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(This interesting post  includes the template of a proposal  for introducing telework in your workplace. The proposal comprises an in-depth research, so please… read it)

Tomorrow I have a meeting with the Principal of the college in which I work. I am trying to promote the introduction of a telework policy. As a sort of IT geek (although a very useless geek, I have to say), I have always felt that I have the moral responsibility of employing the existing technologies in order to make possible more sustainable and rational ways of living and working.

Our work organization, understood as the way in which work is organized and managed in modern societies, is absolutely artificial and irrational. Work procedures and methods are still a legacy from the Industrial Revolution age. Work and leisure life are detached and disconnected, and there is alienation in this rigidity. Work should be measured and organized in terms of results and achievements, and not in terms of working hours (in addition, it is estimated that 3o% of our meaningful “office hours” are wasted in unnecessary meetings and constant interruptions).

Now the technology is ready, and telework is a reality which more and more organization adopting all over the world, and it is our responsibility to fight for its introduction in Scotland. It is a mammoth task, I know, as we have to demolish a wall of old fashioned prejudices but I believe that it is better to try it and generate debate than not to try anything. As I stated in my proposal, if we were allowed to telework, at least one day at week, we could reduce an average of 1280 C02 emission weight per year.

Evidence shows that the main hindrance for introducing a telework policy in an FE organization is the resistance to changes in the corporate culture. Telework is a paradigm shift in the cultural patterns of many managers. It represents an evolution from the rigid conception of education inherited from the Victorian Age –in which students “had to go to college” and employees “had to go to work”- to a more egalitarian and sustainable way of living and learning –in which lecturers guide students through their learning journey. By removing the barriers between “home” and “work”, ”leisure” and “duty”, telework contributes to create a learning culture.

If there is a component of trust and integrity in the relationships between managers and employees at Carnegie College, if employees are motivated in their work, they would not “slack off” when working from home and management could be measured in terms of results and project executions rather than number of working hours.

Perhaps the best way of concluding why Carnegie College should consider a telework policy is quoting a sentence from Fraser McLeish in his proposal “How to Introduce Teleworking in an University Context”:

What’s important is that we provide help in ways that makes it easier for people to change and develop, not in ways that seek to protect them from change

Finally, I attach my full proposal if you want to read it. You are free to use it as a template in order to champion the introduction of telework wherever you are based.

telework-proposal_template1

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Some people have asked me why I don´t write in English more often. The truth is that I don´t have much time for my blog now that I am a responsable member of the community again, (am I?) so, when I have some spare time, I rather write in Spanish.

I would like, however, to please those who have asked me about that with this post in English. It is based on the final dissertation I wrote for my PGCE at the University of Plymouth, UK, about a different model for education (yes: I said for and not “of”)

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The great Indian educationist and philosopher J. Krinamurti

First of all, my experience of the British educational system is that it is failing as a whole (both FE, HE and all the posible combinations you can make with “E” and another letters from the alfabet).

Our students are not taught to develop a critical mind and to question the world they are living. They are “imbued” with bodies of knowledge, sets of principles, rules, procedures… and force, like horses in a restless race, to pass tests, GSCE exams, A levels, degrees… Competition is the key word in a more an more dehumanized educational system, where teachers themselves have very little to say, since the moment that decisions come from management positions, with limited contact with the reality of classrooms.

But teachers are not the ones to blame. British teachers are often underpaid and overloaded with extra burocratic work. The teaching profession is losing professional status in the UK.

 

There is, however, another way of understanding education, a way that defies the so praised educational theories of our Western universitites and that some alternative educational movements have successfully implemented.

My first model for an alternative education is Ghadi´s own view for a new educational system in India, known as “Nai Talim” (New Education).

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Ghandi rejected the British education that, according to him, had made young Indians mere imitators. For Gandhi, education should not be alien to the culture of the society that aims to educate. This is an interested point if we consider how keenly British educationalists adopt American trends in education. Nai Talim is described by Ghandi “as a beautiful blend” of craft, art, health and education. Students are not trained for fulfilling employment’s criteria, but to serve society with their “art of living”. For that purpose, according to their natural inclinations, students are guided to develop skills in:

· Crafts, which comprises handicraft, industry and manual labour.

· Art, equivalent to the Western “humanities”.

· Health, comprising both the Western medicine and the Ayurvedic tradition.

Mahatma Ghandi In Ghandi´s system, manual labour is as relevant as intellectual work. “Our children should not be taught as to despise labour “, wrote Ghandi. He removed the distinction between training for manual work and teaching for ruling positions. Indeed, he encouraged all students, no matter the academic disciplines, to do manual work.

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