By Benjamin Juru
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a class on the Harvard campus, and what an experience it was.
Attending the classes was quite eye-opening, and it made me realise that we have an opportunity to profoundly improve our higher and tertiary education. There are a few ways in which we can learn from the world’s top institutions.
First, course content. I believe our course content should be updated. We could include case studies of successful companies, for example learning what made Econet Wireless, Delta Corporation and others so successful. These cases can be packaged in academic formats. What is stopping our professors from writing more academic papers on our successful businesses and entrepreneurs so that these can be used as course content?
Second, our classes shouldn’t be boring. This is the modern age. Lecturers should be able to bring in industry experts in class to lead different sessions. I could imagine, for example, advertising executive Charles Mutemera leading a session on the art of client and agency relationships in building a successful brand, sharing his company Dicomm’s experience in working with Econet. Who wouldn’t love that?
Third, the lecturers. How can we get industry leaders like Schweppes CEO Charles Msipa and Lance Mambondiani, CEO of BancABC, and many other executives, to take more MBA classes? They have successfully demonstrated the art of successful corporate leadership, and I can imagine them teaching at UZ, NUST and other institutions. What an experience that would be.
Number four is the need for collaboration. Our education needs to change. The idea of only sitting in a three-hour lecture just to pass is now outdated. How can our curriculum promote collaboration only through group work, group activities and in-class participation? In the end, we produce graduates in cramming who lack the academic grounding necessary for them to succeed in the corporate environment. It is no surprise that corporates are always complaining about the quality of graduates being churned out.
We have many notable, modern examples of enterprises whose stories we can convert into engaging course content for academic study. Apart from Delta or Econet, we have Yanaya, Cimas, Nyaradzo, EcoCash, Fresh In A Box, Innscor and many others. It is time we took a fresh look at our lecture rooms.
Benjamin T Juru is a digital evangelist who is passionate about building brands in the digital era. He is currently furthering his studies in digital marketing at Harvard University. Follow him on Twitter: @benjiejuru