Indian Education Eating Away Talent? 

Author : Raj Lalwani

Whenever somebody talks of career, a normal 12th grader is blank. With so much to choose from and absolutely no idea where to go, we’ve all been through this haphazard phase of life. Talking wise, career should not be considered as “getting into the best commerce college in the country” but should aim at unleashing your maximum potential, and putting forth productive ideas.

A six figure salary, a corporate office job, and hours of work is what we believe the best could be. But why not take a break and ask yourself- Is this what I really want?
Sadly, we live in a country where the aura of hype around kids with a score of 90s and above is horrendous. They’re expected to be the next CEO of a company or the next Steve Jobs. That’s it, fate sealed. But wait.. where is the childs say in the process?

“100%, 99%, 95%, A+, B-, C”

These are the words which haunt us every time during exams. They may seem like simple numbers or alphabets to you, but they can break friendships apart, screw with relations and even cause death!

Yes, it’s true and we aren’t exaggerating. Remember Rohit Vemula Suicide case? What was that if not a ramification of over expectations?

Remember the last time you and your parents talked peacefully regarding your grades. You won’t be able to remember it because it never really happened (At least in our case). No matter how much you score, it will be less than their expectations. And just like a complex algebraic equation, less marks is equal to high expectations and more expectations is directly proportional to more stress and if the given stress is more than the child’s ability, there is quite a probability of the child committing suicide.

For instance, you surely must be remembering that boy from 3 idiots, played by Ali Fazal who committed suicide by hanging himself. He was a really intelligent boy and a wonderful singer, but who screwed his life? Grades (And of course a little bit of Virus).

But grades aren’t solely responsible for this and the truckload of pressure the students face. The main reason grades are so powerful or influential is because we only made them so powerful by giving them so much importance. Ask any parent if he prefers an intelligent child or a disciplined one, and about half of them would easily follow the odds and chose the first one

While deciding upon your career do not forget, people will talk about it for a week and then replace it with some new gossip. It’s you who will be stuck with the dichotomy for another 40 years to come. Don’t look back with a ‘What If?’ and instead do what your heart says.

There are immense options today to choose from – Photogrpahy, journalism, biotech etc with apt platforms. Luckily enough our horizons are not just limited to corporate jobs, engineering or medical. (All of which are important, ofcourse.)

While deciding which path of life to pursue make sure you’ve exhausted all your options.

Make a list of the professions that interest you, talk to experts from those fields and before you make a decision, list down the pros and cons. Do not blindly follow what people tell you. This is your life, make it count!
If you are a parent reading this, I am sure you must be thinking, “Good Grades – Good Future” or “Good grades are essential for admission in (your so called GOOD) colleges.

We have a question, how do good grades guarantee that your child will be rich, successful, happy or will have a good future? Can any piece of paper for that matter determine what the next chapter in life holds?

Isn’t this part of a larger Repressive State Apparatus working insidiously to sedate our anxiety over career? When you can’t be sure about the following day or hour, how can you be so sure about the following years!

All of us know that Bill Gates, one of the richest persons alive, is a college dropout or that Steve Jobs, the man behind your iPhone, your son’s MacBook and your daughter’s iPad, was also a college dropout. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, THE creator of FACEBOOK (Yes, you read it correct), didn’t complete his graduation at Harvard to create so-awesome, ultra-cool social networking site. (There is whole list on the T.I.M.E magazine about the top 10 college dropouts).

When an uneducated tea-maker can become a P.M. of a country, why are we forcing our children to cram day and night just to crack IIT or get good grades?

Moreover, to give you a sense of harsh and grim truths, its not false that some parents even beat the hell out of their kids, very often just about 4-5 year olds on getting not-so-GOOD-grades!

Just because their children are less interested, didn’t study or weren’t able to score full, they beat their children (Hallelujah).

If you love grades so much, we have a great idea, just adopt them (if you can).

No matter how many movies like 3 Idiots or Taare Zameen Par are made, grades will still remain our God, because ever since Macaulay’s Minute and the reform that Indian education received in the early 19th Century, there hasn’t been a great vision to alter the obsession with examination and gradation based systems.

We can chart out how this entire issue came into being, somewhere along the lines of Colonial history. The game plan was simple – The British wanted “Good” servants, hence the incredible thirst for good scores and good obedience to an oppressive system. What we have done over the years is, internalised this. Reservations have only made our lives worse, and most students who do not fare so well in boards, do not stand any option but to enroll in a Private University, which brings us back to square one.

“Naam ki degree, bass” Zero value addition and hefty fees, this is what private universities have to offer in hindsight. Do not forget the endless scorn from the society when you tell people you’re from Amity. Somewhere below the line, if we consider the larger apparatus at work, private universities are capitalising and making profits out of “bad” grades.

The brightest minds may not score so well, since everybody isn’t so good with mugging up facts, and they are forced to pursue their education from IIPMs and not IIMs. What are we building?

A depressed workforce that had no right to quality education?

Coaching institutions which promise admission in IIT or PMT, Kota being a major example, themselves say that out of the 100% students, only 10% have the ability to achieve or do something extraordinary, rest 90% are just the fees payers which help these institutions running.

if your son wants to be a writer, he will surely achieve nothing in engineering or if your daughter wants to be fashion designer, there is no use of wasting your precious time and money making her a doctor.

Children are like peacocks. If you confine them for too long, they will forget how to fly. Let them open their wings and go in any direction they want to go. If you even choose their direction, it wouldn’t be their freedom; it will be your circus.

So, we have only one request to all the readers-let your peacocks do whatever they want to do and even if they fail, at least they could say that they at least have tried.

Remember, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is inferior.

As one shoe doesn’t fit all, one test doesn’t map everyone’s potency equally, and one career path doesn’t fit all.


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