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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Availability of govt jobs has almost dried up in Manipur state. Getting recruited into govt jobs are also extremely tough requiring bribing and having contacts with govt ministers/officials. If one compares the amount likely to incur to get a govt job with the amount one will get as salary in the lifespan of that job, it’s mostly obvious that one will be running into debt for the sake of getting a govt job. Young graduates have almost no industry jobs to work within Manipur except leaving outside Manipur to look for job. So, the question is – ‘isn’t there any other career option for young graduates in Manipur?’

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There is the saying – ‘Where there is problem, there is the opportunity waiting to be unlocked’. It’s now left to self how one approaches the problem. Another interesting saying is – ‘When you got nothing to lose, why not take the chance?’ So, how about planning to own a business as one graduates and becomes the ‘Boss of own life and other employees’.

Anyone who just passed 12th standard (i.e. 17th/18th yrs of age) is already sufficient to be in the world of business. By that age and qualification, one has got the basic education (reading, writing, calculation, social common sense, world we live in) and also, the physical and mental strengths to lead. May be what’s still missing for running/owning a business is the will power and extra guidance/tips on that business setup.

The ultimate formula for a business is based on the simple mathematics equation of ‘Profit or Loss = Selling Price – Cost Incurred’. By considering how to maneuver the parameters on right hand side of the equation, the result on the left hand can be impacted accordingly. To understand concept of a business; try to imagine how a local shop operates, how a school functions, how a rickshaw driver works, how elderly women at Keithel (i.e. Photpham Phambi) make a living, etc.

If a ‘Business’ is to be demystified, it can be viewed as activities happening in three aspects;

(1) Legal/Financial Accounting – A business needs to be a legal entity thereby requiring a registration to operate and show financial statements annually for Income Tax filing. The govt lays down regulations (including tax benefits and supports) for doing business in that industry sector and the region where it operates.

(2) Continued Justification of a Business Case – The logic behind purpose of doing business has to be appropriate at any instant of time throughout lifespan of the business. A business can’t continue to run if incurring losses beyond permissible limit of operation, or business has failed to achieve minimum targets as expected by promoters or shareholders.

(3) Sales-Production-Procurement logic – Any business goes with this concept of ‘get something’, ‘add value on that something’, and then ‘sell off that modified something by making some benefits (e.g. money)’.

While studying a degree course in a college within Manipur, a youth can focus on how to setup a business before graduating. The college may have few basic ingredients that may be helpful to the business setup – such as access to library, buildings, high bandwidth internet, academic staffs, like-minded friends, local communities, industry professionals and govt officials, etc. Also, the similar resources in Manipur University, Central Agricultural University and other higher education institutes in Manipur can be utilized for own business setup support. There are development grants provided by various govt ministries in each district which youths can apply for business setup. Also, youths can avail training support provided by state govt departments (e.g. Manipur Skill Development Society) and central govt departments (e.g. ministry of DoNER) from time to time.

What’s worth reminding herein is ‘Life is not a SPRINT, but a MARATHON’. Graduating from a college is not just the end of life or start of a career. Also, ‘What’s the difference of doing and not doing a degree course in Manipur?’ in the sense that ‘Will someone give the graduate a job in Manipur after graduation?’ Time of youth is to try to find out the purpose of life and what one is best at doing things. One may always fall back on parents to restart a life/career again till age of 20-25th yrs. All the big businesses and organizations we treasure today (e.g. Facebook, Microsoft, Apple) are built by youths in the age of 15yrs-30yrs. So, why not try and take the chance when feasible. Get a business mentor today and start thinking now.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com

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Education is imparted in a systematic approach worldwide for a purpose which is ‘sharing knowledge to inspire minds’. Though School Education may be rather about teaching and learning, but, Higher Education in college/university is more about empowering students to get a job or start a new business in their post-degree career. Unless graduates are exposed to skills and experiences during their studies (thereby finding utility latter in the job market and social environment), the time spent in college/university will amount to waste of time and effort in today’s competitive world. Thus, teaching may be considered as the main theme of education, yet ‘Employability & Enterprise’ tends to be the main objective of education from the ‘performance measure’ perspective.

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 The current education policy in Manipur state has been focusing mostly on providing teachers to schools/colleges and their transfers management, creating infrastructure, and student intake numbers; instead of any new innovation and growth aspects in education to deal with local societal needs and changing global environment. This approach may work with management of school level (up to 10th or 12th standard) institutions but ought to fail drastically when dealing management of colleges and universities. Students out of school level institutions feed into colleges and professional institutions for higher studies or on-the-job studies. If there is no better college, Manipuri students just need to leave Manipur state in post 10th or 12th std for higher studies and thus, we are seeing thousands of students leaving every year (thereby also affecting state’s economy). For higher education institutions to survive, presence of vibrant industries around to provide jobs and business setup opportunities to graduates out of those colleges/universities is also essential. Higher education institutions are source of inspiration and guide to our society by producing responsible adults with add-on values in addition to the book knowledge. Thus, education policies for school level and higher level ought to vary drastically and both need serious attention by using different approaches to deal with.

Private schools (if not govt schools) within Manipur can survive successfully; because ‘score-card and pass % of students’ (which is within the control of school management with less/no influence from other external sources) are the only benchmark used for rating schools and no other measuring aspects are currently used (e.g. extra-curricular activities, staff profile, diversity of staffs as well as students intake, health and safety on school premises, financial fees and scholarships offers, support for disability students, religious tolerance, focus on sports facilities, and promotion on traditional culture, etc). State govt also seems to focus more on school education as compared to higher education and even indicated its intention to create ‘Manipur Education Services (MES)’ similar to Manipur Civil Services (MCS) just to look after school education services. Though it may be innovative, the focus has been not yet clarified on what exactly will be role and accountability of MES officers. One MES official can be assigned per a group of schools or per zone or per district to manage the non-academic aspect of school administration; e.g. management of school infrastructures to maximize utilization factor and timely maintenance (thereby cost saving), budget management and local social impact of school to maximize benefits of govt funding and school education objectives, etc. Thus, school teachers can focus on teaching part while state education officials can focus on non-academic aspects.

