It is a really sad state of affairs in the country at the moment so far as higher education is concerned. It is more of a chore, a must do something rather than pursuing your field of interest, or striving for academic excellence. The de-facto standard in the country at the moment is to pursue a course in engineering irrespective of the field and the college, so long as it helps one get a degree at the end of four years. Which by the way, not many are interested in by the time those four years come to an end. The realization dawns a bit too late, that they were not cut up for it. The ones who lagged due to disinterest are doomed, the ones who persevered despite disinterest choose rosier avenues. At the end of which, everyone ends up on the losing side. The student loses years of his life struggling with something he hardly considered important. The college, faculty and administration spent resources on a no-returns venture.
The time has come, when parents need to lose hold of their control on the kids. It is their life, and with all due respect, the new generation is far smarter than the older one. It knows for sure what it wants. It may be a little out-of-control, but it is understanding, and given the field of interest, it is hard working. Perhaps more than the older generation. A burgeoning economy offers more career opportunities than probably there were in the pre-liberalization era. The time for ‘only doctors/engineers need apply’ in matrimonial ads is long past.
Today the youth is beating out new paths for itself, testing unchartered waters, dreaming big, following their dreams, chasing offbeat careers and making it big. While a degree in engineering or medical may still guarantee you that fat package, but the question is, is that what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.? You will not be the first, nor will be the last to ask that question.
Chetan Bhagat being the most ‘appealing’ example for the case in hand – an IIT graduate turned investment banker turned ‘ahem’ popular author. What went wrong with all those guys who chose investment banking after years at engineering. Or with Devendra Purbiya, who took to photography full time. There are examples galore. What went wrong with all these guys? Lack of realisation? Forced will? Lack of opportunity? Lack of information?
Another problem facing the country at the moment is the lack of structured guidance and information system to help equip students with the correct information at the right time. Getting to know about admission process in say National institute of photography, Mumbai may involve the candidate calling up every number listed in there, and still drawing a blank. Despite the ubiquitousness and the effective reach of the internet, phone and other mass media vehicles, our education infrastructure is lagging way behind. This is a void which needs to be filled. And no, we can’t wait for the so-called government to help us with it. About time we started helping ourselves. Wield the power of community, and ensure that the young ones reach where they want to, touching new heights.
[This guest post is written by Mohammad Luqman, a student himself. He is involved with IITians for Youth, an NGO dedicated to expanding the outreach of higher education.]