Can academic qualifications help alone to make it big in life?

Picture38In our society we are tremendously obsessed with academic qualifications; as a result, we check qualifications of the bride and groom before finalizing matrimony, before giving membership in a club, an association, a forum, in a sports club, while applying for a job, qualifications are checked. A person’s aptitude, ability and skill are judged by his/her academic qualifications. Any bio-data résumé or curriculum vitae are deplorable without the inclusion of education qualifications. Therefore it is an impromptu rule of both the corporate world and the social world that a man’s academic qualification is a key to his entry to a coveted position in society.

Picture39Education does help add finesse to life; it helps developing moral, civic values. It prepares us with good manners, proper behavior, hygienic living. Aacademic education gives people an encompassing experience of life, with lots of opportunities to meet people from different walks of life and to consider the importance in life of values and culture. These are necessary for a person’s growth. Educated citizens help in building a civilized nation. It uplifts our morals and ethics by exposing us to the great thinkers of the past. It makes us aware of our rights and liberties, and helps establish a liberal democracy with active citizens and an active media.

But when we spend twelve years of our life in schooling, and several more years of our precious life in college on graduation and often post graduation, and then one fine day it strikes us that our degrees are not required for success; why because Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Dhirubhai Ambani and many other rich people were schools dropouts and they built great fortunes!! Unfortunately the materialistic world has changed the concept of success.

We are also a fixated society about grades in qualifications. We have a wrong notion that grades alone can help getting success in life. If success and opportunities were measured by grades then the corporate world and potential marriage partners would not ask for bio-data, where other credentials are also mentioned. Nor would they interview the candidates in order to find out what they are like as people. Education helps us modify our people skills, our thinking, our character and our inventiveness. It prepares us for life life’s success. IT helps in honing our physical characteristics, personality, and a willingness to work hard. Grades are really irrelevant.

Picture40We have somewhere misinterpreted grades/marks in education. We attach so much importance to marks that it has become a rat-race where every student chases grades and therefore the entire perception of success and affluence has changed. Rather than studying to reach one’s full potential, children simply mug up for examinations. Further, they get frustrated when they don’t get jobs. More time is spent in job hunting than in education. Many people find themselves in the wrong profession and lacking job satisfaction. The business atmosphere is highly politicized, favoritism plays key role, and we see wrong people in big positions. In short, our idea of education has got mistaken, our idea of prosperity is mistaken, and our definition of success is changed. With so many years of education finally we misread that if anyone is able to save his/her job then he/she is successful!

Picture41If we look at some very successful people in the world, who are doctors, engineers, researchers and IT, professionals, many of them are employed by people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Ambani who have built empires devoid of formal educational qualifications.

Does education corrupt minds? I think yes, because by going to schools and college students do rote learning and taking multiple examinations. It forces people to learn and think like millions of other graduates. This spoils chances of some brilliant minds which can come up with the truly mould-breaking insights and “disruptive” ideas on which successful innovations and new business models are built. Our education is not outcome based; today’s students cannot implement and apply what they have learned, they are not capable of putting their knowledge into practice in an increasingly complex and challenging environment. The emphasis, therefore, should be on practical, sensible, workable learning — rather than simply accumulating information which becomes outmoded in shorter span.

Picture42And what about those fake degrees sold by thriving illegal rackets in the market? So many dubious agents are selling degrees and people are buying them. Nexus between state universities, education intermediaries and private/public educational institutions are flouting norms, often jeopardizing the careers of students by conferring on them a degree, which may not be legitimate. And, if such students get trapped, he/she loses job, reputation and chances of making a decent living thereafter.

Picture43Another question is raised against academic qualification – that is whether it can stop us from becoming a civilization of drunkards, rapists, war-mongers, immoral money launders, criminals, and villains. If you look at countries where the largest numbers of people have higher academic qualifications, they are the ones most affected by social breakdown. Can we call America a successful nation for its wars on Iraq and Afghanistan? Can we call it superior by any chance? Can we call Russia a mighty nation for creating the Crimean crisis? Can we call some fluent Indian and Pakistani politicians wise for not solving the Kashmir issue? Are the “educated” politicians of India and Pakistan solving problems of the innocent Kasmiris?  India and Pakistan have fought at least three wars over Kashmir, but still the problem is not resolved.  Does education teach us to delay and drag important decisions?