State govt seems to get no clue what to do with higher education sector in Manipur. Manipur University may be responsible for academic aspects of its affiliated colleges (e.g. updating course materials, checking mandatory quantity and quality of academic staffs per college, conducting exams under the new semester system, providing certificates to graduates, etc), but, its role starts and ends with affiliation of colleges only. Also, since Manipur University is now a central university and not under state govt, it may say anytime to any govt colleges to seek for de-affiliation if unsatisfied with what/how they function. Yet, Higher Education officials seem pleased only with task of govt colleges in Manipur just getting affiliation certificate from Manipur University. State govt are supposed to work more closely than before with Manipur University to devise far-reaching higher education strategies for Manipur and transform colleges into innovation houses; thus, helping villages/towns across Manipur getting the benefits from nearby colleges apart from local youths getting college education. Because, Manipur University has already gain autonomy from state govt on what/how it likes to function, thereby state govt can’t just direct whatever it used to in the past. Thus, Higher Education officials ought to be clear on what is within their role and what is delegated to Manipur University regarding the management of govt colleges within Manipur.

We are yet to see much discussion on ‘what happens to students graduating out of colleges in Manipur (affiliated to Manipur University and other universities outside Manipur) and universities in Manipur (i.e. Manipur University, Central Agricultural University)’, and ‘how colleges/universities in Manipur ought to support students for their future careers’. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) does take employability (i.e. students getting a job on graduation) and enterprise (i.e. student enterprises in college, new startups by students, new innovation ideas/products from college, engagement with local businesses and industry professionals/alumni) as part of their rating approach for colleges and universities in India, though in less priority and less percentage focus. Sadly, ‘Employability & Enterprise’ agenda has not yet been  seen as one of the main priority areas of Higher Education policy in Manipur, though the agenda is very essential for the survival of colleges within Manipur and can transform colleges into innovation houses for benefits of local people in Manipur.

Looking from the perspective of ‘Education as a system of input, operation, and output’, questions arise like – ‘Why do we create products (degree courses) for consumers (college students) which got less utility (applications) in the local market (industry jobs)?’; ‘how much % of course contents is about hands-on application of knowledge being taught?’, ‘how much budget % is allocated per college on career development aspect as compared to staff salaries and infrastructure maintenance?’, ‘what is the policy of local business engagement for each college around course design and skill development aspects?’, ‘what is the involvement policy of alumni to support back colleges/universities?’, ‘how is other ministries in state govt (e.g. Industries & Commerce, Science & Technology, regional development agencies in each district and panchayat zones) coordinating with higher education department and various colleges from the aspect of innovation for enterprise and employability agenda?’, ‘how about satisfaction surveys from graduates every year on each college by defining performance metrics to rate each college and accordingly provide innovation funding for relevant support?’, ‘how much responsibility and accountability is assigned to the management team in each college for welfare of students and college infrastructure as compared to education ministry itself?’, ‘how the aspect of student unions in colleges currently focused on political aspects can be reoriented towards innovations around course studies?’, ‘why no plans are made to make buildings and equipments of colleges available for students’ career and skills development activities instead of leaving under-utilized in non-working hours (of evenings, weekends, and holiday breaks), ‘why no delegated staffs assigned to provide career development and enterprise creation support in each college/university?’ and, so on.

On the ‘Employability and Enterprise’ agenda, state govt may implement a hybrid model of funding and operation for higher education institutions in Manipur e.g. a centralized depository of support services (in terms of course contents, business startup funds, on-demand enterprise support services, advisory consultants/academics, equipments, a web-based knowledge resource to be accessed by representative of each college if not by every students, etc) and a localized support services per college (e.g. one-to-few teaching staffs be delegated after relevant trainings to advise on entrepreneurship and deliver enterprise support activities, or appointment of management graduates having experience in such enterprise activities).

‘Manipur Innovation Council’ chaired by Chief Minister setup in 2011 ought to look into overall higher education scenario and enable colleges and other higher education institutions to transform themselves into innovation houses to cause effective socio-economic impact to the village/town wherein they are located. Also, upcoming ‘Manipur Innovation Roadmap 2012-2020’ whose design work is currently advertised by Planning Department in Manipur State Govt through a tender process needs to incorporate concepts of making all the higher education institutes in Manipur contribute towards innovation culture in Manipur, and integrating other innovation related govt ministries with higher education institutes to empower youth as well as local businesses in easy access to necessary business support and technical know-how.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com

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We seemed to come out more worried when we got out of schools and different from how we used to be when we got in. In schools, we seemed to have pick up lots of phobia and been hardcoded to do only few predefined tasks ahead in our lives. As a kid, we used to be carefree to try new things, naughty to explore ideas out of curiosity, and daring to go roads not yet taken. For humanity to progress, we do need balancing the attitude in our school education system between protectiveness for security in future and creativity for innovation.

The complete education system ought to be seen as a structure enabling multiple entry and exit doors. Reading about ‘Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)’ of UK and European Qualifications Framework (EQF) of European Union (EU) may throw some ideas about the need to have an education framework that maps various learning programs we’ve got (such as certificate, diploma, degree, etc) into a tiered-leveling structure specifying knowledge, skills and competence imparted in each level. Not all kids go to college after schools and thus, we can visualize ‘passing out from school’ as an exit door to the society (and from the education system). So, the schools ought to impart relevant skills and visions to the kids before they pass out of school to be able to fit and contribute into the society we live.

