Education is much more than IT skills, right?
Education is multi-functional and multi-dimensional
Education certainly can’t be but an economic and social reality

Corporates call for merit is unrealistic and very soon the broader reality would impact on this very selfish and very short-sighted and even a sort of egotistic hemonism! At any rate, the latest CII position is much more refreshing and gives hope for affirmative action. If the Americans think it is needed why not we in India with our own many traditional disabilities halting the country’s march towards a world-admiring democracy?

Now, we have four billion dollar IT majors: TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Satyam. There is a new bullishness in the outlook of our IT majors who employ a few lakh of highly skilled graduates. The outsourcing business is also growing steadily, this year the global outsourcing is put at 22 billion businesses.

Mr.S.Ramadorai, MD of TCS has made the observation that India might fall “short of at least half a million employable graduates by 2010″.

Ramadorai has identified some gaps and the skills needed. Communication skills are very critical factor. Working in teams, collaborate, dialogue and innovate, good listening skills, analytical skills and willingness to learn, the ability to simplify to meet user demand, the depth of understanding of a particular subject are some of the skills noted by the TCS chief.

He had also dealt with curriculum development, infrastructure, faculty and laboratory, the complexity beyond the IITs and IIMs into other colleges/institutions are also critical.
He had also mentioned how much responsibility for the education institutions and how much responsibility rests on the hiring companies are also to be taken into account.

The point is that what the corporate leaders, however high-minded they are, have got to say on education narrow downs to their own immediate business pressures, right? Mr.Ratan Tata says: shun fear! Fine! Narayanamurthy says improving probity in public life and combating corruption is important. CII new chief wants to create 100 more billion dollar companies in India. Who can quarrel with such high-minded views?

But the reality has to be seen in its totality. IT companies employ the best and brightest? May be. But they employ only a minuscule percentage of graduates and the rest are not sitting idle either. There is a whole world of the large geography outside the IT campuses, right?
No IT or corporate captain talks of the great national goals: education for all, health for all, education of the girl child, the need for action for clean environment, water security, food security, the vast mass of the Indian villages, the needs of the mass of people, ensuring a transparent governance etc.

Education itself needs first and foremost a clear vision for India of the present and the future. Our education goals expand as our education needs also expand, right?

More so, now India is also embarking on some unknown and uncharted territory. The nuclear deal with the USA is also a complex affair when we have to walk carefully to find our feet in the world as a mature, responsible large power.

For this we need great many leaders, our democracy needs leader of calibre and our politics too needs new types of more qualified and more morally upright people. All this can’t be detached from what sort of education priorities we are articulating for this generation.

As we see our education is still much neglected by all “stake-holders”.
We can’t take the IT industry needs more seriously than what we should take as more serious, the goal of universalisation of elementary education. Also the other social sector goals.

Educators, we mean the serious independent -minded(not the retired bureaucrats or the ones in government pay) educators and thinker’s duty is to point out how some sections hijack the education priorities for the total neglect of attaining the Millennium Development Goals further postponed.

– V.ISVARMURTI

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