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To read or not to read

This would've been the title bandied by our jingoistic media on the latest 'thought provoking' statement by SGP premier. He wants his saga citizens (considering the size of SGP, dare i say city-zen?? ) to stop sending their kids to universities lest there be dearth of people to work on shop floors and port yards and hotels and where not, that boosts that country's economy. Sometime back, I had a similar thought here on who will man those very jobs listed by SGP premier while everyone wants to be an engineer or a doctor. Probably the premier has put a different twist to that question. When you know there are only so much available for a doctor or an engineer why bother to study for them?? or even better, when there is a job on hand that can be started right away, why dwell in years of study for something that is lottery??
The news comes in at a time when our people are celebrating or mourning, depending on whichever side of the 1200 mark of plus two score. The yearly mania for mark comes to a conclusion and it will have a survival window of, the time the marks were seen till the time the kid joins college, whichever be the stream. And for the duration of the degree, the "mark" caused by the mark would be forgotten only to be rekindled during job hunt days. With the stats that, hardly a handful make it to the job stream which they studied in degree, the theory posed by the SGP lead sounds savvy. Why waste the money on something which you are not going to do? You can save it and start earning by doing something else which doesn't expect you to hold any educational title to perform that task!! Vocational courses have long been a pipe dream in India which are considered more for hobby than for livelihood.

With countries like Germany and possibly SGP leading the way in moving people from schools to workplaces under whatever name of the law or policy they want it to be called, it raises the stark contrary view point - elitism. Does this theory mean, only those who can afford to study, without the need of a job depending on their course of study alone shall pursue higher education? In a country like India, where sending someone to school could more often mean keeping them off the street, will such theory work? As it is, you've to be a millionaire or have a super score in boards to crack into Medical or top engineering colleges. Will such policies make niche studies for common men even rarer? Will such a policy make common man markedly common?

The holier than thou folks claim education as tool to improve the quality of life, rather than a job seeking path. Probably they've fatter bank balance to stake such claims. When survival of fittest concept raises its head, wonder will such policies or people survive!! Will Dar"win" dare lose?


Ramesh said…
Not sure what triggered this post Gils, but this is a seriously debatable issue.

On one hand there is a definite positive correlation between education and economic advancement, atleast in India. The higher you study, the more economically well off you will be. For atleast 20-30 years more this will be true in India.

On the other hand, there are economic opportunities opening up also for say the ITI diploma holder. Or a tradesman. So that is also a viable career path for those who prefer that. But by and large, higher education is the ticket to economic advancement.

Singapore is in a different state of development. Tiny country which has solved the talent problem through migration. In India the opportunities are immense. No question- you must get that college degree.

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