Entrepreneurship is not merely about a course to be studied but a philosophy that needs to be embedded into our mindsets in every field of activities or studies. There isn’t a better place and time to embed entrepreneurship principles than inspiring to young minds during the school days through the school curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. Teenagers out of schools ought to feel empowered enough to explore the career each one desires with the underlying principle of ‘Entrepreneurship = Success’. Interestingly, European Commission has been investing huge time and money (in millions of Euros) to its constituent EU countries since a decade on ‘Enabling teachers as a critical success factor towards entrepreneurship education in schools’ and ‘Embedding entrepreneurship education at school in Europe through national strategies, curricula and learning outcomes’.

Latest news about inclusion of vocational courses at various schools in Manipur may seem like a welcoming thrust for socio-economic development in nearby towns/villages where the schools are located. Yet, it should not be implemented as dislocated add-on arrangement to the current educational system in place. Otherwise, strategy to implement vocational courses in schools may turn out to be a failed programme after investing huge funds in crores, time and efforts. No matter how useful the vocational courses may be, most parents will not wish their wards to study vocational courses as compared to general Science/Commerce/Arts courses in schools. We got to understand that every parents dream of their wards to be doctors, or, engineers, or, IAS officers in future; and the current implementation approach of vocational courses do not show the feasibility of vocational students to be groomed towards a long-term career than a low-level ad-hoc jobs after undertaking those vocational courses.

We need to review the current approach of school education system and come up with a combined framework that provides an appropriately balanced structure of (1) hands-on vocational skills learning, (2) embedded entrepreneurship principles, (3) instilled social responsibility ethics, and (4) imparted basics of knowledge for future. Manipur state can be the first state in India to come up with a standard education framework before other states in India (instead of just being followers always as in the past). It’s time to let go of the old concept of school being just only ‘a building with few teachers to teach local kids in pre-defined course books’.

Regarding course contents for primary school education, the basic set of courses may comprise of (1) Science & Technology, (2) Social Sciences, (3) Citizenship, (4) Languages, and (5) Physical Education. Teaching and learning methods in each course ought to have hands-on practical projects/workshops for applying theories into action both in individual as well as team modes. Inclusion of something like ‘Citizenship’ course subject (as in USA and EU countries) as part school education is very essential considering the diversity of India as a nation and Manipur’s history within India. This ‘citizenship’ course subject may focus on building social responsibility concept on growing up kids and imparting ‘common sense’ input to students for social impact locally. Also, imparting computer/Technology related contents in each of the subjects within school education is necessary to avoid viewing computer skills learning as a stand-alone subject. Lastly, inclusion of more workshops and project works in individual or team as part of school course structure is essential to apply entrepreneurship skills in action.

Regarding course contents for secondary school education, the basic set of courses may still packaged as now (science, arts and commerce streams) and yet include the aspects of (1) Applied Innovation (as add-on workshop or project works of the learned concepts in both individual and team modes), (2) Next-Career Ready Knowledge (to support students in preparing for various entrance exams to professional studies after 12th standard), (3) Exit-to-Society Ready Skills (to include vocational skills which are still useful and relevant to serve jobs for industries within the scope of science, arts and commerce streams). Current school system tends to produce ‘top scoring students’ who lacks in professional personality attribute due to current school education system not focusing on soft-skills aspect too which is in fact found to be the most critical factor to instilling leadership and management quality in one’s future professional career. Course delivery approaches ought to contain feasibility of students to speak/debate/exhibit their learning out of the teaching in classes in open forum or competitive event as applied innovation.

As just like the saying ‘A happy family produces wonderful kids’ means, we should consider welfare and working aspiration of school teachers on the similar priority level as the need for students to be taught the necessary knowledge and skills for their future. Schools (at primary and secondary levels) can be made to be more enjoyable places to interact for not only students and teachers but also among local communities around the schools. Vocational courses aligned to already delivering school curriculum may be imparted out of schools by school teachers as certificate courses (on free mode or pay-as-you-learn mode) for public in the local community either as short-term course or annual course. School teachers may be also encouraged to apply bids for funding from state govt to undertake extra-curricular projects in the local community which may complement the learning and teaching of the respective school courses; such as supporting disable students to learn, guiding teenagers outside schools to apply school learning into social activities, etc. Thus, a career in school education for school teachers may be transformed into an exciting career option and local schools can also become self-sustaining institutions by generating revenues through delivering locally appropriate vocational courses for a fee to public.

To instill ‘Entrepreneurship’ passion into young minds, we first need to create a thriving entrepreneurship culture in the schools. Right from providing motivated teaching staffs (with clear and exciting career in school education) to creating course-contents package (for kids entering schools to exit as empowered teenagers ready to face whatever comes in future instead of phobic youth towards the complex world out there in future), we have to review the current school education system in a more holistic and transparent approach of ‘Cause-Impact’ analysis. Since education is to empower our younger generation to lead humanity towards a better world, we have to teach our kids that ‘Entrepreneurship equals Success’.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com

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Understanding issues around Higher Education (HE) and local enterprises in Manipur today may be started by asking two most basic questions simultaneously – ‘Why does someone need to go college/university for HE studies’ and ‘What does industry sector need to grow in terms of manpower and skills’. We ought to look at HE sector and industry growth issues under the same umbrella for analysis and not in distinctively separate dimensions. The same fixed amount of input (i.e. Time, Money and Manpower) needed to tackle those two issues separately may be used collectively under an integrated strategy to simultaneously tackle the need to support growth of more local enterprises (thereby providing jobs to local people) and the need to revive higher education in colleges/universities (thereby satisfied academics, support staffs, and students).

Govt of Manipur ought to understand ‘the underlying implicit and explicit relationships between HE institutes and Industrial firms in a state/country’. The detailed analysis (though very critical) on how operation of state govt departments in HE sector (such as Education (U), Technical Education, and Adult Education) can be improved is beyond the scope of this article. Also, what’s excluded herein is how administration of colleges by respective college management can be enhanced and how liaising with Manipur University or Central Agriculture University as affiliated bodies may be made more efficient.

