We’ve all been there. That juncture where we had to choose our vocation and how some of us ‘chose’ the path of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The Indian education system, as we all know it, is mostly STEM-oriented.
#EngineersDay Throw a stone at a crowd.
There’s 90% chance that it will fall on an Engineer’s head.
— Aakriti Verma (@Aakriti_verma6) September 15, 2016
We’ve heard of how India is booming with engineering/medicine graduates and how a significant number of them remain unemployed. The decreasing skill sets, entrance coaching centres springing up in every city in the country, the increasing number of suicides… all of these are seemingly connected. Now, this is mostly due to the ignorance and stigma surrounding other vocations.
There’s a general notion in the society that engineering and medicine are elite courses as compared to the arts and humanities and the typical Indian parent wants their children to be either one of those. For all I know, maybe even both! And if you manage to enlist yourself in the arts and humanities stream you might have faced these cliched questions and ‘opinions’:
It is disheartening to see how children are shoved into IIT-JEE coaching centres even before they realise what interests them. Give them a chance at choosing what they want to do with their life! As someone who is pursuing a degree in engineering, I’m half-hearted about what I am doing, honestly. But on the bright side, I’m nearly through with it. There must be hundreds and thousands of people who might be able to relate to this dilemma, and it’s high time the stigma surrounding the arts and humanities courses be cleared.
People associate an arts/humanities degree as something weaker or less relevant than a degree in engineering. Honestly, I am baffled as to why it is so. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in pursuing arts if you actually wanna do it. Would you rather take up engineering half-heartedly and end up doing something totally different like banking or would you be content and happy in pursuing a degree in a language that you like or maybe even history?
I believe that the arts and humanities courses are as prestigious as engineering and medicine courses. In humanities, you learn about what makes us human, how we adapt and develop, and issues about all the other aspects of humanity. And coming to arts, there are a plethora of options available. Theatre, painting, sculpting, fashion, music, dance, you name it! Now, why should there be a disparity? Instead of shunning them, why not encourage them? The world doesn’t only require engineers and doctors!
People, or at least Indians, assume arts/humanities as a safer option or something like a plan B if engineering doesn’t work out well. Why not make it a plan A if the student wants to actually follow his passion? Then there’s that misconception about the value for these degrees being less. Most of the Govt. and Civil jobs are performed by people who’ve pursued the arts-humanities stream, and we do have renowned fashion designers and lawyers in the country. Moreover, there is that preconceived notion of engineering placements. Just get into an engineering college and you’ll get placed! At the end of the day, it only depends on the skillset of the individuals and how they can present themselves.
To sum it up, try not to succumb to your career as defined by your parents or your neighbourhood aunty. If you are interested in the technical side of things, good for you. If you aren’t, that’s also great because you might shine in the avenues offered by art or humanities.
And a word to the parents, try not to oppress your child’s choices, instead support them in their endeavours to follow their interests and passion. It’s their life and not yours.