Change is the law of nature and the latest technological advancements have influenced all walks of life. Transformation occurs rapidly and we should all update our skills regularly to be able to handle day-to-day activities in our jobs. Today, everyone must have a basic understanding of the latest technology. We should all know how it affects various activities so that we can adapt and use these technologies for better decision-making and increasing productivity. Artificial Intelligence, along with other emerging technologies, will play a key role in the future and will eventually replace many existing jobs with new ones. To address this issue all higher educational institutions across the world have the responsibility of sensitize and train students on the emerging technologies that will disrupt the way organizations are going to perform in the future.
In addition to technological skills, we have to train students on how to handle uncertainty and manage risks of the future. The concept of happiness, and how to be happy with an ethical bent of mind, is essential. The need of the hour is for students to be taught about the importance of mindfulness. There are many definitions given by researchers for mindfulness. According to Epstein (2003) “mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, to one’s thoughts, feelings and judgments… it is the practice of being fully present in our attention to where we are, what we are doing and what is happening at the moment”. Mindfulness comprises of three components namely conscientiousness which focusses on here and how (Dane 2011), the mind is focused on “here and now” what it focused on includes internal and external stimuli in equal measure (Brown & Rayan, 2003, Dane 2011: Glomb et al., 2011) and open acceptance of experiences, “without imposing judgments, memories or other self-relevant cognitive manipulations on them” (Glomb et al., 2011).
All higher educational institutions should have at least one course on emerging technologies and other courses on developing core life skills and happiness. In the latter, students should be trained on the importance of goal setting, maintaining good interpersonal skills, the importance of sustainability, having an ethical bent of mind. Further focus should be placed on mindfulness in not only taking decisions correctly and managing emotions but also gaining satisfaction with life (Pradhan & Ajithkumar, 2019). Students who have a good grasp of core life skills and have a good understanding of happiness will be successful in their careers. These skills will help students to handle uncertainty and risks in the workplace in this COVID era.
The current pandemic has made all of us realize the importance of focusing on the health and wellbeing of all stakeholders in an organization and this should be part of core life skills. These skills should be developed by activities and experiential learning by giving projects, playing simulations etc. so that students are engaged. This, in turn, will help them to develop and apply these skills in future contexts.
Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology, 84(4), 822.
Dane, E. (2011). Paying attention to mindfulness and its effects on task performance in the workplace. Journal of management, 37(4), 997-1018.
Epstein, R. M. (2003). Mindful practice in action (II): Cultivating habits of mind. Families, Systems, & Health, 21(1), 11.
Glomb, T. M., Duffy, M. K., Bono, J. E., & Yang, T. (2011). Mindfulness at work. In Research in personnel and human resources management. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Pradhan, S., & Ajithkumar, V. V. (2019). A Study of the Effect of Vipassana Meditation Practices on Employees' Satisfaction with Life. International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management, 5(3-4), 481-499.
Professor Ajith Kumar V.V is the sitting Vice-Chancellor of Skyline University Nigeria (SUN) . He has completed his PhD in the area of Human Resource Management from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
You can join the conversation on Facebook @SkylineUniversityNG and on Twitter @SkylineUNigeria