The approach of designing and delivering HE services in Manipur seems to ‘start and end with Education only’, without looking beyond and considering the local environment in which HE services operate. Graduates and post-graduates with traditional degrees are produced within Manipur who may be of least relevance to local needs or lack enough course experience to cause social impact locally. Moreover, it looks like as if colleges and universities in Manipur are just created to produce few finest graduates to be then exported to other Indian and foreign cities for better jobs and follow-on studies. Thus, return on investment (ROI) in terms of social and economic impact by having 70+ colleges and two universities within Manipur currently seem below expectation on ‘continued business justification’ rating and underperforming as a public service proposition.

On the other hand, state govt departments servicing to social and business organizations (such as Commerce and Industries, Cooperation, Income-Tax) are yet to show confidence on local people about their ability to bring about visible sustainability support to local companies and growth of new startups. Unhealthy law and order issues in Manipur (cited as a result of insurgency) may likely not attract big companies from outside Manipur to open up offices within Manipur and also, locally grown-up businesses may not successfully survive for continued operation after startup.

State govt has initiated some programmes recently to provide skill-based trainings in various industry sectors to youths/students in Manipur by financially sponsoring to third-party institutes within and outside Manipur state. Such initiative does help Manipuri youths/students to get employment in companies outside Manipur. Yet, there is huge vacuum to enable local companies to grow so as to absorb such trained individuals for the benefit of local economy. Thus, this current approach of state govt seems just like a one-sided policy to invest public fund meant for Manipur state on training few local Manipuris youths/students and then exporting them as quality manpower resources to feed into the need of other cities/states in India.

So, What if, for once, we look the spectrum of Higher Education from the perspective of need by industry and local market?

Universities in most global locations (esp. in UK) are now exploring extensively on various HE concepts to serve needs of industry clients proactively – such as Work-based Learning, Bespoke Training, Contracted Research and Consultancy, Modular-based course Programmes, etc. In order to outsmart the upcoming huge competition from various private training business companies on teaching similar course offers as universities do normally, UK universities are now more inclined towards the Research and Knowledge Transfer aspect for survival and income generation while maintaining a reasonable income generation through teaching degree/post-graduate courses.

In UK, Modular-based course Programmes are highly successful because courses are delivered in block modular mode. As an example: A 5-weeks modular course of a subject paper looks like 1-week face-to-face class plus a 4-weeks (away from classroom) academic experience period to reflect the learning by self. Students are either asked to write a written exam or online test or submit a project assignment by the end of the 5th week. After successful completion of the 5-week period, academic credit is awarded for the module. The student receives the degree after completion of all the mandatory course modules (including projects). In this approach, students (from nearby the university, within the UK and foreign countries) can travel to the university campus to attend the 1-week face-to-face class and then return back home to complete the next 4-weeks academic experience period. These students are still considered to have done the course study in Full-Time mode (though in modular approach).

If one explores the business model of large ‘training business’ companies: (1) these companies pick up the demand of particular skill sets needed for companies in an industry in a geographical market, (2) they hire industry professionals and academic experts to devise course contents and structure of delivery, (3) they advertise the courses for delivery in particular date/month of a year and recruits students accordingly, (4) they hire large classrooms or offices on rent for a specific period in line with the course delivery schedule, (5) they also hire trainers/lecturers on contract to deliver the planned courses. Thus, global companies in training business get the necessary income inflow from students’ fees and the profit after deducting the payment for classrooms hire and contracted staffs. This model is likely to be successful as long as these training companies are able to provide trained students who can get job in a company after studying the course with them.

For HE delivery in Manipur, we can reuse some concepts from both UK universities’ modular course delivery approach and global training business companies’ course delivery approach. Some state govt departments (e.g. as Commerce and Industries) can identify specific industry sectors that need to be groomed for growth within Manipur for social and economic impact locally. Other state govt dept (e.g. Education (U), Technical Education) can be entrusted with the responsibility to design and develop specific courses (in degree and post-graduate levels) by hiring industry professionals and academic experts to meet the likely demands of skills needed in job profiles available in that specific industry, and also include academic aspects of reasoning and creative thinking in the course design for students. This course development can be done in consultation with competent academic governing bodies (such as UGC, AICTE) and universities (in Manipur or outside the state or abroad). State govt departments (e.g. Sericulture, Agriculture, Fisheries, Science and Technology) can provide funding incentives/vouchers to local SMEs and business owners to recruit local candidates as their employees to undertake relevant jobs in their businesses, and at the same time, allow to access those funding grants only to directly reimburse some percentage of course fee/expense of their sponsored employees who are undertaking such specially created degree/post-graduate courses in their industry sector. This approach enforces business owners to be more responsible and accountable in both business growth and HE delivery. Also, students paying fees on own to study such courses are more likely to get a job on graduation in the local market. Already available buildings of local colleges in various towns in Manipur or other state govt offices or Manipur University or Central Agricultural University can be hired in advance for delivery of the degree/post-graduate courses in a modular fashion. Also, lecturers/staffs can be hired on contract for the course deliveries from industry and academic institutions in Manipur.

This suggested approach does involve (1) developing such course programmes after agreeing on a teaching and learning pedagogy (thereby, extensive consultation among industry, academia, academic standard bodies, and govt) (2) applying Project Management and Programme Management methodologies to ‘create and dissolve’ the entire design and delivery activities as multiple projects in a programme mode (thereby, saving money and administrative headache because of not having to build new costly classrooms and incur maintenance cost for infrastructures, not to continue providing salary and maintenance cost for teaching and non-teaching staffs after the duration of course delivery, etc), (3) efficiently managing resources needed for supply and demand to higher education delivery and industry growth (thereby, matching HE delivery services to current needs of industry in a ‘pull mode than push mode’).

