Karan Khemka

30 March - 1 April

The Education Revolution: A Gift Of The Pandemic?

There is no greater investment you will make in yourself than your education.  A formal education from kindergarten through university often involves 10,000+ hours of instruction and even more hours of self-study (and stress).  And it is worth it. That said – the “unit cost” of education (measured either in the cost of a school education or a university degree) has increased far ahead of real wages for the last 40-50 years which means empirically this is a sector that needs productivity growth and innovation to continue delivering on its promise to society. And then comes the Pandemic and “after decades where nothing happens there are weeks when decades happen” (Lenin).  The same teachers that refused to learn and adopt technology had no choice if they wanted to remain employed.  Parents and students had to adapt or get left behind their peers.  We started a planet-wide experiment in how to learn in news ways.

As the pandemic recedes what treasures does it leave behind in education?  Like shells on the beach as the shallow tide takes back the water.  Will we go back to the old ways?  Is that for the best and if not how do we fight the forces of recidivism in education (typically regulators and teachers) to march forward?

This is the heart of my symposium at SQUARE. Please join me to debate the future of the most important sector of the 21st century.

Karan Khemka is a private equity investor with EMK Capital and a Non-Executive Director at education companies across 5 continents. Prior to this Karan founded the International Education Practice at The Parthenon Group (now EY-Parthenon) which grew to become the largest strategic advisor to the education sector globally the time he resigned in 2017.


Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Open doors - come in!
Karan Khemka's doors are open for conversations with the community.
When: 11:00-12:00
Where: SQUARE, 11-0131
Sign-up: Just come by and say hi!

Open doors - come in!
Karan Khemka's doors are open for conversations with the community.
When: 14:00-16:00
Where: SQUARE, 11-0131
Sign-up: Just come by and say hi!

Karan Khemka

Karan Khemka unplugged is the perfect opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with Karan Khemka in a campfire atmosphere.
When: 19.00-20:30
Where: SQUARE, Lounge, 11-2042
Sign-up: Here.


Thursday, 31 March 2022

Workshop: How to continuously reinvent education @SQUARE
Join Team SQUARE for a Workshop with Karan on how to continuously reinvent education at SQUARE or: how to reach its ambitious goals. We are looking also for tips on how to not let our idealism blur our common sense, how to stay healthy while pushing boundaries and how to not forget to take time for learning on a team level amidst all things learning. After the workshop we will have lunch together.
When: 10:15-12:00
Where: SQUARE, 11-0131
Sign-up: Intended for SQUARE community and team. If you want to join, message lavinia.gentsch@student.unisg.ch

The Education Revolution: A Gift of the Pandemic?
Oxford style debate with audience on two of the following topics. Selected international guests will join over Zoom.

a) Death of the degree and rise of micro-credentials?
The Bachelors and Masters degree structure was first developed to train priests (hence the “bachelor’s” degree) in the Middle Ages.  And even as the modern university used the Bachelors/Masters construct to teach other disciplines till the mid-20th century university attendance was only for the very elite of society.  Today in most developed countries ~50% of the population enrols in university and we continue to use the Bachelors/Masters system.
Is it time for micro-credentials to take the place of the degree for “mass higher education”?  What will happen to the university itself in such a world?  Will there be long-term negative impacts on society if most people are never exposed to the “deep thinking” we get from a degree program? 

b) “Zoom boom” or “Zoom doom”?
Overnight we were all learning on Zoom in the comfort of our homes (and in our pyjamas).  We could be skiing in the Alps or bathing in the Riviera one minute and online with our Options Theory class the next.  Not too shabby. And so many walls came down – we could stream a lecture from a star professor at Harvard or we could build study groups with like-minded students around the world. But after a few months we missed our friends and the intensity of discussion/debate we could have in-person and on campus. We started reminiscing about trudging through the snow on a Monday morning for class.
On balance – is it better to have the flexibility of remote learning or should we made to come back to campus (even if we then stream some of our classes to our dorm rooms)?

c) Better dead than test?
Formal summative assessments were sacred things.  As teenagers we gave up some of the best years of our lives preparing for the SAT, A Levels, the Abitur and other high stakes school leaving exams.  And then the pandemic comes and it is too risky to get so many students in one room to take the exam AND these exams are too important to do from home so in many countries we just scrapped them altogether.  And life moved on and universities were able to select students just fine without them.  Now in the US there is a growing movement of “no SAT/ACT required” universities and within schools there is even a movement to scrap grades altogether (see Mastery Transcript Consortium).
Has the pandemic shown us a better way without exams?  Or do we need to go back to the old ways and check our marks?

d) Is EdTech worth it?
Investments in EdTech surged during the pandemic creating the most valuable education companies in history.  Prior to the pandemic Pearson (>100 years old) and TAL Education (largest education company in China with 100s of centers) were the most valuable companies pushing the $15b EV mark.  Today Byjus from India may IPO at a valuation of >$40b and it has never made a cent of profit.
Why is it that legacy institutions (e.g., Harvard, HSG) or publishers (e.g., Pearson, Klett) with long histories in education are not able to capture this value? Will they shift into high-gear and take down the EdTech upstarts? Is EdTech a bubble?

When: 16:15-17:45
Where: SQUARE, Arena, 11-2091
Sign up: Here.
Zoom for passive participation: unisg.zoom.us/j/65250781912 

Impact learning with future skills - and how a Swiss vision of a symbiotic learning centre could become reality

In summer 2022 the SBW House of Learning is going to make its first step towards a symbiotic learning centre. The vision is to create a place in the middle of Europe that is going to be a hub for innovative and leading experts from all fields. Young adults (age 14-20) should have the chance experiencing early contact to experts and organisations in a very natural way. The goal is that learning is happening in a symbiotic relationship with focus on sustainability and impact. Different generations and expert from various field should work together with the new generation and work as teams on new solutions and new mindsets. The vision is very similar to that of SQUARE at HSG.
Therefore, we would like to invite all kinds of people interested in the future of learning - young and old, kindergarten, school, or university level- to join us in this brainstorming and discussion session with Karan Khemka. The following questions will guide the event:

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Hosts: SBW Haus des Lernens
When: 19:00-20:00
Where: SQUARE, Lounge, 11-2042
Sign up: Here.


Friday, 1 April 2022

Unfortunately, we have to cancel the events on Friday as Karan has to leave a bit earlier than anticipated.