LOPSIDED PRIORITIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
NET RESULT IS NOT ZERO BUT MINUS
July 27 - Aug 02, 2009
If truth and logic loving experts were to look into the sugar coated claims and the rosy pictures of a pathetic economic scenario and deteriorating corporate sector, they would basically hold the system of education, especially that of higher education responsible for the stark realities.
As the fee fleecing primary and secondary institutions expand into money minting factories of higher education, the concerned begums and bureaucrats decide the destiny of the nation with such plans and policies that are incompatible with our socio-economic conditions and prove detrimental to the national interest.
The name of the game called scope, careers, or future is decorated with the physical charm and glamor of the elitist private sector institutions followed by an even more bewitching and bewildering corporate sector with its pompous pay and perks. The net result cannot be zero because it is deteriorating. It is, unfortunately, minus zero.
Imagine the level of specialized contribution to the socio-economic development of our country. For example, Information Technology (IT), despite all fancy claims and credits, is on the decline. The short cut to prosperity syndrome reigns supreme as artificially captivated youth leaves IT half way and switches over to the magical career spells of an MBA.
The chocolate cream executives of our rosy looking corporate sector thrive on whims and fancies rather than such creative ideas and insights that could bring stability to the economy and elevate national grace among the comity of nations.
Whether physical, biological, pure or natural sciences, or for that matter, arts, humanities, literature and the social sciences, non-academic priorities of our men at the helm of academic affairs have changed so much that even some of the so-labeled PhDs are unable to communicate and with specialized authority or assurance expected of them leaving the developmental perspective in a lurch.
As money attracts more money and luxuries bring more luxuries for the pompously posing and fancy looking executives of our corporate sector, their tall but fake and fictitious claims about corporate social responsibility reflect in deteriorating living conditions if not in the dampening subsistence levels of our masses or majority.
The seeds of artificial and meaningless caring and sharing for the downtrodden are laid at the elitist educational institutions, which prioritize more on public relations oriented mobilizing of food and clothes for the impoverished rather than helping them with vocational or technical training enabling them to stand on their own feet.
More worst is the academic drag for the masses from the low and middle-income groups in the wake of our policy-makers experimenting with a four-year Bachelor's degree fancying to synchronize education with international standards. Unfortunately, our educational gurus are unable to see from their high towers with their rose-colored glasses down the masses or the majority's pathetic poverty line.
In a situation when one hand feeds ten mouths, the family expects young members to lend financial support to ailing and weak parents and little brothers and sisters. If a Bachelor's degree extends beyond 14 to to 16 years of education, the agony of a large family multiplies massively adding miserably to socio-economic problems.
Advocating almost the lost case of a two-year Bachelor's degree does not mean compromising on standards. Even many universities in Britain do not have four-year Bachelors. In many cases those who have done Masters after a two-year Bachelors are doing admirably well in leading national and multi-national organizations.
Bachelor's who needs to further revamp and incorporate job-oriented communication, computer, crises and image management skills can contribute to any large family's small budget. While it does not mean the end of education for the supporting young soul, the latter can always study privately or in the evening program for the cherished Masters.
Whether it is a Bachelors or a Masters the level of lopsidedness lingers laboriously with students cramming or learning merely for exams and degrees as the standard of education reflects in the standard of living and the socio-economic conditions. It has to be realistically and regrettably realized that barring a few individual merit hallmarks with our sugarcoated corporate sector we continue to be ridiculed with our begging bowl, rated in the top most category of the corrupt, taunted as terrorists and termed as tortured in the comity of nations. The irony of the fate is that the blame game reigns supreme in this sad scenario of our lopsided priorities.
While the rat race to the elitist educational institutions continues unhindered for the opulent, upper strata or the privileged, it is a deadly dilemma for the low-income group to aspire the middle income, which also plunges into life-long agony. Parents of those who cannot afford the exorbitant cost of bewitching infrastructure in the name of quality education are socially forced to get their children admitted to elitist institutions hoping financial help eventually and somehow or the other. The net result, in many cases, is students dropping out due to financial constraints or parents literally begging and ending up with hypertension and cardiac problems.
The solution lies in revamping higher education to mix objectivity and methodology in consonance with socio-economic conditions with managerial and academic worth. Educational policy-makers, managers, subject specialists, and PhD prodigies need to focus more on their respective areas through innovation, research, and excellence rather than on mere foreign tours, rosy seminars and public relations priorities.
It is high time our educational messiahs practically stick to the commitment of quality education at affordable cost, devising innovating ways and means of keeping the faculty committed to professional honesty and excellence and forwarding students to aptitude oriented education for overall socio-economic transformation.