Thus, state govt must undertake drastic changes in the current approach of HE delivery and Enterprises support in Manipur. Also, an in-depth research by hiring competent HE-Sector strategists is essential along with consultations with all stakeholders involved in HE delivery and Business Support services.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com

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Our basic need is survival and rest of other activities is around making that living comfortable. Thus, ‘Education’ is about enlightening us the best appropriate way of doing things from past experiences, while ‘Common Sense’ is the knowledge about applying past experiences on day-to-day realities happening around us.
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Like in most countries, India follows a system of imparting knowledge to students in the form of a tier-system of education (e.g. 10+2+3 for general studies) so that necessary level of teaching and learning is provided to only those sections of people who actually require that level of knowledge. There are also various skill-based training and vocational education system in place in India. There are reasoning behind the form of pedagogy developed for education system chosen by govt in own countries. The question each student/youngster should be asking self is ‘How much education is enough for self and future career making?’

Logically, we can consider all forms of profession being comprised of two types of education needs – Business aspect and technical aspect. For example, rice is an essential food needed in our daily lives. Knowledge is required to understand how to cultivate and get rice – thus, that’s about technicality and there are students learning courses on Agriculture (e.g. Bachelor of Science in Agriculture). Also, knowledge is required to obtain rice from fields, transport rice to storage, distribute rice bags to wholesalers, sell rice to consumers – thus that’s about business and there are students learning courses on Management of Agriculture businesses (e.g. Master of Management in Agro-based business). Similarly, for better healthcare system, we got education systems on becoming doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, social carers, dentists, medical technicians, etc. In order to systematize the know-how to cater to needs around us, we create ways of educating the learners in a leveling tier approach. Thus, if we try to see the bigger picture around a profession and the related environment within which the profession operates, we can realize that education is rather about providing a common sense way of dealing with our societal needs.

Having a basic level of education (10th Standard in India) is sufficient for someone to understand the society’s common sense better. Having intermediary level of education (12th standard in India) is about preparing someone to have an interest in a segment of industry/knowledge with more focus; while having a graduate level of education (12+3 standard in India) is about giving the specific required level of knowledge to someone to execute the most tasks necessary in that industry segment. Further level of education (Masters or doctorate levels in India) are to provide specialization study to understand with more depth why things happen as they are and what new approaches can be created/discovered to do things in a better way. Thus, one does not need to go to college or university for higher study ‘as mandatory need’, but rather based on ‘situational need’. Just to reemphasize this view, globally reputed firms such as ‘Apple’ and ‘Microsoft’ are founded by College drop-outs (whom latter employs qualified engineers/managers with degrees and doctorates to run the companies). Even locally within Manipur (and in other parts of India), we can see large businesses run by not even 10th standard pass entrepreneurs and yet these able-industrialists manage to run their businesses by employing skilled engineers and managers accordingly.

Youngsters (under guidance from parents) often proceed to study popular courses in professional undergraduate level such as MBBS, BE, BPharm, BSc-Nursing, and also in general studies such as BCom, BA, BSc. Some youngsters directly get entry to job or on-the-job related courses in central and state govt services such as paramilitary forces, NDA, banking, state police, etc. Very few youngsters in Manipur (and even in entire India) deviate to think about setting up own businesses or learning knowledge/skill that will help themselves in setting up that business of own dreams.
In countries like UK, the approach of ‘Learning by Doing’ is followed more in the society in the form of youngsters taking up apprenticeship jobs in companies just after completion of GSCE (similar to Class 10 in India) or A-level (similar to Class 12 in India), and growing their careers henceforward from bottom to management level. Most organizational managers and CEO/COO do not even possess universities degrees, yet they are expert in their technical or business skills. Also, senior managers are often found coming back to universities at the age of 30+ to study in some degree courses related to their already experienced industry to have the skill of critical thinking with academic learning approach.

Though one needs not necessarily go to colleges/universities to make a living or successful profession/career in life, one can gain a lot by going to colleges/universities once in a lifetime. Education is rather meant to give away experience of ‘various know-how’ collected over years to the future generation in a very simple and concise format in a very short period of time. Colleges/universities are not just meant for getting higher education in various knowledge domains or industry sectors, but also a platform/forum for meeting people (like-minded as well as non-like-minded) to share ideas and experiences to learn from each other for own future. By being in colleges/universities, one can get access to libraries (having tons of knowledge contents), professors (having vast experiences in the areas one may have interest to explore), colleagues (having similar interest to work together in future projects), and professional networks (having industry experts and business support groups), friends (having similar social and emotional behaviors), etc.
Successful people in every profession never stop learning about things that may be useful in their lives irrespective of having gone to study in school or college or university. What may be effective about preparing self to learn about a profession is to start thinking in backward from that chosen future dream to present situation in order to evaluate how much education and what skill-sets one may need in order to realize the dream. Thus, first need in life is ‘survival’; then next need come ‘food’, shelter, clothes, etc; and then, educating self is to find a way out to earn money through a job/task to cater to the cost of surviving in style.

Thus, students/youths in Manipur should focus on having ‘Common Sense’ in life more than running after ‘Education’; because, education (in some appropriate form) is just only a means to acquire knowledge that is needed for having ‘common sense’ in one’s life.

About the Author:
Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com

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The two years of 11th and 12th standard classes are critical for every student who wishes to create a successful career ahead in the life ahead. The students should focus not only to understand the complete syllabus of 11th & 12th standards thoroughly to get good score in 12th standard examination, but also the tips and techniques of preparing various entrance examinations in the post-12th standard.

The reasons for a decent score in the 12th exam are –
1) As huge numbers of students compete to get into various companies in the post professional/academic degrees, companies use the cut-off marks of 10th & 12th standard to shortlist candidates for preliminary rounds of elimination.
2) Better understanding of chapters in the 11th & 12th standard holds the key to further degree courses for making a career ahead [it may be even in the entrepreneurial domain].

