Where are true leaders made? Could leaders be shaped in classes through a curriculum? If yes, at what age and point is this intervention necessary? When institutions themselves practice unethical behaviour, could they promote ethical leadership among their students?
These were some of the talking points that a panel of eminent educationists and industrialists pondered over at the ThinkEdu conclave here on Friday, churning out a divided verdict. But all of them, without exception, stressed on the need for promoting leadership and ethics at the institutional level. Chairing the panel, IIM-Kozhikode Director Debashis Chatterjee said the topic, which questions whether institutions teach ethics or leadership, has an underlying assumption that the two could be taught in classrooms. “By covering a syllabus, you certainly do not discover a leader. Leadership has to be discovered... in the field of practice,” he said.
Gowri Ishawaran, CEO of Global Education and Leadership Foundation, said that whenever there is a talk about teaching leadership, there is invariably an overemphasis on such inculcation at the higher education level. This is inherently flawed as any successful intervention has to be made early in life at the primary education level rather than in colleges.
VIT University Chancellor G Viswanathan pointed out that his institution has been one of the few exceptions which has ethics as a compulsory subject. He added that syllabus at government institutions hardly make a mention of ethics, which needs to be remedied immediately.
Chairman and MD of CavinKare C K Ranganathan laid stress on the role of employers in improving leadership in the market. Employers could promote leadership if a premium is added to talent with leadership qualities, he said.