June 11, 2015

India needs to dismantle Bania-Brahmin caste system for sake of skills.

So long as Hindu society treats white collar Brahmins as the highest caste its impossible to inculcate and build world class blue collar skills among Hindus, direly needed for the economic development. Would you like to become someone who is looked down upon in society?

Government has realized that fast economic development is not possible without inculcating critical skills in the people of India. Economic growth based entirely on the capital has limited leverage on the growth . On the other hand innovations based on skills rather than the capital could have a major catalytic impact on the long term sustainable growth of economy. Skills don't follow the capital, its the other way round.

CK Prahalad & Gary Hemel introduced the concept of Core Competencies into Management literature. Michael Porter,strategy stalwart, advised many governments to persuade them to build a Competitive Advantage for their economies and companies. Though India can invite FDI for various industry but importing skilled managers with innovative creative minds is almost next to impossible due to domestic socio-economic conditions. 

Just imagine that you have a choice to become a doctor or a fashion designer, and the society you live in accords more respect to a doctor, would you prefer the later route? Besides livelihood people work hard to earn respect of society around them. Can you say I bought a Ferrari by selling contraband? People are identified by their profession and skills so skills are important part of what a person is? Isn’t it?

Presence of large number people having knowledge of English language available at low cost provided  competitive advantage to India in the BPO sector for couple of decades. China took few years to scale up their assembly & manufacturing on the basis of manual skills present in the Chinese people. Indians, Hindus particularly, on the other hand don’t seem to have any significant manual skills needed for achieving success in manufacturing space.

Another conundrum prevalent in India is presence of huge number of professionally educated youth that the India Inc find as unemployable due to lack of skills.  Who would believe that some undergraduate colleges in Delhi, don't accept students without almost 100 percent marks. How could students score such high marks? And how the teachers establish the fact that someone deserves 90 percent plus marks? Is it for real or just another mythological tale from an incredible India, the most mysterious country on the face of Earth.

In the real world a genius drops out of formal education system to blaze a trail. Steve jobs didn't like the taste of fruits served to him in college, so he left the formal system to cultivate his own Macintosh Apple.  Naturally why in the world someone with 100 percent marks in 12 the year of education be need to seek admission in some formal college? S/he could pretty much be on her/his own. But in India, innocent young people go around flashing their 'percentage prize' like a designer accessory, simultaneously, pray to god for mercy to help them get admission in a branded college. So the education in India is all about marks alone.

Though more students obtain significantly higher marks today than a decade ago but employers are complaining about poor quality of training & absence of skills in the fresh youth. How could rise in marks be indirectly proportional to skill creation in India? Govt of India has already committed itself to skill creation in India. In this direction, India signed an MOU with the US govt for setting up of community colleges in India during the recent visit of Secretary John kerry. High marks are like Himalayan peaks, very attractive but difficult to scale.

But the deluge of high marks in India is leading to more chaos on the ground than presenting a pretty picture on the canvas of economic development & industrialization of India.The absence of skills in not limited to technical & professional sector alone. India is not producing great quality managers, actors, academicians, writers, administrators and politicians.  So the education system is unable to improve on existing quality and take it to next higher level. How can India become a global power with low quality human resources?

Its time India wakes up and take steps to upgrade the quality of its citizens through formal & non-formal education. Hindus must open their hearts and minds and demolish the caste system once for all and stop that look down upon those who have world class skills. White collar brahmanism is keeping India poor and week.

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