Thursday, 31 May 2012

Something is Wrong!

It’s been almost one and a half months since I wrote my 12th grade Board Examinations. During this period everyone, be it family or strangers that I met ask me one question, “Which Engineering College are you planning to join?” Or “Which Engineering course are you intending to study?” I replied honestly that I had no intention to do so and they give me a weird look. Their reaction, as I understand, is of disbelief and pity. They pitied ‘my foolishness’ to have ignored the hallowed 'engineering' field. 

It’s almost blasphemy for a science student to think beyond Engineering and Medicine. Let me give you a few statistics. 
India produces 7,50,000 engineers every year. Of these, almost 40% scout for a job for almost a year, while around 22 % take almost two years before bagging a job.
There are more than 2,00,000 unemployed engineers in India.
Only 25% engineering graduates in India are employable.
Most of the students who join private engineering colleges have only around 50 to 60% marks in their 12th grade. (Most of these students are forced by their parents to pursue a career in Engineering.)
Who is to be blamed for this pathetic situation? I’m not willing to spare anyone!


Parents are increasingly becoming disappointed, not because their child did not get an engineering admission but an IIT coaching institute’s admission! I do not question the intentions of the parents; they want the best for their children. Unfortunately, most parents do not understand their own child’s pluses and minuses. Is it right to force a child to write IITJEE and AIEEE, when he/she is not able to pass simple Physics class tests? Parents need to move beyond “My son/daughter is studying engineering” now almost a fashion statement. What values are they imparting to the children, when they ‘buy’ seats for a few lakhs? Is education like potatoes and tomatoes to be bought in the market? 

To quote Kahlil Gibran,

Your Children are not your Children
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

Parents have no right to impose their dreams and aspirations on their children. Parents need to shed this "what-will-others-think" syndrome. They need to sit down and discuss with an open mind as to what the child is interested in and allow him to pursue his dreams.


Currently, schools are busy with rat race for marks. When your teacher is more interested in teaching you what might and what might not come for the examination rather than the concepts, you know something is wrong. When there is no freedom of speech in morning assemblies or space for radical thoughts/experimentation, schooling kills individualism.

It is high time that the focus must be on careers and not marks. Career counselling must be introduced in schools. Schooling must be a period where you discover yourself and bring out your individuality. Schools must not be a factory churning out conveyor belt products.

Students Themselves

If, at the age of 18 you are not able to decide your fate, I confess I find it rather hard to believe. When you can rebel for smart phones and bikes, what stops you from raising your voice for your Own life? At times, it is not absolutely necessary to be an obedient child. But you know your limitations better than anyone, even your parents. Have the courage to say ‘No’ without being a rebel. Yes its difficult, but not Impossible!

In the information era, ignorance is definitely no excuse. Students need to understand that internet is not just about Facebooking and tweeting. Why not use Google to check on fields beyond engineering? Why have we all forgotten Robert Frost’s ‘Road Not Taken’ poem which we learnt in the 9th grade? 

Sadly the material world has made 'Money' the single motivating factor for many aspirants. It is a vicious cycle. Parents pay for a degree; the student wants the returns as soon as possible sometimes to pay off loans, but most often it is in the pursuit of harvesting money. India is blessed with a demographic dividend. It could all become a myth, if the youth lack values and vision. Here I find it necessary to say, I admit there are exceptions. 

There are numerous other bright career opportunities available including civil and defence services. India needs vibrant and robust youth, who can take the country forward.  

The purpose of humanity is self expression. What are you going to express when you have mortgaged yourself to an engineering college? Your purpose is not to fall in line with majority but to fight against the odds.

In conclusion, it is my humble request, 

Dear Friend, Have the courage to pursue your dreams. Take up a career which  you love. 

Karthik Narayan

@karthiknarayan1 on Twitter

The writer has just completed his Twelfth Board Exams successfully.

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