I was on my way to my hometown for much awaited Diwali vacations. As I was travelling alone, I decided to opt for the public transport. I was lucky enough to get a seat from Pune to Jamkhed (located 200 KM from Pune in south central Maharashtra) despite of buses overflowing with people who like me, were going back to their hometown for Diwali celebration. There are only two direct buses for my connecting journey from Jamkhed to Ieet and I had given up all my hopes to get a seat on this stretch.
After couple of hours of waiting, I finally managed to get inside a crowded bus. I was relieved that at-least I managed to find some space for my luggage. While standing I decided not to plug-in my earphones and keep my eyes and ears wide open. This is the time when I came across Candidate A.
She along with her friends got into bus. Looking at her age she must be in her 11th or 12th class. She came across a lady in her mid-thirties who must be from her hometown. After initial greetings our Candidate A asked a curious question to the lady.
“Which career I should opt after 12th? Do you think engineering is good for me or medical or should l look beyond them? “
I was not able to hear the detailed advice she received but looking at her face it was obvious that she was still clueless. During the rest of my journey I was thinking despite having information on their fingertips (yes she was carrying a smartphone) she is still clueless about what she should aim at for her higher studies. By the time she will get the answer it might be too late for her to pursue the same.
I finally arrived at my village and since its a small village it took little time for people in our social circle to know that I am around. These people have vague idea about my work but most of them think that I can help them getting jobs in town. With the same hope a family friend had sent his son to meet me. This is how I met our Candidate B.
Candidate B looked quite depressed when I met him. When asked about his background he told me that he has completed his engineering (that too with a distinction from a good college) end up doing sundry jobs after that. Someone told him to get a better job he needs to do an MBA. So he enrolled for a distance education program. This program helped him to acquire a degree but not a single noteworthy skill-set to get a better job. After 5 years of continuous struggle he gave up and went into the state of depression and even had to go to rehabilitation center to recover.
These two stories have something common. Both of these candidate despite of having POTENTIAL are not sure about their future. They compelled me to ask a question
when we will talk about loss of potential in this country?
India as a country made up of young population always boasts that demographic dividend as its biggest advantage but the same is turning into the biggest challenge. As a country we talk about nature loss, environment loss, economic loss but when we would start talking about the alarming ‘Potential Loss’ we are facing? The young men and women who are bustling with potential are losing their hopes either because there are no jobs or lack of jobs which can meet their aspirations. Thus resulting into unemployment and underemployment both causing serious problems to our social fabric.
Our education is still focusing on getting degrees than necessary skills. We don’t have a mechanism to identify the different talents possessed by individuals’ in their young age and accordingly guide them to pursue matching careers. Our higher education is reduced to a setup to make money out of the candidates’ plight. These problems don’t have easy solutions. They could not be solved by announcing some ‘popular schemes’ by government but need more concrete efforts. The first step for countering any challenge is to estimate how big it is. For the same when we will start looking at ‘potential loss’ as one of the biggest challenge this country is witnessing?