For National Growth – Level the playing field with Accessible Education


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The growth and wellbeing of a nation, state, city, village, community or a family rests on pro-active planning and follow through execution. It’s important to execute flawlessly and before even that, to plan insightfully and with a larger vision in mind.

And most importantly, yet altruistically, it runs a parallel with the human life-cycle.

When you breakdown our life-cycle, we pass through four phases in life –

  • Childhood – The all too important formative years where the foundation of future life is laid
  • Youth – The fragile years when the direction of where we are headed and what we shall become and achieve in the future is decided
  • Middle Age – The years where we leverage the learnings of the past to become productive members of society, follow dreams and aspirations we shaped over the years and strive to accomplish and succeed and in the process, shape our perceptions of the future
  • Old Age – Years of hopefully, blissful retirement with satisfaction of having done what we set out to do, of a life well lived and eager to pass our experiences to future generations

Its said that a nation’s potential is its human capital and at any point in time, its they who determine the progress, the developmental stage and the happiness and welfare quotient of that land.

For instance, a population with a highly skewed youth number, is poised for productivity and rapid growth in the coming couple of decades, if that youth is well-educated and trained. A higher older population paves the way for care opportunities for that population, however there are higher consumption metrics to serve them. A population skewed toward the younger lot, has a couple of decades of caring and training before the fruits of productivity of that population can be seen.

What’s important in all this, is the strategy embraced to prepare for optimum productivity, growth and eventual rewards of such executed strategy.

It’s a universal truth that a strong affinity to quality primary education prepares today’s kids to be inquisitive youth of tomorrow and eventually, productive citizens through several decades of their life before retiring as happy elders. The basic tenet of quality education pervades throughout the life of any person and helps shape their wellbeing, prosperity and happiness throughout their life. Yet, a quality primary education is a pipe dream for several millions of kids.

Education is every kid’s right, however, its violated blatantly among the poor and underprivileged in the developing countries.

Let’s compare and contrast US & India. The public school system is so strong and of such great quality in the US, that the majority of the kids make their way through it. It’s almost free for everyone since, taxes collected contribute to support it. Some of the best schools in the country are public schools thus, ensuring everyone has equal access to the system, irrespective of their  economic status. There are private schools that come at a price and only a privileged few use them. However, you can debate that they are in no way any better than the public schools.

On the contrary, in India, there are several government schools and private schools. However, there are a large number of private schools that charge exorbitant fees to enroll students. The government schools lack basic infrastructure, have ill trained teachers who are on a government payroll and for all intensive purposes, irrespective of performance, may keep their jobs. The education quality is also not at par with private schools. As a result, those who can afford it, flock the private schools and the underprivileged, if they can afford to not work and study, are left to attend the government schools. With the education, they get there, not many may have the option to blossom to their true potential. Government is a large entity in India and can support the best of infrastructure and support system for education, with the kind of funds they have. Government should look into a total turnaround of our education system and schools to turn government schools to the defacto places, every kid should flock to, irrespective of their economic status. That is how, you level the playing field and equip entire generations to be at their best, eventually taking a nation forward. The private school system should not be the default, but a choice for those who still want to go there, although it may be comparable to government schools. It can be done and that mindset and culture change needs to occur in India. After all, when we can have internationally renowned government sponsored Engineering and Management schools in India that attract even international students, why can’t we set our government schools to be these enviable facilities imparting the best of education? Much can be done through strategic private-public partnership to accelerate that change in evolving the Indian primary and secondary education system. What do you think?

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What does success mean to you?


Yesterday, I called an old friend in India. His 6 year old son picked up the phone and we chatted for a few minutes. The kid was animated about an event at home from a few days ago and started relating it to me. His grandpa was felicitated by a group of people who came from different places. I asked him who they were and what did they felicitate him for. He replied that they were a group of 60, some seemed young and some older and they had come from different places in India. Some were from abroad too. They came together to honor his grandpa, their teacher from years ago. The little one was thrilled to see the happy crowd and a happier grandpa. My friend took the phone next, had an equally excited tone and talked about how thrilled everyone was to come together and honor his father! Sept. 5th was teacher’s day in India and these students of his dad from over the years, took the time to come over and meet his father and the family; reminisce about times they had spent together and thank him for shaping their lives. By the time, I let go of the line, I was excited too!

Isn’t it amazing? These erstwhile students made an effort to get together, meet and greet their teacher and show their gratitude. He must have been a wonderful teacher to have left such an indelible mark on these students that they came looking for him. I consider him a very successful teacher.

Success means many things to many people. What does it mean to you? Revenue, profits, bank balance, power, position, a luxurious lifestyle, large cars, bigger homes, etc.

When you really look at the core of any job done; there are two things that matter. At the point in time, do you enjoy what you do and are you giving it your best? Your ultimate goal might be to become a CEO and run your own company or more generically, is at the pinnacle of your career, but you may not be there yet. Right now, this moment, there is a job you do and you are responsible and accountable for it. Do you take that seriously? If you do, you ought to give it your best. Your best will translate into the best possible results on the job no matter how they are measured. With this affable demeanor, you will make associations that take note and these combined with the results you show pave the path to your dreams. Going back to the two things I mentioned, they are enjoying what you do so you can give it your best. That itself is true success! Everything else is an outcome.

The emoluments of a job and the perks that come along with it are outcomes, not success. Success lies in the relationships you make along the way, the lives that you impact and improve, the lessons you learn and impart, inspiration you provide and the respect you command. What one would consider as success in terms of material wealth or better lifestyle are all outcomes of the success you cherish.

Outcomes, as we discussed are natural results of a job well done. Is it a crime to aspire for outcomes? Not at all, but when you focus only on outcomes instead of enjoying what you do and giving it your best, the success measures get compromised and it all remains just that, aspiration and never a reality.

True success is in the relationships you build and maintain over time. There is an old saying that inspires us to count our blessings in the friends and supporters we have. Look for success in your friendships, camaraderie and in a job well done. Trust me, all else that shapes a happy and fulfilled life must and will follow through.