The Indian Educational Caste System
and here’s an article that talks about the truth of
that the newspapers keep on featuring.
Both the statistics and the report are very interesting…and disquieting. I too detest these “highest salary” reports in the newspapers…it seems to reduce management to just money and nothing else..and of course, the exaggeration and mis-reporting makes it worse.
But then, we Indians are like that vunly. Can you imagine another country where topping the entrance exam is considered a huge achievement in itself (IIT JEE) Yes, I know it’s a tough exam with lakhs of applicants, but it IS an entrance exam, after all…and I hate the fact that the top graduates from IIT seem (yes, even now) to migrate to “foreign” shores….
We have a very entrenched “caste system” to our education too…right from school.Science is best. Commerce comes next, Arts (Humanities) being the Pariah…. and even in the high-brahmin “engineering” stream there are sub-castes that are less desirable..I was asked, “Why does your daughter want to take Architecture when she scored good marks?” KM, a pure Brahmin in the ECS (Educational Caste System) with his IIT-IIM background, committed the folly of marrying a very low-caste me (English Honours and Philosophy post-graduate, and not even a doctorate to mitigate the situation…no degrees in music, even, in spite of 15 years of classical vocal training, and going for courses like German and Japanese and Tourist Guide Training….!)
A liberal arts education is equal to a “useless degree”(yes, I have heard many people use that term!) in our country. When I studied English and Philosophy, I was asked what I would do for a job. When I learnt German, I was asked WHY I was learning it. I cannot believe that we are the land of the Vedas….our “learning” seems entirely money-, job-, and achievement-oriented. Where is the love of learning that should inform any good educational system, side by side with professional and vocational education?
I didn’t realize that I was also tainted by this “caste-system” until I found myself very apprehensive of meeting all the “highly-qualified” classmates of KM’s from IIM-A…and when I did meet them, I found that instead of looking down on my lack of professional education, they appreciated so many other things about me….! That’s when I stepped out from thinking of myself as “only an Arts post-graduate”, and understood that the process of learning never stops, and that different fields of learning are as valuable as one another. But…the Indian educational system…doesn’t seem to think so! Only the ability to earn, it seems, is important in a degree.
Well, perhaps we are not alone in this, I’ve always detested the publicity given to those million-dollar advances for writers, and to those who are in the running (or ultimately win) the Booker Prize, as if the others are of no account…but we as a country certainly seem more prone to this. “So…is your son ‘well settled’?” is a way of asking, “Is your son earning well?” Last week, too, I spoke to someone in the temple at St.Louis who proudly told me how much his sons were earning in the US and how they had bought this, that and the other…“well settled” indeed!
Er, end of rant….! Any thoughts from the rest of you?