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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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