When many express displeasure with the services, management style, or responses, you’ll tend to see organisations or their representatives arranging for feedback session(s) or similar to address these issues, gather feedback, or just to ‘brainwash’ the masses claiming that they care and are trying to help and improve the situation. Whether any rectification is conducted thereafter is usually not within one’s knowledge. Furthermore, selective information sharing is a common place, especially when the organisations have sufficient resources to invest in maintaining the information that they would like to share. Unless there is another probing party to ask questions and evaluate the reasonableness of the information shared, it’s expected that the information shared tends to contain biases and intentionally misleading content.
This had happened rather recently in the training institution that I’m with right now.
The programme that the training institution had undertaken was to facilitate a career conversion to tech-related job roles. Individuals who were from different industries and job roles had applied and enrolled into this programme in the hope that they can switch up their career paths for many different reasons ranging from better compensation, job security, passion, and more. As it is a career switch programme, many of these individuals do not have pre-existing knowledge and education in technology nor related experience. They would undergo structured training and be placed under traineeship with partnered organisations to gain experiences in hope that it would help them land a tech-related job after the programme. It could also be possible for one to be converted to full-time with the partnered organisations if they performed well.
The training had just started a month ago. Within the month itself, many students expressed their displeasure over the decisions made by the training institution. It ranges from not sharing the detailed module outlines (including exam, quiz dates) to not sharing the answers to the exercises and labs with justifications that students would not attempt the exercises and labs otherwise and they could have sought the answers online. Many have questioned what value the training institution even adds to their learning journey. Individuals were vocal about their frustrations and many emails were sent without any satisfactory responses in return.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a feedback session was arranged on the last day of the module to address the concerns and frustrations of the students. The strategy is, of course, to start by sharing that the institution cares and takes the concerns of the students seriously. Yet, how could an organisation which prioritises their interests over the learners’ interests truly care? After several vocal students shared their struggles to learn (because of the low-quality instructions of a certain lecturer, loss of opportunities to reflect on their work because of the lack of answers and guidance given to exercises, poor infrastructure setup and facility, lack of preparation to manage students’ expectations by sharing a detailed timeline of key deadlines and important dates of the modules), the representatives started to lay out the institution’s perspectives and justifications drawing from past experiences, audit requirements and legal and regulatory requirements (i.e., intellectual property). At the end of the session, there was no concrete resolution and more deliberation is required from the institution’s end. Who knows whether we would get to hear anything about it.
In view of how defensive the institution responded on the provision of more guidance and sharing the answers with the students and the lack of transparency in sharing the educational materials, it’s difficult to be hopeful that the situation would improve in the next module. Furthermore, it seems awfully odd that they placed much emphasis on the need to protect their “intellectual property” when all students had already signed the training contract where there was a chunk of clauses on all the intellectual property requirements from not sharing the institution’s educational materials online to claiming student’s works under their property. I trust that many left the feedback session unsatisfied and probably totally “given up” on getting the institution to do more to support the students’ training needs even though it’s crucial for the success of their career change.
When one talks about care, it doesn’t always mean the same thing. It is wise to probe more about the “care” that individuals or organisations claim or refer to as they may not always align to the other parties’ interests or concerns, especially when the priorities are different and no common grounds were established.
That said, there could still be a small group of wonderful individuals who sincerely care about others’ well-being and not expecting any in return. Yet, it’s extremely difficult for one individual to go against an organisation to make the change.