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Preventing Vulnerabilities through Higher Education

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Education has a meaningful role to play in preventing India’s large youthful populace from slipping into “vulnerabilities” by creating “greater resilience” in  the society. Prof R S S Mani, Vice President of Institutional Development, ITM Group of Institutions, writes on-

Higher Education at large can play the role of preventing vulnerabilities by creating the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties in society. The classic definition of education is “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”. Education is a process of deliberate and continuous learning which can be acquired at any point of time and at any age. Empowerment is promoted and developmental benefits are ensured through fundamental rights of every citizen.

It is noticed that the upliftment of society is through elevation over social and economical conditions marginalised through sections of the society. It not only helps us through lifetime improvisation but teaches us to conduct ourselves through life by following certain rules and regulations giving us a sense of conscience. It makes us more confident to go out in the real world and achieve things. The importance of education and specifically higher education are recognised worldwide as a tool to enhance progress and make the world a better place to live in.

It is significant that education plays an important role in strengthening democracy while working on perfecting it. Acknowledging that India is at a stage where the greater priority is also increasing the employability of the youth, the heart of higher education system “should not be only building a just society, but also building a sense of justice’’.

A substantial change that is currently trending is the rapid emergence of skill based courses in areas such as retailing, banking, selling, mobile repairing, embroidery, fashion and jewellery design to name a few. These courses are typically of short duration ranging from 3 to 12 months maximum and include a great amount of practical training. They are skill based and the theory content is optimum; exams are often based on practicals and offline/ online quizzes. Many of them include a job guarantee and this make these courses very attractive to the applicants. However, students need to be aware that as many of these do not yet qualify as programmes with academic recognition as per our current education system. However, the demand for these is very high as assured jobs within a short period of course completion makes it a very attractive proposition for the younger generation. However the government through the NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation) has instituted a system to recognise some of these skill based programmes to ensure academic rigor and standardisation. More efforts are on in this direction and once this is institutionalised will bring about a change in the employment patterns in the country. Another innovation that is the need of the hour is to allow flexibility in completion of a course and to allow genuine breaks followed by the student to pace his/her education based on his comfort. Further we could have system that the students can acquire learning on a continuous basis and get certified upon completion of certain milestones, e.g. a certificate post writing an exam after six months, a diploma after a year and a degree after two years with the caveat that they should complete the degree within four years of starting the education. This will allow a good blend of theory and practice and also minimise dropouts during the education process. This has also led to establishment of new institutions and private universities and several colleges over the metros, mini metros and even smaller towns.

As higher education serves many purposes towards vulnerabilities, planning on the other hand suggests ways to prevent vulnerabilities.

Ways to prevent vulnerability:
1 Career Preparation

Higher education helps prepare a better future for the individual as more education will help in getting better jobs and higher salary. It also spreads awareness on blind faith and superstitions that bog down the society.

2 Personality Development
Higher education feature advanced writing and verbal assignments such as research and presentation. Personality development can be pursued through the same. Not only that, it also helps in enhancing critical thinking skills i.e. the ability to think well and act well.

3 Identification of skills
Young individuals may find that they have skills they didn’t know they had as they are exposed to new things and new ideas in a higher education environment. You may be surprised to find that you excel at a certain type of math, have a knack for dancing or want to read more from a certain author. There are many countless things to know that will broaden your prospects in life and pursuing higher education will expose you to many of them which also give them a sense of accomplishment.

4 Pursuing of Passion
Higher education helps pursue passion since the individual is able to identify its own skills. This is perhaps the least-accepted reason, culturally, to pursue higher education. Time and commercial investment of post secondary school should only be pursued with concrete career goals in mind. Following our passions is an extremely important component of a healthy, well-lived life.

It is here that a career coach or a mentor can be of great help. Very often, many people consider that visiting a counselor is a sign of one's own ignorance. However, the fact is that the counselor can give you lots of invaluable information in an unbiased manner that can help you make the right choices.

The importance of education and specifically higher education are recognised worldwide as a tool to enhance progress and make the world a better place to live in

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