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Reiterated Truth

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The more developed a country, the less inclination is shown by its youth for government jobs. People aspiring for university education also become fewer simply because there are enough, well paying jobs available that do not require degrees (apart from the fact, also, that higher education is extremely expensive). So, the crowds milling around for admission in Dehradun’s DAV (PG) College, every year, should make one wonder about the state of the economy, here. If being an electrician, a para-medical worker, a salesman, a taxi-driver, etc., can provide a good income, why the desperation for degrees that have little value from the employment point of view? Taxi-drivers can today earn as much as Rs 60 to 70 thousand a month if they have some basic language skills and good manners. The same goes for many blue-collared jobs with business potential.
Quite obviously, the caste system has something to do with it. The loss of ‘status’ involved in doing what are considered ‘menial’ jobs still weighs heavy in comparison to the increase in income levels. However, there needs to be an awareness created that, in jobs where there is potential to develop a business model, the earnings can take one into middle class and even higher levels in society. In the complex economy of the day, it is not just the IT sector that has the potential to make young people well-to-do, even spectacularly rich.
University degrees require a basic scholastic ability. In India, a Bachelor’s is a sine-qua-non to be considered ‘educated’, even though from the view of actual content, such degrees from most universities are inferior to having done class twelve from a good school. Even so, the rush continues.
Another reason why there are so many persons applying for admission to the DAV (PG) College type of institution is that the fees are extremely low. Such colleges do not provide anything like the proper teacher to student ratio, entirely lack the facilities required, and cannot lay claim to be producing scholars of any quality whatsoever. In fact, the students who could benefit – those with high grades but the inability to pay for admission to the better universities – suffer greatly from the overcrowding, anarchic environment and overworked teachers.
The government must give a very high priority to developing an alternative model of education in the state by establishing trade colleges and universities that provide one and two year courses in skills required for the unfolding economy. The ITIs already exist, but have mostly outmoded curricula. Many of the courses, themselves, are not relevant to present day needs. New courses have not been introduced. There was much talk some years ago of linking these ITIs to the private sector for more relevant education, but little has come of it. Why is there, for instance, no course in ‘thekedari’, the most preferred of occupations in Uttarakhand?
In the meanwhile, the economy continues to suffer because of human resource constraints. Businesses cannot expand at the required pace because they have to cope with under-qualified personnel, and have to spend time and energy on training them. In the meanwhile, the frustrations among the youth continue to grow as the present day lifestyle requires funds that parents cannot in any way provide. And, yet, it is socially unacceptable that these youngsters take jobs that could fund their lifestyles. Most certainly, the education sector and social attitudes, both, need to change.