One of the missing pieces, a big one, in the Education-to-Employment conversation is what role does the employer play.
We know that a large number of graduates come out of school and can not find a job. Educators, in some cases resistant to the idea that a job should be seen as an outcome of education, are being held responsible for what is becoming a big social problem. Policy makers and Media are leading the conversation and demanding greater accountability, for a successful outcome defined by productive economic engagement (job or enterprise, whatever), from the educators. Several new-age Education institutions are exploring different educational models tied more closely to the outcome, including more responsive curriculum, pedagogy that mirror workplace practices, intensive career preparation for senior students as well as setting up facilities such as incubation centres connecting students with Capital and networks to start their enterprise. In summary, despite resistance from some quarters, the educational institutions are increasingly open to the outcome expectations placed on them by everyone else.
What about employers though? The dominant idea is to treat them as consumers of education. I would tend to think that this is broadly shared by the employers themselves. We have a business to run, they tend to say, and educators must prepare the students so that they find work. This is commonly accepted, and we see the Education-to-Employment as a value chain, students come to school, schools prepare them and employers hire them. We expect the employers to be meritocratic and only hire the best candidates, and hence, place the onus on the schools to meet the requirements.
The question is, though, whether the Education-to-Employment problem can be solved this way. It is a problem to be solved, because graduate unemployment erodes the legitimacy of education, and in the end, of the whole middle class society. While educators have some, even may be the primary, responsibility, can they really make a dent without active participation of the employers? Is it okay to see the Education-to-Employment as a value chain, or should we view this more as an ecosystem, with employers playing a more engaged role? Can one really design responsive curriculum when employers are not really responsive? Why do we accept that the employers must be meritocratic but education must be democratic? And, if we do, and allocate education a more crucial role in maintaining democratic societies, why would not this preference reflect in our policy-making, where we would put the interests of the 'Job Creators' first? Do employers really create jobs, or merely consume Human Resources?
If we eschew the socialist rhetoric, which may put the interests of business owners and everyone else in opposing, conflicting terms, we should see that there should be a common interest in educating people from all quarters. We are all beneficiaries of an educated society, and employers themselves are products, not just consumers, of the same. There should be no essential irrationality in employers getting engaged in education (though the stock markets may not think so) and in fact, every strategic reason to do so.
However, despite all the common sense appeal, today's employers may be too de-materialised, too wedded to the stock market, and disconnected from the community to care. The common conception puts them almost outside the society, a sort of independent economic agent which should be exempt from all sorts of public accountability, including paying taxes in some cases. Imagine, particularly, the role the large multinational companies play in developing countries, such as India or the Philippines. They are usually invited by the governments of these countries, with tax exemption and other sops, to set up shop there, so that local people can have the jobs. They operate completely outside the social dynamic, without the responsibility to change anything in these countries. If the education system fails to deliver and they can not find educated people, they leave. And, these are only extreme examples. The cold logic of business applies to all sorts of companies. Today, the stock market logic will drive an American manufacturer to send the production to China, and even a start-up would rather hire programmers in a low-cost location. The business of business is business, as Economists will say, and we have surely accepted that.
This may indeed be the core of the education-to-employment problem. This logic would surely lead an employer to automate operations and incur capital expenses, rather than engaging themselves into education provision (other than hands off CSR, which is often too little and too disconnected). As we know with other pesky issues such as the climate, ecosystems fail when one constituent starts to assert its divine right to consume. The education-to-employment problem may indeed be quite similar.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
There is no other city like Kolkata for me: It is Home. The only city where I don't have to find a reason to go to, or to love. It is one city hardwired into my identity, and despite being away for a decade, that refuses to go away. People stay away from their homeland for a variety of reasons. But, as I have come to feel, no one can be completely happy to be away. One may find fame or fortune, love and learning, in another land, but they always live an incomplete life. They bring home broken bits of their homeland into their awkward daily existence, a cushion somewhere, a broken conversation in mother tongue some other time, always rediscovering the land they left behind for that brief moment of wanting to be themselves. The cruelest punishment, therefore, for a man who lives abroad is when his love for his land is denied. It is indeed often denied, because the pursuit of work, knowledge or love seemed to have gotten priority over the attraction of the land. This is particularly
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
In our age, the only way to be politically correct is to be democratic. This is a post-70s affair - those days, still, some people had alternative ideologies in mind. Those alternate ideas are dead and gone, long discredited, and it seems that we have only one system which can make people happy, free and live longer. So, we have this huge export industry of democracy, and democracy's warriors, which the American security establishment has lately become. The democracy's businessmen, the bond traders, the media barons and the Hollywood types, are feted everywhere. The consensus is deafening and dumbing. It is indeed awkward to ask now - whether democracy is the right system for every society. It indeed should be. Collective wisdom is better than individual autocracy. In societies where democratic elections have been few and far between, the popular vote has demonstrated the extra-ordinary political savvy of the usually disinterested masses. Democracy has proved to be an excell
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.