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Planning your Education

To plan one's education simply means to plan his life. From  the experiences of well-reputed personalities we can see that there was a kind of planning and determination behind their success. Without knowing what is being studied and what to study in future how can you plan your education? 

Hence understanding one' own capabilities and aptitudes is of paramount importance here. Human beings are truly amazing creations. When a baby is born, it can do virtually nothing. Within the first 1-2 years of it’s life, it learns to talk, walk, listen, eat, learns what it likes, doesn’t like, to form relationships, to love and much more. It does all this through it’s senses and it’s main teachers are parents. They love the child, they encourage it to try to do things by itself, they hold their hands behind it, waiting to catch it as it falls while trying to climb some stairs for the first time. This boy/girl has the intrinsic capacity in her to learn everything. What the parents should do is to understand their child's tastes and preferences and do everything to nourish the good ones. The world around us is changing very fast. The present future may not be the next present.

To be clearer, suppose that you are studying in 10th. You may be interested in electronics. You keep in your mind an electronics related career. After Plus two you come to understand that there are a lot new subjects related to electronics, which were hitherto unknown. Then you will have to make a fine-tuning with the help of parents and teachers or others who are accustomed with this.With help from all these corners you find that IT has demand and may select it. But be careful!  IT is a field, which is subject to rapid changes. At present, while writing this, the IT scene is in a dim stage mainly due to the global economic recession. If you opt IT engg. for your after plus two, we don't know what will be it’s fate after your four year course.

To take an apt decision, the following points may be helpful.

1. Civil, Mechanical and Electronic Engineering will have long standing. To substantiate, take the case of civil engg. Can we imagine a period without construction works going on ? Definitely not. Can we conceive of a stage without machines? Again not. Then what about electronic engg? It is the most essential one today, tomorrow and day after. The blending of Mechanical and electronics engg has paved the way for the birth of a new branch called Mechatronics.

Whether you study computer science or computer applications or IT, all these are part of electronics. So while deciding upon a subject keep in mind that it is your performance not the name of the subject, which matters. The IT giants like Infosys, Wipro, Satyam etc who regularly visit our campuses do not stick on IT people. They invite everybody including civil students. But they are very particular that the person they select should be knowing good English-both spoken and written.

So, whatever may be your field of study, try to have a good command over English language, right from school classes. Our state govt. has started to reformulate the syllabi and tried to make the study of English simpler than past. Avoiding grammar from the classes and question papers is a part of this. Till three or four years back, we could not think of learning English without knowing active and passive voice, direct and indirect speech, tense forms, construction of the sentence etc etc. Now our school students are in a stage that they can at least communicate with others in English. They have no fear about committing mistakes. So far so good.

2. If you opt medical profession as your future, keep in mind that after plus two you will have to spend at least 10 years for becoming a practising doctor. Almost six years for MBBS, then 3 years for PG and one year for super speciality course. In the earlier days an MBBS would have been more than enough to be a "best" doctor. Today who will go to a doctor with only MBBS on his board? More over after taking a super speciality diploma , it will take time to be popular as a good doctor. While you spend minimum 10 years, your classmate may be earning lakhs after his four year BTech course.

3. Then what about legal studies? After plus two you can join the five-year integrated LL.B of course. Demand also is not bad. But as said about doctors, lawyers too face the same situation. To be a leading lawyer, it will take minimum  5- 6 years. If your family is financially sound it's ok. Otherwise it will be very difficult to earn something for your pocket after spending for food, daily expenses etc.

4. The universities in our state are very behind other states in introducing new subjects and revising the existing syllabus. Hence regular courses in these universities did not have any major change till now. Even then some courses are still attractive and has job potential too like English, Economics, science subjects like zoology, chemistry, physics etc. (Not comprehensive).

5. Another thing to be kept in mind is that never give over emphasis for approval or recognition of courses. You might be knowing that our nation is following a liberal economic policy which was started some 12 years back. Now we can't think of a going back. The entire world is a village now. State's role as an employer is becoming thin and thin. Private participation and private capital investment is dominating the scene.

For the private employer this approval or recognition doesn't matter. They are more interested in the candidate’s efficiency and subject knowledge, besides language command. You will be getting hi-fi salary, but you will have to work without rest. So understand the changing work environment and culture. Whatever subject you study; try be to be a master in it.  In our environment, from nursery to 10th standard, it is a regular flow. No question of optional selection and hence most parents are less worried during this period. Only selection of school makes the headache. But after 10th they are confused over selection of groups for plus two i.e.; science group or humanities group or commerce group?

To avoid this headache students should develop an aptitude towards some subjects from 8th standard onwards. When they are in 10th there should not be any doubt on the part of  the student. So also the parents should monitor the talents of their wards during this crucial period and arrive at a conclusion at least by the time their child gets into 10th.

During my career as an educational journalist for more than two decades I could meet a number of students and parents with utter confusion. It is a very pathetic situation. Even after passing the entrance examination with marks not bad, if a student has doubt about branch option what can be done?

To  avoid the last minute confusions, note the following.

1. Be determined . Whatever decision you take , try to stick on it and be a master of it.

2. Maintain a positive outlook towards life and career.

3. Be honest to yourself and others.

(Published in "Kerala Calling" , a Govt of Kerala publication in the issue dated April 2008)

Rajendran Puthiyedath

Can be reached at    puthiyedath@gmail.com

 ( The author is Asst.Editor, Mathrubhumi ).

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