Of all the reasons discussed on the lines of labour-capital friction, to the lawlessness one other important and at the same time profound cause that surfaced up through the discussions was the role that professional education has been playing.
Bangalore, is tirelessly addressed as the knowledge capital, and adding to this tag today it is also the IT capital of India. While this entire new diaspora of IT’ians, and all the changes ushered in using them as the vents are remarkable, in terms of the impact and the pace at which it has coalesced into what it is today. A whole gamut of structural changes have been impinged on to the society, and the population has responded by altering a lot of itself. As in changes in the culture, politics, policies, priorities of people, etc… are substantial enough.
One of the most important things that has had a slow,subtle, yet huge impact is the education sector.
First and foremost, the notion of education becoming a “sector” of business can be attributed to the rise of big businesses via the IT revolution India has witnessed. Who else, other than Bangalore could be a better contendor to serve as an analysis point?
A full hundred engineering colleges, churning out the work force in a production line model, without being concerned about the quality of its throughput is a sight observable in Bangalore with ubiquity. This throughput supposedly is to cater to the plethora of IT MNC’s based in Bangalore, while that sector itself has one perennial complaint about the ’employability’ of these products from the higher education machinery.
As the discussions conveyed: A connected disconnect!
What is the purpose of education?
This question itself needs a whole dedicated discussion. Nonetheless, in the current context of Industry and education, would it not be outrageous to percieve education, even the so called ‘professional courses’ working at narrowing down the learnability of students to a small cone of technologies, which translate into a smaller window of career opportunities? Is this the role of education?
To educate a young mind in a system is to prepare him/her to become agile and glide through the alleys of life, and not to chain down in one spot, which would grow worse by the day.
Role of corporates in education
Now, Mr. Narayanmurthy of Infosys, is the new mascot of gleaming India, looking into the future of the world, carrying the young generations to advancement; or at least that is what the media is portraying him to be. He’s credibly being accused of nosing into too many domains, certainly beyond his realms of expertise. Recently, in an ironic interview in NDTV he was being questioned about the growth of India in the last two decades, to celebrate 20 years of Neoliberalism in India, beyond the License permit raj. Now, why is it ironic?
Like in Chaplin’s The Kid movie, if a window glass is shattered, it certainly is beneficial to the window tile seller! Allowing you readers to ponder further on this, let me delve into the corporate influence on education.
Mr.NRN represents to all our vivid imagination the ‘big business doing, good samaratins’. These good samaratins are obviously doing good, but not to the general public but their own vested interests.
The education sector is being modulated to the tune of the market forces. Specialization in education is being performed to accommodate the skills necessary for the industries being set up, and that is deeply influenced by the current trend of businesses thriving. “Education system is dancing to the songs of market forces”, as Sridhar, Senior Editor from the Hindu said.
Higher education system, at least the engineering colleges are offloaded IT company training institutes; preparing the workforce as they perceive the industry would want, and becasue the industry is always ahead in terms of technology the efforts by the education system are deemed inadequate!
Higher education should allow people to specialize in their interests, not what the market is interested in. The higher education climate in the last decade at least in Bangalore has been : get hold of an engineer’s tag and get into an IT company, lead a happy life! Each portion of which is a hoax of nth order!
While there are bigger and immediate problems to be addressed about the IT sector and its perilous impact on the society, in the long run undoing to education what IT revolution has done would be of highest import, to make the society a balanced one.
Brilliant analysis indeed! An addendum to this: We bemoan the lack of thinkers, visionaries and leaders, while creating "resources" that have just enough skill to keep the mill running. I think 2 generations have been wasted away by this myopia.