Study of Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) & Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (M.B.B.S.) are the most sought career of students in the post-12th standard in Manipur (as well as in most parts of India). The students have to compete among the best to get through various state level & national entrance tests to secure admission to reputed colleges.

Preparation for such professional entrance tests not only requires sufficient study notes [including text books & mock question banks], but also examination techniques and preparation tips. Students from cities who come of well-to-do families and students of private English school are trained in a better position for such tests. But, most of the students who can’t provide the necessary study notes or guides fail to clear such tests. In addition, the financial constraints compel most students from rural/less privileged areas to forgo the dreams of being an Engineer or Doctor in lifetime.

Question – Is there any other suggested course in the post 12th standard which will enable a student to be able to earn hefty as well as decent job designations in future, similar to that of B.E. & MBBS degrees?

There do exist a number of academic courses in the post 12th standard which will enable students a bright future. But, one of the most attractive & rewarding course among them is Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Actually MBA is to be studied after 10+2+3 standard, i.e. after college degrees. In European countries & America, students have the advantage of starting well-paid careers in reputed companies under various business domains after undergoing under-graduate management courses [i.e. some bachelor courses in management stream] due to the presence of strong entrepreneurial form of economy and huge number of business companies.

In the recent years, India is also witnessing a boom in some of the industrial sectors like IT, Biotech, etc. Various universities have thus started introducing various management courses in under-graduate courses and post-graduate level to supply the shortage of human resources for the growing economy. In spite of the presence of various management courses, the brand MBA still holds the due respect & trust by companies worldwide. So, students should give preference to the branded degree “MBA”. The course structure of MBA has also been modeled just for corporate jobs while those of other management courses are modeled more of academic values.

Bachelor degrees of management are not considered as a real degree by corporate world and hence, students should complete MBA again further. The exception to the branded MBA degree is the post-graduate programs in management awarded by Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) & few top business schools in India. Students who have not been able to study B.E or MBBS should never waste precious years trying again & again for the entrance tests in the following years, instead they should proceed ahead with a bachelor degree for 3-years. The choice of bachelor degree can be either one which the student feels comfortable with.

It’s still suggested to study courses having – Mathematics, Economics, Commerce, Accounting, etc, but not mandatory, because, students should just only concentrate on clearing the 3yr degree courses with good scores. In those 3yrs time frame, the student should prepare self to be future MBA aspirant of high demand & value.

The activities the student should also be concentrating during the 3yr bachelor degree are –
1) Participation and conduction of various co-curricular & extra-curriculum activities like – Music competition, dance competition, quiz competition, Inter-college competitions, adventure tour, college festivals, etc
2) Improving basic computer skills by joining some courses or by self learning – Microsoft Word / PowerPoint / Excel, use of Internet surfing & habit of reading newspapers/e-books online, typing comfortably on keyboards, etc.
3) Improving English Speaking & Behavioral ethics of corporate world via interaction with various groups of people – working professionals, college staffs, friends, etc.
4) Making self aware of what is all about MBA, the various entrance tests, various colleges, careers in the post-MBA, exam preparation notes, etc.

Loosing 1 or more years preparing for entrance tests in the following years just for the sake of the ambition to study B.E. or MBBS in future is nothing but a sign of stupidity.
The reasoning –
Let’s consider the average age of the student after 10+2 standard = 17yrs

1) Career path of a student undergoing B.E:
Course length of B.E is 4 yrs and hence, age after B.E. course completion = 21yrs [i.e. 17+4]
Chance of getting the first decent job in life after completion of B.E = YES
[It depends on the placement facilities of the particular Engineering College or the off-campus job search by the students]
Average Range of starting monthly salary by 22yrs = INR 15,000 – INR 25,000
[The exact salary depends on the particular company, though some may give even INR 50,000 on the higher end]
Further increment in salaries = 10-30% on the earlier gross salary every following year
Likely age of an engineering student to have Financial stability in life and permissible level of career achievement = 25-27 yrs

In short, the career of an Engineer is for those who are fascinated by technology & reasonable return of money.

2) Career path of a student undergoing MBBS:
Course length of MBBS is 5 & ½ yrs and hence, age after course completion = 22½yrs [i.e. 17+ 51/2]
Chance of getting the first decent job in life after completion of MBBS = NEGLIGIBLE
Required number of years for further studies to be able to get a first decent job in life = 29 yrs
[i.e. study of M.D/M.S. etc will take another 3-5 yrs depending on further specialization taken by student]
Average Range of starting salary by 28yrs = Not comparable to the salaries of Engineers
[The exact salary depends on the skill set acquired by the student as well as the chance to study in one of the reputed Post-graduate colleges in India or aboard. Moreover, the competition for getting the limited seats of postgraduate studies in the post-MBBS is extremely tough.]
Further increment in salaries = !!! [Poor growth pattern in career]
Likely age of a doctor student having Financial stability in life and permissible level of career achievement = 33-36 yrs

In short, the career of Doctor is for those who are just passionate to be a “Doctor”, it’s not a career for earning money.

3) Career path of a student undergoing MBA: Course length of a Bachelor degree after 12th standard which is required before undergoing MBA = 3yrs
Course length of a MBA = 12 months to 24 months [depending on the institute; some institutes provide 1yr MBA, some institutes provide 16 or 18 months MBA i.e. 1½yr MBA, some institutes provide 2 yr MBA]
Age after the completion of MBA = 22 yrs [i.e. 17 + 3+2]
Chance of getting the first decent job in life after completion of MBA = YES
[It depends on the placement facilities of the particular MBA College or the off-campus job search by the students]
Average Range of starting monthly salary by 23yrs = INR 25,000 – INR 45,000
[The exact salary depends on the particular company, though some may even offer INR 70,000]
Further increment in salaries = 10-30% on the earlier gross salary per the following year
Likely age of a MBA student having Financial stability in life and permissible level of career achievement = 24-26 yrs

In short, the career of a MBA student is for those who wish to earn, and become a business leader or an entrepreneur in future.

