A Lesson to Learn from the Pandemic: A Sustainable Future for Present and Future Generations

Dr. D.M.A KulasooriyaDirector General of the National Institute of Business Management (NIBM)

Experienced Corporate Trainer, Dr. Kulasooriya holds a Bachelor of Agric Science Degree from the University of Peradeniya and a Masters in Science in Management from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. He gained his postgraduate training in Management from the Postgraduate Institute of Management and a PhD in Lean Management from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), India. He has also obtained numerous professional qualifications in Quality Assurance, Marketing and Productivity Management from the Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Pakistan and India. Dr. Kulasooriya is a pioneer of Productivity and Operations Management in the country, and has initiated, among other things, the introduction and implementation of the Six Sigma System and the Lean Manufacturing Certification in Sri Lanka. Dr. Kulasooriya joined NIBM as a Consultant in 2001 and was appointed the Director General in March 2017. Before joining NIBM, he served in several professional institutions for more than 12 years. A design thinker, Dr. Kulasooriya is certified in Six Sigma Black Belt – the professional qualification in quality management.  

Speaking of the makings of a successful Corporate Trainer, Dr. Kulasooriya stated, “I personally believe that the following characteristics define the success of Corporate Trainers – un-learning designing and being multi-skilled.  

The Director General voiced his thoughts on the impact of the ongoing pandemic upon the Education industry and NIBM’s way forward as follows,

COVID-19, a ruthless killer of human power has mercilessly challenged the social lives and relationships of people, having physically distanced us from each other, so that we begin to feel the value of relationships. COVID -19 defines the distance to be maintained between people. The hidden forces of the universe are commanding us to stay apart. The Earth is begging us to support its rebuilding process, which has been disturbed due to unprecedented human activities and greed. In fact, COVID-19 demands that we imagine and rebuild a better world for the next generation. 

Sustainable Technology-Based Solutions for Education Industry

Most of us once believed that machines could never overpower humans, as it is always a human who designs and creates any machine. It is a well-accepted fact that a human programmer cannot implement human intelligence and consciousness, it forms itself. 

COVID -19 has forced us apart, but technology keeps us connected even during a crisis, and helps people maintain relationships via social media and the Internet of Things. Online businesses and personal communications are widely used to ensure the smooth functioning of day-to-day life. This is true for the Education industry as well. All globally recognized universities turned to online platforms in order to engage with their students during the pandemic. It was found that technology breaks all authority levels both vertically and horizontally. It creates a fully-fledged network among all of us and new value chains are created at the expense of real humanity. The pertinent question that we should ask ourselves is – What if the same situation continues with new generations by distancing people at social and physical levels?

Over-Managed Business Enterprises 

COVID-19 made it clear that many business enterprises can be managed with a simple set of technology-based management tools at a much lower cost than usual, and with the same level of operations. Hence, COVID-19 has forced us to re-think and re-design the structure of the organization with clearly defined new roles to be played by the employees and management. It is high time CEOs re-designed their businesses and value chains so that a more sustainable business environment can be created for the benefit of all stakeholders.  

A Healthy Sustainable Lifestyle 

The idea of living a sustainable lifestyle is about living in a manner that promotes a healthy body and mind, while also supporting the health of the planet for the benefit of the current and future generations. COVID -19 is currently teaching us a great lesson in maintaining a sustainable lifestyle without damaging the environment. The planet is begging all of us to give it a rest and to adopt a sustainable lifestyle by reducing the pollution and overconsumption of its natural resources.  Hence, it is time to tame ourselves and to follow the rules defined by COVID -19. This is vital. First, in order to survive the killer coronavirus and then to make a better world for the next generations.

NIBM Powers-up with the New Breed 

With the experience of COVID -19, NIBM redesigned its business and academic processes to support its learners in the post-COVID era.  NIBM set up its Digital Campus to reach out to its students using the LMS and it was a great success during the pandemic. NIBM is now in the process of upgrading its teaching technology so that blended learning and the total online learning quality is on par with world-class standards. NIBM has set up its virtual campus so that all learners at NIBM can access its all-educational tools, be they online or offline. 

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