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Lighthouse - July, 2018.

SPARE THEM FROM EDUCATION

The criteria for education in today’s times is only one thing: How much of a profiteer you become. Development of virtues like integrity, character, persistence, commitment which are intangible are not even counted since the ultimate parameter of evaluation has become profit, Nothing else.
As I famously tell people: Cost price is the truth and Selling Price is a lie. The difference between truth & lie is called profit.
So, without getting into the morality of education, let us extrapolate on the reasons why everyone is after education these days and how it will create serious labour issues in our world going forward.
If you see the pattern of education, it is primarily to bring you to the work desk. After that, only work skills and domain experience matter. But a dangerous trend is emerging, especially in countries like India, where everyone wants to be “educated” And that is a serious problem. So, watchmen, electrician, plumber, driver, maid, cleaner, mechanic all of them are in a race to educate their children. This primarily emanates from the need for dignity of labour which has been lacking with these skills for decades. But here is the catch. Their time has come now. Because the educated space is getting congested by the day. Jobs are being chased by millions. Anyone will tell you that price corrections in salaries have already happened for graduates & engineers who are queuing up for the same jobs and creating a huge supply – demand gap.
Compare this to a truck driver. An interesting incident happened last month for us and give us the jitters for completing a very important project shipment. We had scheduled pick-ups in trailers but there was a severe shortage of drivers. This is unique and unheard of in so many decades. Due to several overlapping reasons there was an acute driver shortage. On engaging further with transporters, we also learnt that these days drivers make more money than the transport owner himself. Because they are in shortage and therefore command a premium.
Ask any Indian household. They will tell you that the most important service provider in the house is the maid. In urban cities like Mumbai, not an inch can move without them. It is common to see maids being treated at par with the house owner’s family. Taken to parties and even vacations. A car mechanic I know for many years now said he is saving to make his son educate himself. One thing I have seen is common. No one wants their children to be in the same profession. I asked him to make his son a mechanic because education will only put him in a queue which is congested. But the future will have no mechanics compared to the demand. So, his earnings will be much higher. But he might privately think that I am not his well-wisher for giving such an advice.
But this is what I call a classic curse that the poor carry. Their time has come now but they are moving towards education which will keep them poor again. Only if they see that continuing the same profession will lead to enormous wealth for themselves along with the dignity that these scarcities will bring for them. But no, they want their kin to study. Study makes one a smooth talker but talking alone does not run the world. Look at your own self. If every body part wants to be the head, what will the head stand on? We need feet for sure. You may not give feet the dignity that you give the head. I have not seen people shampooing their ankles and feet more than their head and faces. That will always remain. But the feet are feet and we need labour class to run our world.
Look at the developed world too. America and Europe. They had this 100% educated population and had issues growing their societies too. So, they made immigration policies and labourers from across the poor countries moved to these nations and helped build them. Even today the taxi drivers, grocers, cleaners, newspaper boys, truck drivers, forklift operators etc are mainly immigrants. The problem is with growing wealth across the world and across classes, who will be left to do these jobs? And the generations of skills that they carried will be lost. They should know that we live in a pyramid model society where people at the bottom provide the foundation and support to people at the top. If everyone is the top, it becomes the bottom.

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