What is Continuing Education and Why it is Relevant?

In the novel “Through the Looking Glass” which is a sequel of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, Alice, while running along with the Red Queen, says “Well, in our country, you’d get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.” To this, the Red Queen responds “A slow sort of country! Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to remain in the same place. To get to somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Red Queen’s remark on running at least twice as fast to get to somewhere is now a reality! The world is changing so fast that one needs all the skills he has, to remain and retain his place.  To move ahead, one definitely needs more of those skills and expertise!

Peter F Drucker, a well known “Management Guru” earlier used to propagate that the successful entities should first set-up an efficient organizational structure and then hire individuals to meet the needs of the structure. This made life easy for professionals because they knew exactly as to what their role was and what was expected from them.

But, in his more recent book titled “Management Challenges for the 21st Century”, Peter Drucker acknowledges that this principle is no longer relevant. The realities of the marketplace require modern day organizations to be fluid in their structure. Such fluid organizations in turn, require flexible professionals who can quickly change and adapt according the needs of the organization.

To be successful in such a scenario, one needs to be constantly upgrading one’s skills and knowledge base. This is “Continuing Education”. This can be in the form of acquiring additional qualifications in one’s own field of expertise or acquiring knowledge and experience in fields which may be new but are necessary for one’s career development, like learning Arabic, in our context!  Success, in the knowledge economy, comes to those who know themselves – their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.

What are the requirements for “Continuing Education”?

There are only two paramount requirements. The first and the foremost is “Motivation”. Motivation is the inner urge to succeed and excel that pushes one towards taking actions. Motivation strengthens one’s ambition, increases initiative and gives direction, courage, and energy to follow one’s goals.

The second one is “Commitment”.  Commitment is dedication, application and perseverance – all combined into one. Commitment is pursuing and completing the task which Motivation made us to take up. Commitment is a quality which does not diminish with failures. This Commitment is essential for continuing education.

What are the benefits of Continuing Education?

Continuing Educations benefits individuals, communities as well as the entire economy.

  • Individuals benefit from the knowledge and skills that are required for leading a successful life in a highly competitive environment.
  • Communities benefit as people discover new abilities. Those people who constantly learn new skills and train for new challenges can easily cope with the demands of workplace changes.
  • Economy benefits from higher level of productivity as a result of better quality human resource.

Now, my dear friends, please ask yourselves these three questions:

  1. Do I want to scale higher notches in my career?
  2. Do I need to have a reasonable security in my career?
  3. Do I want to make myself as highly valued as possible?

If your answer is “Yes” for any one of these questions, there is a need for you to pursue Continuing Education – to keep yourself abreast of latest developments in your field of expertise and thereby, continue to be valuable to your organization or your business.

Another Management Guru, Robin Sharma aptly puts it as “Learn More to Earn More”. The more you know, more valuable you become!

And finally we can derive inspiration from movie director Steven Spielberg. This film icon had three Academy Awards under his belt when he decided to go for a university degree in 2002.