Academic qualifications may not be enough on their own to ensure success, but they indicate that their possessor has got courage, daring, moral values to speak out against any kind of injustice. I think it’s high time we bring in changes in our education system. Today’s academic qualifications have no real relevance to the jobs graduates are employed to do. A few decades ago employers in areas such as banking, engineering, management and government service recruited people straight from school at the age of 15 or 16, trained them on the job and promoted them to higher levels of responsibility according to their ability. And, those people contributed to the growth of businesses and society.  Today none of these jobs has changed very much, but all of them require applicants with university degrees. Why has this changed? One reason is that the upper and middle classes are trying to protect their own jobs – demanding new recruits have expensive academic qualifications.

Picture44Our nation needs an education system that excites and stimulates children, providing them with the learning they need and be worthy of to accomplish their potential.  This means we need a curriculum of practical and vocational learning alongside theoretical study. This need for change has become more and more critical.  Let’s except a simple fact that the world has changed whereas our education system has not changed. The gap is very big. Indeed, it is largely based on a system developed over a century ago. Our assessment standards need change, our pedagogies need change, and we need to educate teachers first. Let’s not make our schools and colleges mere factories churning out graduates – where children are placed on a learning conveyor belt, then sorted, packaged and labeled with degrees.

And finally please understand this – academic qualifications are futile if they are not helping you to lead a happy and peaceful life.

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Over the course of my life, I have done all possible jobs that one can think of – front desk assistant, telephone operator, clerical work, accounts assistant, inventory officer, sales woman, sales manager, tutor, lecturer, professor, director...etc. The range of job designations and experience of working in diverse roles has given me strength to think, help people, increase customer satisfaction, promote products, and off course build brands. When I look back at my career, in some jobs I excelled, in some I continued with odds. But the fact is that the diversity in my career has strengthened me as a person and definitely enhanced my skills. Every job taught me something or the other. I love meeting people, reading, travelling, listening to music, cooking, gardening, teaching, writing. Blogging has been a recent addition and am loving it. It has become my biggest hobby. Blogging has changed my life. My blog is wide-ranging manifestation of the way I think. I am a creative individual; I write because I have the urge to translate expressions of life. Over the years I studied and added some degrees as well. I have a PhD in Marketing Management from University of Pune, a post doctoral D.Litt (Doctor of letters) from Mumbai University in strategic management. I am a Professor of Management Studies with 16 years of teaching experience and have over 20 years industry experience. My core teaching areas are Marketing Strategy and General Management. As a teacher, I have always maintained the academic rigor in my classroom, I have always believed and practiced academic engagement while lecturing, I believe in experiential teaching-learning. I truly believe that education is interdisciplinary; therefore I have successfully guided 15 students for their PhD degree across various sectors in business management which includes a broad base of research coursework coupled with an area of specialization. I write on various management topics, research, news and higher education for students. And, the general section of articles on my blog relate to my interests in life. Happy reading to you all!

3 COMMENTS

  1. What an article written hats off for such an eye opener topic ” can academic qualification help alone to make it Big in life?” I can’t say how much I am pleased to read your article specially on such topic because it is need of the hour, even I feel that academic qualification doesn’t help alone in making it Big in life? qualification only gives good marks or grade but it can not give any assurance about the development what you will get from being educated , education you get or learn from your life but qualification measure your knowledge on the basis of degree and grades achieved in specific field or subject through some exam regarding with that particular subjects. dear madam your article has content so beautiful examples cover about the topic which one of my college professor A.Q.Shaikh used to tell me most of the time in his talk that today people are mere just qualified but not an educated one. Madam I can just tell about you that people like you are really needed for our nation building. an eye opener and true guidance for new young teaching professionals in academic field. Thank you for your wise and dedication towards the society.

  2. Excellent Article really an eyeopener !! I endorse each and every thought and idea expressed in this article. Well scripted ideas!! Madam you have chosen a very interesting and sensitive topic. Yes, many reforms need to be brought in our education system . Degrees should not be a mere rubber stamp but it should equip an individual to be sensible, responsible and independent person. An asset to the society. An all round development of personality, problem solving skills a greater understanding and awareness of the events and happenings around should be achieved through the education not just the marks. In depth knowledge and value of it should be acquired through education. This article must reach the people who design curriculum s for schools and universities and to the young high school graduates as well.

  3. I don’t know how to describe this masterpiece, education upto certain level is required.I think the practice of apprenticeship is far more better than acquiring loads of degrees without any practical knowledge. Earlier knowledge was acquired for welfare of man, his family , society at large but today it is mere a degree so as to show how sophisticated one has become..the reason to acquire has changed ultimately leading to degradation . Secondly it is pure theoretical & outdated… it is far behind as compared to the technological progress the world has made.

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