January 21, 2013

In the end, Money talks

A video and daily discussion with a friend (who, I am pretty sure is losing his mind... at a very slow pace)... got me thinking about a few things (as usual >_> ). Firstly, you must watch this:

Lets shift the perspective to the country I am currently (unfortunately) residing in, India. "A Growing Economy!", they say. India has an educational system centred around the the end goal of "Education for Job". My profs back at college, said so themselves - "You are here! in one of the most esteemed engineering colleges of India! After four years you are guaranteed to get a job! And that's why you are here!" (In a thick South Indian accent, of course). I am glad I didn't really listen to them ... but I couldn't help but agree.

Considering my past posts, you might probably think that I am gonna rant heavily against the Indian System (as usual)... but... not this time. With a bit of rationality and pinch of "visualize the big picture"... you can see why the Sir Ken Robinson's amazingly superior and idealistic educational system will not work in India, or any developing country.

When India was colonized, the British, technologically and socially superior cut through the country like a hot knife through butter. It's easy to imagine how horses and elephants would have fared against culverins and muskets. A lot of history happened... aaaaand finally they quit and went back, and we had our "freedom". Now, is where the true story begins. In order to participate in the global economy, we needed industry and adept manpower. How can this be achieved in a minimal amount of time? Well, of course! factory line production of technically agile engineers and industrialist.

This is analogous to say... a medieval kingdom trying to bolster its armed resources to match with its neighbours. It would pick up all men of able body in the kingdom and get them to master the sword, spear and bow in a very systematic fashion, wouldn't it?

The sad part is... the system remained. Our educational system is still a factory line, and with good reason. When we look at the growth of a country with minimal capital and time... we can only spend on what's most necessary - sustained growth. Its been 50+ years since then. Pioneered growth requires large capital and return of investment takes time, which we just don't have (or rather pretend not to have :P ). India loves it's status quo.
"I would have loved to take up research... but I need money...my family is depending on me... I have to take this job!".

"I would love to take up a PhD ... but ... I need money to survive... my family...". 
"Research doesn't earn much in India... I would make more as an Software professional than as a researcher in a University". 
"I love painting and I am really good at it... but it wont get me a job... I need to take up engineering/law/medicine"
"I love marine life! I have always wanted to be a marine biologist... but that won't earn me anything in India... my simple 6 months course in networking has given the job of a network technician and that pays more"
Money talks and has always been the final arbiter and will always be so. The economy decides the educational system... The kingdom decides the size of its army...

Don't forget ... the primary goal of a "job" is to get money... and money, for survival and sustenance. How do we get a job? Education. So... the primary objective of education is survival. India is still stuck at primary objectives. Research is secondary. Physical fitness is secondary. Arts and aethetics are secondary. Like I said... Indians love the status quo :)

Not only are we technologically backward... but socially we lag by at least a hundred years. Still patriarchal... still medieval... still illiterate.

There's no money :)