Corporate Attack On Higher Education

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It was recently that the writer was reading about how Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) which have fixated their roots in India create job opportunities at the cost of higher learning. That article opened a new light in which highly-applauded increasing numbers (not rate) of youth employment can be seen. And such was the light that the writer here finds it necessary to mention.

The article read that these Multi-National Corporations are way ahead of their Indian counterpart in terms of working conditions and pay rate. So much so that it is only natural for any graduate to fall in terms in order to get a job here. (By the way, did you know that Infosys has scrapped formal wear as a compulsion in their offices?) Well the writer (both of this article and of the one in consideration) would do the same considering the benefits of getting into any MNC. But what we largely fail to consider is that if this continues, the economy will have a good number of industrialists to boast of, but none of the educators to impart the same rules of business or the theories of economics to the next generation. The logic, for every graduate who enters into business while he/she had interest and potential in research, the country loses a replacement for existing research or teaching staff. Now when the existing batch of teachers would reach their retirement, the country would literally have no one to enter the field in their place.

The writer here do not aim to suggest that Multi-National Corporations are bad for the economy. What the writer do aim to point out is that there is a whole new facet to Global Economy concept and MNCs that we have to read today. How these corporations affected the economy a few years back is no more the standard to how these are affecting the economy now. Time changes, concern changes!

According to University Grant Commission (UGC) report of 2013-14, an estimated 22849 PhDs and 20425 M.Phils were awarded degree in a year. If we consider the population rate of our country, the numbers do not even come close to 5%. In the same year, the number of employed had risen by 29650 thousand, as per the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Now the writer is not taking this figure to suggest that 29650 thousand were taken out of the education sector to the corporate one. This figure is expected to include:

  • Previously unemployed, who were out of work and were looking out for a job opportunity.

  • Those who were provided jobs under government schemes. This category includes both unskilled labour which enrolled in for Rural and Urban Employment Programs and skilled labour who received a job after years of searching, through government employment exchanges.

  • Those who were initially incapable to work and through training and skill enhancement had entered the working population count.

  • Those who were uninterested to work earlier but had started looking for jobs in 2011-2013.

Now it is to note that the last two categories are intentionally excluded when the Government of India makes a count of working population of the country. And when people from these categories enter the working population count, the numbers go up in proportion to the shift! But even if we count 1% of the figure, the number is still considerable enough to say that a large proportion of graduates had shifted to work back in 2013-14.

The scenario needs a check from both sides. It is of of no avail to ask MNCs or graduates to not take up jobs, because that is as idiosyncratic as it sounds. But we need to raise the understanding that PhDs and researches are no less. We need to see education as not something that needs to be gulped down for a specific number of years lest society should consider you a failure, but something that will make you imbibe the power of logic and reasoning. We need to focus less on quantity (of money) and more on quality (of life), less on survival and more on living! Let’s break the mirage which makes getting into MNC someone’s aim of life, a life has clearly more meaning than that. And when we would have achieved this ideal state, let the choice between education and corporation be left on to the individual. Because if we are talking about individual’s right to decide about his/her future, let’s clear the harbour for their judgement!

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