Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome to the Wrong Career!

Recently, I read an excellent article(In Education Times dated 17/05/2010 ) about career counseling and the wrong career choices made by students. [You can read the article Here ]

Am quoting 3 lines from the article:

‘An IIM graduate gave up her job in McKinsey and now runs a publishing company. ‘

‘A student who opted for chemical engineering completed his studies, but somehow never cleared all the subjects in every semester. ‘

‘A doctor, who had done well in his medical programme, was very clear that he wasn’t keen to practice medicine at all.’

Now what do these 3 lines tell you? That those 3 people were fools? Obviously not. Fools cannot get admission into IIMs for once, and they usually wont perform well in their medical programme. No, it’s just that those people did not really know what career they wanted to pursue. What’s the harm in that, you may ask? In a country where millions of people are illiterate, what difference does it make whether a person becomes an engineer, or a doctor, or whichever career from where he/she can earn the maximum? Well, it does make a difference. It may be a subtle difference, but at the same time, it’s quite imperative as well.

In India, most children do not choose a career path of their own free will. They are mostly influenced(or rather forced) by their parents, peers, relatives, friends, etc. So in most cases, following the norms of the society, a child takes up a path in which he has no interest in. This is because our society looks down at people whose children are not engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc- Ie the traditional streams. Though in recent times, a variety of new courses have opened up[Hotel Management, Hospitality, Forestry, Rural Management, etc], but surprisingly most parents still want their children to continue with the traditional streams, especially those in middle class and lower class backgrounds. The reason for this is also quite obvious- Money. Since India is still a poor country, most people look at education as a panacea, a tool which can get them a job. Every parent will want his child to get a secure job, especially if it’s a necessity. And with just 5% of the Indian population earning more than $10 a day, you can bet that there is a mad rush to get high-paying jobs.

The other obvious reason is status. People want to boast to their neighbors that their wards have got admission in such and such 5 star colleges. Even the student usually targets a institute, not because he wants to really learn anything, but because he knows that he will get instant fame after booking a seat in the institute. This points to a deeper malaise- We have too few good quality institutes, especially for Higher education. Look at the ironical situation- Whereas on one hand, we have thousands of good private schools taking in thousands of students and offering high quality service, on the other hand we have even more number of private colleges offering a lugubrious or dismal service with pathetic conditions. Most students passing out of such colleges do not get a job neither do they learn anything. They just add to the growing un-employment queue. This shows the desperation for obtaining nugatory degrees. Some people sell off their land to get their children admitted in such colleges. And the ROI (Return on Investment) is practically zero. Somehow many fatuous people believe that a degree [Especially an Engineering degree] is all it takes to get a job.

So we have lakhs of students opting for engineering, and around the same number opting for MBA. Why don’t we have an equal number of students entering the Law, Medicine, Sports[Heavily required],Arts, Commerce, Scientific Research[Where India lags behind most countries], Ph.D [We have too few of them], Music, Painting, Archaeology, Core Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biotechnology, R & D, Astronomy [India has just a handful of institutes that offer a course in Astronomy], Manufacturing, Core- Cement, Fertilizers, Power [Solar, Wind, Geothermal, others], etc. I could go on and on, about this demand-supply mismatch but then my post will never finish. We have such a high deficit of trained people in these sectors. Reason- ‘Most people are unable to finish their school, let alone complete college. And the ones who are privileged enough to attend college, end up running blindly after money and annihilating their careers.’

Indirect consequences of the above :
1) Increasing the divide between the poor and the rich.

2) Very few good quality Non-Engineering, Non-MBA colleges coming up. [The Government is only focused on bringing up more IITs, NITs, and IIMs.]

3) Mushrooming of coaching institutes across the country that are fooling people and making the most of this travesty.

4) Non-traditional streams are dying down, since they are not getting a Quality boost.

5) Lack of scientific research and development means there is very little scope in India for genuine students. Even those seriously interested in Science are opting for engineering. This is also the reason why most of the Noble Prize winning Indians live outside their homeland.

The sad thing is that even today most people believe –‘If you are not from an IIT or an IIM, then you are nothing.’


nish said...

Great Post! I love to read articles that are informative and beneficial for me.


Great One man you pushed me even further into the dilemma

myperspectivess said...

I agree with you completely... but there's one more reason to add this post.. sometimes it takes a lot of time for the people to find out in which they are good at..........

manavdhiman said...

I couldn't agree more with what you have written. I completely second that. People in India are still (as you pointed out) lagging behind in crucial areas. I am going to take arts, and still their are my friends who are asking me - "Arts?! Are you mad or what?!" But I know that after some years they will be unemployed not me.

I also wrote two posts on the same matter, you can check them out here - 1. 2.

Satwinder Singh said...

@nish: Thanks a lot. Keep visiting for similar posts. :)

@Soulblogger: Hehe, sorry for that.. hope your dilemma gets resolved soon.. :D

@myperspectives: I agree. This post is a bit incomplete. I have not mentioned 'Why should you follow your passion'. Will write in the upcoming posts. Btw, excellent blog. Loved it. :)

@manavdhiman: Thanks. :) Will definitely go through them.

@All: Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Take care. :)

sammythewizzy said...

When there are too many engineering/MBA colleges it naturally becomes imperative that one has to distinguish himself from the crowd of engineers/managers to have a successful (and eventually high paying) career.. This more often then not, is achievable by studying in a elite college.. That may explain the notion that 'if you dont study in an IIT/IIM then you are disadvantaged'.. Great post btw :)

suman said...

waiting for 'Why should you follow your passion'!!

namit said...

nice post n i guess wateva we chose one day we would say, shit, dis isnt wat i wanted to be so whateva we get it wud be a wrong chosen career.. :)

do visit my post and do promote it if you like it.. :)

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