Are we raising a generation of escapists and cowards? My reason to start #LearnNotEducate

A bright student kills herself when court passes directive supporting National level entrance exams for medical

Every hour one student commits suicide in India

The most shocking was the Rayan International murder, where a XI standard student murdered a small child just to postpone his exam and parent teacher meet!

What have we come to? Is it easier for children to be murderers than face an exam or Parent Teacher Meet? Is your personal life, so immaterial that you prefer giving it up than standing up and finding second chances? Have we made our future generation so weak and a coward? If this is the coming generation how are they going to face the many challenges that life throws at them?

Questions like these and many more were hounding me since I read that article and it made me wonder if we have messed up our kids future in the name of ‘no pressure childhood’

We seem to be swinging like a pendulum – from too much pressure to absolutely no pressure. Is this really a workable solution?

Child’s Exposure

The current system of no exams, no punishment, no negative words and no failing, though established with good intentions seem to be working adversely. No exams mean the child has no idea of how well he is doing. No Negative remarks mean the parents have no idea if they need to help their child in a certain subject. I certainly don’t support corporal punishments or failing a child, but regular feedback good or bad is essential for the child to develop. Introducing vocational courses in school level and a possible option of making that a field of study from high school itself might help in easing the pressure. The child will be exposed to a variety of field of education apart from the traditional 8-9 subjects taught in school.

Parental Responsibility

We can’t just sit back and say “We have been paying enough fees to the school so the responsibility lies with the school to educate my child” We are paying for quality education, but if the child needs extra support in certain subjects we need to help. Not every child will be a topper, we need to accept that and let them blossom at their pace. A child might have talents in other areas – be it dance, singing, elocution, sports or craft. As parents it is our duty to let them explore and help them be the best version of themselves in whichever field that interests them. Not expecting the child to be an all-rounder and ensuring that he/she gets enough time and exposure to follow their passion might help in creating world-class sportsmen, musicians and toastmasters.

Everyone need not be a Doctor or an Engineer

This has been amply proven in the past few years, when many engineers have turned authors or musicians. I am not saying a child will figure it out when he is a kid, but as parents if the child chooses a different profession than the main-stream careers, we need to be supportive of them. Saturation of  a few traditional course is not only going to create intense competition in that field but will also inhibit a child. Dignity of labor should be ingrained right from childhood. An environmentalist or a pet-trainer is an equally respectable profession as an engineer or a doctor for the simple reason that we need them and they help a society function, just like any other profession.

World is their oyster

Instead of everyone running in the same rat-race, lets help our children blossom. See the international curriculum where there is equal focus on learning vocational and non-vocational courses. We need a change in mindset and a strong belief that talent and intelligence is not limited to bookish knowledge and 99% marks. As seen in the past – World Leaders, Entrepreneurs and even Sportsmen haven’t scored an A in the exams but have been an A-lister in life!

If you know someone who is following a satisfying alternative career or you are doing one, do fill the form below. My goal with #LearnNotEducate is to showcase to the children and their parents that passionate people can create amazing lives – a bad result is not the end of the world.


What is Skill India and way to go about it

We are a nation obsessed with university degrees and higher education; however as per research done by Aspiring Minds National Employability Report 2015, 80% of them are unemployable! What we need is not cost intensive graduate and post graduate degrees that are not leading to employability but employable skills that can help youth achieve economic freedom while pursuing a career of their choice.

And now, here’s another scenario – Hiring unprofessional help had been a norm in India for decades. You could have the best of fixtures (electric and plumbing) but the fitter would be unskilled. You could get the best of paints but the applicators would be unprofessional. It was assumed that such jobs were to be done by unskilled and uneducated population of the country who could learn it on the job. So we had the power of buying world class products but not enough skilled people to get it functioning or maintain it.

In both the scenarios what we see is a gap, in terms of education, understanding and respectability of various jobs. Skills India is a step towards trying to bridge that gap. Skill India aims to teach employable skills in various sectors; thereby creating a workforce that is skilled and self reliant. With world class training the work force can then command reasonable pay that will automatically bring in respectability for the job.

So what is Skill India?

Skill India is an initiative jointly undertaken by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and National Skill Development Corporation. Skill India aims to target two sets of audience – Students who are early school leavers and second, enhancing skills of people already in the field.  It is trying to achieve a greater push to vocational training courses, thereby bringing it at par with traditional university degrees.

In their own words, the overall focus of this initiative is to help provide an engaging ecosystem to cater to skilling needs of citizens by publishing and sharing relevant information. The outcome of this collaboration should ideally lead to inclusive growth especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid (approximately 800 million citizens).  The portal attempts to disseminate reliable information and by providing an interface to enquire, explore, and access and engage with various affiliated and accredited training partners, infrastructure providers, understand skill options, opportunities, information on various providers, reliable and credible digital content.

Skill India Portal

The portal boasts of 249 training partners, 3222 training centers, 55,70,476 People trained, 23,88,009 people placed. This is an informative and single touch point website which includes Training partners who offer trainings for various skills, trainers who wish to teach the skills that they have acquired, Training Infra Providers who can offer the necessary infrastructure for training and job aggregators. They also have an option for searching internships that are available.

Skill India courses range from Agriculture to IT. Varied courses like Animation, Banking and Finance, Mutual Fund Agent, Soft Skills, Vermiculture, Nursing Aides, Computer Networking, Web developer, Video editor, Carpentry, Land Surveyor,   CCTV technician, Tally, instrumentation and many such courses are covered under the ambit of Skill India.

Depending on the student’s skill sets and interests they could choose a training that will help them get employment, while being low on investments. It can be seen as an extension of the earlier existing vocational courses that were primarily offered by ITI’s .  Education by way of such trainings can help India create a workforce that is talented and skilled as per their abilities, thereby reducing unemployment and dejection that the youth of today face.  Going further, advocating vocational training at school level itself will help students make an informed career choice. Read more about it here

Why skills education has to be part of school curriculum

(This article was first published on Blog with Pal )