In India, at least in the years that I went to college, a bachelors in Engineering or Technology was the way to go. Especially Computer Science. The only other option is Medicine. You are considered among the elite group if you got a seat at a good engineering college in a good major or if you are going to end up as a doctor. The rest, who choose the remaining opportunities in Commerce, Economics or Arts majors, unintentionally arrogant as I may sound, are not considered worthy enough. Kids reaching high school and doing their pre-university years are inculcated with the mindset that they need to find a seat in Engineering or Medicine, otherwise their lives will be wasted and unsuccessful. Such is the narrow mindset of the major populous. Education there is not chosen based on skills and personal fulfillment, but based on available opportunity. My main point I am trying to emphasize in this post is that the effect of this in the long run is not a well rounded society.
The ongoing recession has brought misery to several, but it has been a good thing in at least one way. It has instigated many including me to study in a deeper fashion the dynamics of the economy - at the micro as well as macro level. I have slowly begun to understand in a profound way the real meaning of capitalism. I am able to understand why and how stimulus money that the government is pouring into the system could improve the economy. I am not in anyway implying that I am in favor of capitalism or the decision to stimulate, but this has opened my eyes on how far reaching, economic decisions which our politicians make can be. And that understanding the cause and effects of different decisions is the real meaning of economics. I did not know this in school, not in my college years, and not even in my years of my graduate degree. Only when one weathers a significant storm does one try to understand what really went past.
This makes me understand the importance of the decision makers who assume the leadership roles of nations. They ought to know what they are doing. They need to be knowledgeable about the situation in order to make the right decisions. Their education should be broad enough to understand effects of their actions across industries, cultures, state and national boundaries, and across their domains of expertise.
Does India have such leaders? Just a handful perhaps. The education system which I mentioned above would not really produce such skills consistently. It actually creates people who live in their own little world, helplessly and totally disoriented when impacted by external factors, without the ability to decide what is good for themselves. They wait for situation around them to become better instead of knowing what they can do next to make things better.
What can benefit from a change is the well roundedness of education in India. Parents and teachers should teach children importance and value of various domains and industries and how individuals in different industries contribute the national economy. All professions and fields should be respected, more importantly appreciated. Once children are educated about how each profession adds value, they should be left to choose how they want to contribute and create value in whatever they do.
Although very slow, I think this is happening. India is crossing the point where more and more people are living for personal fulfillment than just to live, procreate and die. Professions are slowly being chosen more for how individuals can add value, than just for how well individuals can earn and survive.Ours is such a diverse country with various kinds of people, different cultures, different perspectives, different backgrounds, different talents, different weaknesses. No other country is as diverse realistically speaking. In my opinion, this is exactly what is needed to make a well rounded society. The ingredients are all there. It is just the effort that is needed - from everyone.