Smart Revolution: The Role of Education in creating Smart People for a Smarter World | Sunday Observer

Smart Revolution: The Role of Education in creating Smart People for a Smarter World

We live in a world led by declining climate, rising world population, depleting world resources, aggravated world poverty, declining natural and knowledge capital and most importantly, human capital. Therefore, to combat these threats, the world urgently needs a drastic change, a revolution to make a better and smarter world. A Smart Revolution is needed to make our world radically different, intelligent,wealthy, livable, morally fair, resilient and sustainable.

On the other hand, the world is challenged by the scarcity of resources to manage its day-to-day activities and combat threats posed to it. The creativity and innovation has come to light in this context. Themes of Smart world, Smart cars, Smart phones and computers, Smart roads, buildings, hospitals, and so the list goes on! Now the world is on the threshold of a stunning ‘Smart’ revolution: one that stands on the shoulders of all innovations preceding it.

The world is managed by humans who have an ultimate call to make the world smart or not, to make it or destroy it. Therefore, development of human capital and knowledge capital comes up on the list of smart revolution, i.e. ‘making Smart people,’ in which otherwise all other strategies would disappear in seconds in the hands of the not so smart / ill-advised people.

If we browse for the top five Smart people in the world you will see, Paul Allen, Christopher Langan, Judit Polgár, Marilyn vos Savant and John H. Sununu high up on the ladder.

These people are highly intelligent and their IQ rates are above 95. So, how about the other leaders who came from nowhere, who have changed the world for the better and created real change: Bill Gates ( Founder-Microsoft ) , Martin Luther King, Jr. (Leader of American Civil Rights Movement) , Nelson Mandela (Leader in the movement against racial discrimination ), Albert Einstein ( Inventor of Theory of Relativity), Mahatma Gandhi (Leader of the peaceful Indian Independence Movement ) Karl Marx (Inventor of Political & Social theory ), Charles Darwin ( Proved the Theory of Evolution ) , Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook) and Larry Page and Sergey Brin ( Google Founders ). Therefore, do Smart people have to be ‘Intelligent’ with a high IQ score? Or do they have to be Smart through other means?

Certainly, education has a great role to play where primary infusion to a person or the capital is by training them or educating them.

Though there isn’t an accepted definition of ‘Smart people’ in the world today, owing to its intangibility and complexity in terms of industry and location, the generic features could be discussed. In a typical Smart person four areas have been identified, namely, having a great set of Smart Values, Making Smart Decisions, having a Smart Personality and creating a Smart Culture.

Having Smart Values indicates a personal trait where the person is bound, restricted by his or her morality and norms of the world and the law (‘rule of law’). In the worst times they will not break their own value set or personal rules, even though they challenge the status-quo in the most humane, environmentally friendly, ethical, professional way for the betterment of the community, and the world as a whole.

These personal traits trail along the life span through family, social and educational influence. Education is a controllable environment where proper values are defined and where other variables mentioned may differ according to the person’s environment.

Therefore, the responsibility lies on the educational environment where every effort should be made to organize a proper social, environmental and professional value set. This should not only be limited to a teaching module of ethics on the areas mentioned but organizing and monitoring the behaviours of respective people to assess that they abide by the Smart Values.

Making Smart Decisions is not as simple as it seems. A decision could make or break a person, a community, country and the world, in seconds. In other words, if a good decision supports creation, a bad one will definitely move towards disruption, destruction and chaos.

Most importantly, whether good or bad, that which sets up a precedence may well be accepted by the country as a norm, changing values. For example, breaking road rules and the following intervention by the law enforcement authority could well build a social norm of good drivers or bad drivers even though you drive a ‘Smart car’.

The approach to make Smart Decisions may be well equipped with knowledge and skills through training and reading, looking out for information and training, (which is still followed by NASA, USA), being always equipped with the latest knowledge (being evidence based), selecting solutions that are more economical, time-saving, effective and unbiased.

The Smart decision-maker would know his or her limitations, use resources in the most effective way and avoid requesting for the Sun and the Moon. They would take collective decisions and not make it a one-man-show.

There is a myth that a Smart Personality is only good looks but it is far beyond that, but rather about looking great. How can a person look great? Being punctual, having an effective communication (to the point), utilizing time to perfection by using it for the development of yourself and the others and striving to do small things in a perfect manner using the sixth sense, which is common sense.

They also should have great etiquette and manners and lead situations by considering the challenges as opportunities. Smart personalities are well informed, know what is happening around them and in the world and have great situational judgment capacities.

There would be no tense moments since the Smart personality would use their energy to think and do good, using that same energy to motivate themselves and the others. One of the cardinal features of this person is perseverance, one who will not give up, but fight till the last breath till he or she attains the goal in hand.

Creating a Smart Culture is to be surrounded with Smart people and training others to become Smart. The positive culture is one where they would “dance in the rain and not wait for the storms to pass” since they will never pass, a culture that values innovation and goes beyond thinking outside the box by breaking the box.

Furthermore, the Smart culture of improving oneself through constructive criticism, allowing room for innovation and creativity and most importantly progression, should be encouraged.

Knowing the four dimensions involved in making smart people leads to a Smart world. The time has come for all professionals to look at the environment around them and set an example by training and educating, first oneself and then the younger generation, to be smart. This will undoubtedly lead to “transforming the landscape of Sri Lanka into a Smart Country”.

By Dr Kithsiri Edirisinghe, CEO and Founder of International Institute of Health Sciences, Sri Lanka’s premium International University Learning Center.

The writer is a Consultant Medical Administrator and an Academic with Certified Master Trainer qualification from Australia. Having visited many leading educational institutes in the world, he possesses a wide range of knowledge in the health and education systems globally. He also has to his credit, many publications on education. To contact the author email [email protected]