Monday, July 15, 2013
CAREERS FOR SALE!
Gone are the days when a ‘guru’ used to impart knowledge to the student- free of charge, feeding him in his house for ten years at least. But education then was mere knowledge. Except for the functional application, it was never conceived as an instrument for living. Nor was it a money spinning instrument as it is now. The society has travelled a long long way from the archaic education at ‘gurukulam’ as it was called then to corporate business enterprise.
We have any number of institutions mushrooming every day.Like fast food counters and take-aways with different recipes for instant consumption- you have all sort of courses for all sorts of careers for sale. You have packages for one year, one month courses for entrance examinations, refresher courses, special rank promotional courses, integrated one year programme, condesned course, class room programme, whole package, partial package, limited liability, guaranteed results, money-return schemes, hostel facilities etc.etc. These institutions have proven history of their achievements, testimonials from past students and parents, albums showing glowing faces of front runners, press clippings, video clippings, telephone numbers, addresses of those who are in lucrative posts earning four digit salaries eulogizing their achievements. You have dozens of photos of students appearing in newspapers day in and day out- showing their ranks in prominent digits. Hitherto only state toppers’ photos used to appear in papers. But today you have 1000 institutions and you have 5000 ranks with as many photos crowding the newspapers .The dailies in turn sell their advertisement packages. They will lure the parent- raising his blood pressure, itching him to gate crash into the institution with lots of money borrowed or mortgaging their properties, if need be. They scratch the last rupee from their kitty, going on fast for a noon, if necessary to see their son earn a place in their album- to start with.
It is typical American salesmanship with all the jargon involved therein. In America- the capitalists’ haven- they assure the outcome even before you lay hands on the product. You purchase two and take one free. Bring two students and gain a concession for the third. There is a special package- for instance- if you have 10 students from your village. The middle man can sell education as a collective package. There are money -back schemes. If your student is not in the top ten of the ranks as assured, your money will be returned forthwith. The fine print is- by which time you will be paying two times more than the promised refund amount by way of other expenses. It is like a sale of a kitchenware at Walmart. You take an article home, use it for ten days- for free- and return the article if you are not happy- for total pay back. All that is required is a very important instrument in your possession to put your ward in these schools. A cheque book. What does it mean? The seller is trying to impress you the authenticity of his product and his honesty to deserve your money.
Who could imagine these courses! You have IIT, IIT-JE, IIHT, CA-CPT, AIEEE,BITSAT, AIEEEQ,IITG- what does it mean? These institutions does not want to leave even the average student also from their fold. They have any number of permutations and combinations. The parent- in spite of the poor standard of the boy is lured into this mire. Why? The attraction is not your student and his education. It is your cheque book.
The most lucrative business in today’s parlance is politics. You don’t need educational brilliance to become a politician. And a politician’s best investment is an educational institution. In Andhra Pradesh, practically there is no politician who does not own a college, school, junior college, college of nursing ,e-techno schools(whatever it means!) either directly or through proxy. Even film stars started tasting the smell of money.
By trying to be prudent in not poking the corruption in Andhra Pradesh, here are a few market rates from a neighbouring state- Tamilnadu. For persons who does not qualify for direct entrance through the National entrance eligibility test, there is a price to enter these professional courses. The capitation fee for the managing quotas for Medical seat is 75 lakhs- not negotiable. For post graduation medical courses, it will be anything between 1.25 to 1.50 crores! For an engineering seat it is 20 lakhs. This is besides the usual term fee, building fee, library fee, laboratory fee, transport charges, building donation, sports fee- you name it.
In Andhra Pradesh, at least in some castes, a medical graduate can draw grand dowry in marriage. If suppose that dowry is invested as the capitation fee to procure a seat, you have a full career to draw as much money as you want. You have a whole corporate world for any specialization. There is great adage in our culture. It says : ‘’vaidyo narayano Hari’’. In India, we don’t equate a doctor with god. We just call him ‘God’. Let one God in today’s corporate world recollect the names of two of his patients without seeing the case sheet. That is the fate of our gods. The present day doctor is busy reimbursing his investment and disappear behind the corporate rigmarole. How else can he get back the huge investment he had made in his education? The Gods are for sale in this country.
There are any number of dreams in the hearts of the hapless parents. They crave to see at least one boy from their family coming through this rut to become a money earner, so that the entire family can be rehabilitated. Their rupee is much more valuable and loaded than anybody’s. It is an investment on the child. The institutions are delivering the result. Who is the victim? The poor child. We never heard of the words like ‘depression’ ‘suicide’ ‘counselling’ ‘hysteria’ in our days.
It is time that these poor families- not the students- that require proper counseling to tell them- as we cannot stop these politicians running their corporate warehouses- that education cannot be purchased for a price. Competence cannot be sold across the counters. The hypocracy, deceit, plunder, intellectual tomfoolery is much more dangerous than the recent ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ whose ill effects are still reverberating across India. The incumbent tragedy is going to be much worse because- this is intellectual plunder with high stakes.