 
Sebastian Wenisch
Authors: 
Dr. S. Maria Wenisch, Dr. A. Xavier Raj

A STUDY OF JESUIT HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN INDIA TO FIND EVIDENCES FOR RELEVANCE OF IGNATIAN PEDAGOGY FOR INNOVATION, SUSTAINABILITY AND WELL BEING

Energy intensive, technology driven, extractive process and expanding consumer base adversely impacted environment. Business, society, or governments are increasingly coming to terms with not only sustainability but the very existence or continuity of organisations or planet. Though Initiated by environmentalists, and governments conceding reluctantly the unfolding environmental concerns (in 1970s), business continues to treat sustainability as a peripheral issue. Educational institutions often responding to industrial demands are left out in this narrative as their focus remains on mass productions of specialists, with least focus on tackling changes induced by sustainability concerns. In the last 100 years higher education has undergone very little changes in terms of pedagogy. Narrow specialisations made education a simplistic, yet a complex delivery process, relying on primitive model of knowledge transfer. This has created three challenges for learners: employability, ability to innovate and capacity to adapt. Business coming to grips with requirement of adapting or innovating to sustain their relevance are setting up parallel training mechanism. Multi-disciplinary perspective, holistic approach, creativity, flexibility, collaborative attitude, empathy to others, relativism, diversity, respect for finite access to common resources, nimbleness, consistency and frugality are the attributes that have assumed prominence. Unfolding crisis is both a risk as well as an opportunity impelling organisations towards innovation for sustainability. Therefore, education institutions need to innovate curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation mechanism. Academic institutions being incumbent regulated by rigid rules, statuesque mind set of teachers, administration mired in bureaucracy, and the need to excel demonstrated through marks for jobs / placement face tremendous challenges in adapting to changing business / industry / society / environment requirements. It is in this context many are looking for or experimenting with alternative options for training such as multi-disciplinary education, problem based learning, apprenticeship, modular options with an emphasis on skill set for innovation, adaptability, and ongoing learning. A successful Jesuit education should have resulted in radical transformation in how one thinks, acts and lives seeking greater good making difference in quality of life, specifically for all beings challenged by anthropogenic extractive exploitative consumeristic living. It is a faith, belief and world view of fearless action which is just expressing competence, conscience, compassion and collaboration. These traits are essential for innovating ways to sustain people, planet or prosperity. This paper examines common underlying process of innovation, sustainability and Ignatian pedagogy. Evidence shall be gathered from Jesuit higher educational institutions in India to understand three questions: Extent of Ignatian Pedagogy reflected in teachers’ awareness, pedagogy, evaluation, challenges and skill sets transferred; How Alumni could utilise perspective, skill sets and knowledge for innovation, running businesses, and entrepreneurship; Business perspective of relevance of students’ knowledge, skills sets, and approach relevant for effective engagement. The findings will explore elements of context, experience, reflection, relativism, discovery, action, and evaluation central to and common across Ignatian, innovation and sustainability. These insights will help adopting these attributes widely in teaching, business, society, economy and governance. The emphasis will be on relevance of these in integrating into existing pedagogy, curriculum and evaluation in educational institutions.