Reflections and Interests: What Comes Next
Rather, this is my latest attempt to shake up the insularity of Higher Ed types, who, ensconced in their own privileged perches, want to hide away from the worldwide change in jobs and professions solely by handing out degrees, through grade inflation. By this, they end up doing two things: One, they promote a false elite who have little morality or responsibility, who in turn promote wrong values and undermine efforts to build community, protect environment or enable committed citizenship; and two, they make countless others feel bad, disconnect, and live in a life of helplessness. While the destruction of our economic lives, corruption of our institutions, waning of our ideals and desperation of our generations all point to the emptiness of this credentials game, no one, absolutely no one, want to challenge the status quo: Everyone has so much to lose here.
Successful subversion, however, use the system against the system, and I see vocational education, or the unthinking version that goes with the name, is the weakness embedded in the system. The current neo-liberal love of the creed, primarily as a modern day workhouse, opens up a space for disruption of education as a whole. There is an enabling structure for a different kind of education, which can remain under the radar and yet become very powerful; which can create successful lives of different varieties; which may help restore the dignity of work; and which can enable a different kind of values and moralities, that enable societies and make us human.
This, however, can not be done from a distance. This model has to be built, ground up, hands on, one person at a time. This, I see, is the next thing that I do. This is, in a way, my life's work, something I always wanted to do. This is something I dreamt about in my long train journeys across India, during my IT training days many many years back (truth be told, I would look out to the paddy fields at night and thank the divine for having the opportunity to travel and touch so many lives). This is admittedly idealistic and romantic, but appropriate at a time when being realistic means conforming to Wall Street's designs (and bankers' manipulations such as the game they played with LIBOR) for our lives.
Whether or not I am successful in raising the money and getting started on this, I am not abandoning the dream: I shall claim to have proved my commitment to it by sticking to it over so many years. My commercial work, which I have done successfully over a long period of time, was all a preparation for this sort of life. If it does not happen now, I shall continue to work towards it, as long as it takes. But, after so many years of travel, work, talking, writing for so many years, I have come to realise that this is the only thing I ever wanted to do.