In addition, various banks provides educational loans for studying MBAs if the student is able to get into some of reputed MBA colleges; because, the banks are sure that the student is 99% likely to get a high paid job afterwards and hence he/she will be able to repay the loan with interests.

Again, life is not just about career, but it’s also about PERSONAL LIFE / FAMILY LIFE. So, earlier the stability in career & financial status in life, better is the security of life and early retirement too. Moreover, the beauty of youth is in the age range of 18-30 and one has to ask self – Is it worth to spend all these beautiful years in just studies and no fun at all?

Thus, we can realize now that the career prospect of a MBA student can be exciting & challenging. It also suggests that there are still various lucrative careers other than B.E. or MBBS degree. Students should surf internet and also interact with elders to get such information. So, CREATE your own FUTURE.

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On personal views, I am sharing how Engineering graduates can look forward once they start working as software engineers in various Software Companies after college. The idea can be applicable to other graduates working in various fields of profession after college or Universities as well. Due to our current Academic Education Systems, we are urged to view studying academic degrees & career as the ultimate thing in our lives that everyone has to do compulsorily with tremendous self-pressure. Most of the students in colleges & schools are urged to be among rank-holders. They are being asked to get job and then, even after that our struggle for better career do not stop. Thus, there may be a lot of self-questioning doubts – what exactly we are doing and what we are supposed to do once we get job after our College Educations.

Struggles in Academic days in colleges or Universities are far less compared to the struggles in corporate world. There comprise things like neither friendship nor any kind of emotional sharing of thoughts among people; but just that people are colleagues or partners to complete the job assigned. The real struggle of living & understanding the world will start once a student is into work-environment. A lot of changes will be on the way of entry into corporate world –

1) Work Ethics – Ethical understanding of what to do & how to do in Work-environment
2) Personality Adjustment – Conflict of personal behaviors & work-environment
3) Company Culture – Multi-cultural understanding among the employees across the global locations
4) Balancing of Personal life & Job-requirements – Family commitment versus Project Datelines
5) Urge for growth in career – Comparison of things attached to self with peers & other people
6) Many more….Serious topics to think about… because. It’s about the real life and not like those days of college or schools where mistakes or faults can be considered to be forgiven once or twice.

If we closely look into the nature of skills to be possessed by every working person in any kind of job; we will be able to find three main areas whose degrees of involvement are varied according to the job responsibilities & nature of job. They are –

1) Technical Role
2) Human Role
3) Business Role

So, every person under any designations will have the above three roles with varying percentage of capacity. But, we have to realize that as our career grows; the percentage of involvement increased towards the lower side (i.e. Technical side to Business side). Life in any career can be considered as if a kind of Business. People having sound knowledge of Business role will survive fluctuations in life rather than those with higher skills of Technical role. All the three skills are indeed required and all of them are a MUST for any level of work-positions in any Organization.

Here, the word “CHOICE” matters the most – because, every individual has to decide on how far one wishes to go ahead in career. But, one has to understand and think carefully that personal lives other than career are also to be looked into more in-detailed; since unless there is a balance & clarity on the complete picture of what the individual is supposed to do in life, there can be big issues in life. We have to remember that – Rewards & Medals in career is not the only thing which says a person is a good human being; since Career is just the means of living and our life as such is the main road which we have to think carefully.

Engineering Graduates will be surely happy that they have started working in big branded companies & they have started earning good salaries every month. They will be sometimes motivated to learn anything and at times, they will be also curious to know what exactly is going on corporate world. Everything in offices will be seemed as just about works and nothing more than that. Everyone in the office will come to office to work and go back home once their daily works are completed. At times, these newly graduated Engineers will start feeling that things are repeating again & again. They will start asking what is going on – is this life or is this way to live on till the last day, or many more…

Let me share my view directly so as to understand practically for things related to job & future planning for career in industries to some extent.

1) Learn the technical works & domain knowledge of what a person is exactly doing in a project at the starting of one’s career. Have the technical ability to explain the project to any person from any technical domain other than the own project members). Reason self technically with queries and try to answer them.
-> This will help the individual to understand the probable questions which other companies may ask when he/she goes for interviews & also it will enhance the skills & mindset of technical works in the current project.

2) 2 years of working in the same project or in the same company is a bit long journey nowadays. If a person keeps on working in the same project for 10 years still more, he/she may indeed learn more about the product and yes, he/she may be promoted to project leader or project manager in future. It’s really good that each individual will grow up technically on what they do and indeed, they will get satisfaction for what they have worked. May be their Bosses will also say “Well Done, Good Work“… But, each one will not be sure whether their success is on the right ladder or wrong ladder. At the same time, the individual has to create enthusiasms to learn & know as much as they could during the 2yr time frame. Because, the years of experience has to match according to the knowledge & skills one has to acquire.

-> Let me explain via drawing a diagram to understand the reality.

Try drawing many straight lines from the centre of meeting point of X-Axis & Y-Axis. These lines will be representing the learning & work-experience in years an individual has spent. An individual may know many skills on various technical areas, or may have personal learning on many fields or may even is excellent on some of the skills other than the current job or work.

BUT, one should keep a check on market value i.e. what one knows and what one works, so as to have a value in terms of which customer/manager who is accepting the ideas or product will rate a weightage or the value of the individual’s work. Knowing too much on something which has less value that the individual can sell makes less sense, because, he/she will be not recognized to the extent he/she should be.

