Nov 04, 2016

Education Prepares You for Life or a Job?

Tulsi Jayakumar

Come ye cynics! Admit that this is what you always thought. The job of education is to prepare you for a job…for life.

And yet is that what is the purpose of education?

What is education really? The lessons taught in a formal environment, by rote; or what you learn in the journey called life. Is it what you learn sitting on the floor from your grandparents- hand-me-downs of a bygone era, with the warm fuzz that encompasses you when you are feeling particularly low; or what you learn sitting in those modern temples of education- AC classrooms with their multi-media contraptions!

Everything that moulds you, shapes you, prepares you to face the onslaughts from the external and internal devils, teaches you to rise above complacence, greed, jealousy and envy, makes you a fighter- and inspires you to fight- whether for your girl/guy, your job or your life – is what I call education.

Education is in the commonplace- the vadapav walla who earns a friend for life every time he generously adds the extra besan crumbs into your packet teaches you marketing and the value of promotions; the maid who asks you for a little extra for the extra hour she spends at your home, since she has to spend that extra on childcare for her young tot- teaches you economics and the notion of opportunity cost; the panwalla round the corner who charges the same for a meetha and a saadapaan, teaches you elements of costing…

Education is in the details- How far you can stretch those assets you showed as depreciated in your accounts, so that the long arms of the law do not stretch out to you; how tall the arches of your engineering marvel so that they don’t get laid to dust; how well researched the moves of your competitors and the tastes and preferences of that ‘naive’ group called customers- whom each of you claim to have understood best…

Education is what you aspire for, and once you possess it- turn your back on and claim it was yours for the taking…ALWAYS. Always—, after you got that dream job!

So, does education prepare you for life or for a job?

The answer, my friend, is which side of the age bracket you are on. Youth, with all its brashness and enthusiasm will treat education as a lover- to be wooed, coaxed and cajoled to lay out all its mystic, virgin charms. Only to be dumped, once there is a conquest- the goal post reached.

Not quite! For once, as age passes, education will assume the role of a companion- gentle, unassuming and reassuring in its presence, gliding up at the most unseemly places and in the most unlikely situations- to guide, steer and accompany one through the journey called life.

All I can say is- To live is to learn, to learn is to live.

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