Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | August 27, 2010

A little thought on education

This post is in response to this post by Suvroda.

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In our country education is directly related to employment and that is why most people choose courses which they feel will generate more income for them in future. Whilst, in principal I am opposed to the fact, but I am not sure where is the way out.

In New Zealand, I have met people from a wide variety of profession – horse riding teacher, sculptor, trolley fixer, bag maker to name a few. Each and every profession here is well respected as well as moderately rewarded unlike India. These people know little beyond class 8 education but are very conscious of their area of work and not only that they feel a sense of accomplishment while doing their job. Here, I find every man is very knowledgeable about Biology (because it concerns their own health and body), Rights (Civics) and of course Politics. Seldom you will find someone who does not know anything about these subjects. Having said that, I don’t think you will find many in New Zealand concerned about say Korean society. In India, especially in Bengal you may find many.

Recently, I found out that many of my friends in JNU who are now PhDs and I always thought are brilliant students who love economics are doing research and teaching subjects like – Correlation between Unemployment and divorce in rural India where water is scarce. I am not sure what does such research contribute to society in the name of education and further studies? I will forever wonder who or why such studies are sponsored. What is the use? However, you will be surprised to know all those PHD friends look down upon people like me, who did not choose to do such a research. In their eyes, we are not educated!

Fact of the matter is, how education is interpreted by different countries and societies varies. Developed nations have taken a wider view and have created jobs and given each and every job their due respect. Our society in India did not give many job its due respect so the people who even choose to be nurses or midwife are generally looked down upon.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for writing this, Tanmoy. Nice way of responding to my blogpost! Few people take so much trouble.

    Don’t bother about those acquaintances who think so very highly of themselves because they are doing PhDs. I happen to know just how ignorant and unintelligent a typical PhD can be these days (‘to copy from one book is plagiarism, to copy from six is research’), and how their inferiority complex makes them snooty – because they know deep inside they are not doing anything of any significant social value.

    One of the points I tried to make in my essay is precisely something that you too have noticed; that certain kinds of education give some people in this country a quite bloated sense of self worth, and the ‘right’ to look down upon others not similarly educated: so a software code writer thinks he has done better than a truly gifted hockey player or sitarist who hasn’t finished high school. We do hear in the papers now and then of police constables and rickshaw pullers who write poetry, but they are either ignored or regarded as exotic beasts…

    And I am entirely in agreement with you about know-alls with or without PhDs! I have made myself thoroughly unsocial by making a lifelong hobby of putting them firmly in their place by subjecting them to impromptu quizzes, which they always fail miserably.

  2. I just came here from reading the post on Sir’s blog. I agree with you that there isn’t any clear way out as such. I will repeat here: our country is fixated with what it deems to define as the “right forms of education” and it is firmly in a mold that it cannot be knocked out of. The world you describe seems idyllic…must be nice to live among such people! šŸ™‚


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