So the Market value will not only refer to monetary terms but also a sense of satisfaction on self & also from Customers or peers. Example:- In the resume of Campus placement, students may mention that they know C, C++, JAVA, ORACLE,, etc. but, in future course of career, no company will recognize these knowledge unless the person has worked on a company project in his/her overall experience; and even if the person have worked on company projects, the future companies will look to the latest experience only; because, companies want only the best people for the particular task they are in need. So, one has to be specialist on some which has high returns – Remember… Most will find this term many a times – ROI [Return on Investment].

3) Either one has to be technically very strong n go on the way to create new ideas to make new product so as to sustain own company in the future; or, one can the technical skills and move on finding other similar careers to excel and show own strengths. Engineers are in-fact just workers and they are the work-force of a company.

And, what we need to realize is that – when the Company management or share-holders say that – they are closing the company or they are changing their business from Java-Oriented company to C++ oriented company or from one technical field to another, or may be even dumping the full business domain & move to others; then, the engineers will loose jobs.

In fact, the knowledge/skills learnt by the engineers will find difficulties to showcase themselves on other domains of new jobs. Moreover, to become Technical Architects or Topmost Experts on any technical domain, an engineer not only requires 15-20 years of experience on the product/job, but also, the engineers should have been provided the chance to grow with positions n responsibilities by the employing company. But, Remember, The Employer/Company may have already changed the business by then, or may be the technology is no more valid. So, the risk factor & luck factor matters a lot in pure technical domain career.

-> So, the best way of gaining technical knowledge n utilizing the success of the knowledge is – learn the process & business models too along with having couple of years of experience on technical domain and utilize the ideas on other Business Domains. Again, how many years one has to spend on technical terms is not what is to be really considered as experience, if someone is indeed going ahead with new business ideas.

What responsibilities one has done, what role one has played, how far one has co-coordinated with team-members & clients, many more are required. But, as the competition among peers is also there… one may not get the chance just like that, and he/she may not even be given the chance.. So, a lot of thinking & planning has to be done both technically & behaviorally in advance for career growth & peace of mind.

4) Instead of working as employees under the banner of some company, it’s better to have own business & run as employers. It will not only enable to face the challenges of work, but also the efforts will be recognized by everyone. Here, the word is about entrepreneurships in the domain we are good; or even if our knowledge is not that sufficient for that kind of big ambitions, we can at least be top Bosses on some big companies.

-> To become project leader, then project manager, then Technical manager, then higher up positions are all not just about time-bound or experience bound concepts. There also involves a lot of politics & inter-personal relations, because everyone will like to be BOSS. With the passage of years while working, everyone will slowly realize all; but, why not learn today, so that one can use the knowledge for the better of tomorrow. Thinking Hi-Fi is good, but realizing by simulations at present is better option. First of all, one’s behavior & attitude have to be molded w.r.t. the practical personal inter-relations, i.e. what is there in book & what is there in mind are not applicable directly in reality, because this is not an IDEAL WORLD.

5) Anyone can work anywhere for any customers or organizations and live comfortably as every other does. But, Question self – why not try to create own opportunities via which one can work similarly in Manipur or for Manipur or something related or near to our family in Manipur or at least a sense of Manipuriness. One can earn & learn technically more n more. But, just with an engineer’s earning alone can’t help one’s own family or many families of our relatives in Manipur.

It’s not about finding what problem Manipur or people or our relatives have; but, it’s about how to solve issues using our ideas & our skills. The main concept is – Share the smile & learning with fellow friends & relatives in Manipur; because, there is no limit to career growth & none can take anything when the last day comes in our lives. One may have tried building a big empire of own, but once he/she is out of picture, it may not take even a year to vanish the whole empire into history.

-> One should try to use one’s strength to the full extent. So, preparation & planning has to be done from Day-1 of professional career. I am not saying that we should jump directly into Manipur and start working immediately. One has to use the intellectual & scientific reasoning to find the answer to issues and give solutions. If one wishes to do something big, one needs knowledge & Money. Well, remember the saying – CHANCE FAVORS THE PREPARED MIND… It’s worthless to run after chances, but, it’s reasonable to get prepared and, if chance comes, we strike it and win it. Being a Manipuri, I feel that we ought to do give back something we can. Creating Ideas & working jobs for people in other countries or states or firms are more or less same as if working for people in Manipur; but, its just a choice one has to make. Because, unless we try to do something for ourselves, none will come forward with personal interest.

6) During the early phase of professional career, it’s good to come out of India and work abroad so that one could not only save huge money, but also realize the life-style & thinking people have there. With traveling & getting in-touch with various people, one will get the chance to realize the technical dreams & also big ambitions (if by chance). One will learn to make friendship with big buddies too (if by chance). Working aboard for 1 year is indeed similar to working in India for 3 years in terms of Salary & money that one can save due to variation in currency values. Secondly, Companies will respect & reward for the international experiences, when he/she comes back to India & try to become Team-Leads technically. Thirdly, one will have better idea how to interact with clients in future via teleconferences & mails, etc.

So, 2 yrs in India and then 3 yrs outside India; and then, Planning for higher studies in a good Business School, or even continuing on technical fields is the better option in software profession.. But, we ought to keep the trust that we will surely think about ideas to make new changes in Manipur, both technologically & socially. Because, that is what I expect as return from others for sharing my ideas (it’s not a must, but it’s understood internally by default).

Its is the right time to look beyond what one can see as software engineer, because, by 2010-1015; economic Boom in India, China & South-East Asia is for sure under the current Trent.. and at that time, why we should work as mere engineer or technical manager… why not we choose to work as General Manager of a huge software firm or CEO of our own firm. FIRST BELIEF SELF THAT WE CAN DO IT… BIG DREAMS… yes… So…INDEED BIG INVESTMENT & PLANNING REQUIRED… But we also need to have SOME SECURITIES.. FOR SELF TO FALL BACK if our plans don’t work out…We do need motivation & care at every step.

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