Discrepancies of India’s Higher Education
Reality of Graduates
In this season, the year’s crop of BA graduates has to make decisions about its future. Many of them opt for further education but the question is about the value of much of the education on offer.
Take the MA degree. There has been a common misconception among many students in terms of higher education that many of them opt for an MA because they are told a BA alone is not a sufficient qualification for most jobs and even when it is, MAs get higher salaries. Students cannot stay outside the university campus as staying at university is essential for many professions, including academia, and it might be argued that any MA provides a different learning experience to a BA. But ahead of a department at Cambridge once admitted that MAs were “a money-making racket for universities”, the admission made everybody wonder whether the many that will drift into MA studies because it has become the done thing or because he or she thinks it improves career prospects will be spending their time valuable.
Role of UPSC exams
Then there is the option offered by Union Public Services Commission exam coaching centres. With small pictures of successful past students, their front-page newspaper advertisements are peppered. No mention is made of all those who failed. It is roughly estimated that five lakh aspirants are expected to compete for 782 vacancies this year. The coaching centres are crammers, cramming useless knowledge and exam-passing techniques into students’ heads. Many students spend a whole academic year in this questionable pursuit.
Yet another reason prevailing among students is the conceit. For instance, students who have cleared school and colleges through organic skills may be tainted by arrogance and lack of sympathy for those less talented. The minds of those who get high marks by hard slogging, the swots, may well be narrowed by hours spent studying when they should have been pursuing other mind-broadening activities.
The third educational opportunity BA graduates go for which is regarded as of questionable value is the MBA or Master of Business Administration. It is complete enough to say that Martin Parker who taught in business schools for 20 years recently wrote an article in The Guardian: “Why we should bulldoze the Business School.” Further his thoughts on business schools were widely regarded as “intellectually fraudulent places fostering a culture of short-termism and greed.” One of the flaws in the MBA is that instead of encouraging practical knowledge students are taught to rely on theoretical knowledge and not encouraged to respect domain knowledge, knowledge gained from experience on the ground. They emerge thinking they know an awful lot only to find they know awfully little.
One can standardize the options into three categories and figure out if they lack contact with the reality of India. The MAs remain cosseted in the unreal university world. The ultimate purpose UPSC exam is entirely based on passing the exams. The MBAs often escape to America. Wherever they study they only think about avoiding reality by entering the unreal corporate world.