Trash or Treasure

Do you know what a true treasure is? I’d say an Education.

This week saw the demise of J.Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. You can look at the many articles you find online and in newspapers; some people even have their personal experiences recorded on their blogs. The one thing that you will find in every single article is her love for reading, her intelligence and the fact that she topped the state in her matriculation exams. Everyone agrees that she was a good student, a voracious reader and possessed a sharp mind.

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” 
― Brigham Young

She had a fantastic education. Even if she did not get to continue with it, she was sent to the best schools in Bangalore and Chennai. And she definitely benefitted from it.(So did we.) She showed a generation of young girls, that you could reach the highest of heights if you but set your mind to it.

Anyway, this is not a post about Jayalalithaa or the education schemes she brought about. This is a post about education. While Jayalalithaa serves as an example for an ideal student, I recently came across a different case.

I may have mentioned this already in some older post. A few months back, while doing a background check, I came to know that someone had a post graduate degree which was not recognised. I may be using the term ‘not recognised’ loosely here. I came to know that the degree was a distance learning MBA; only the issuing University did not have a distance learning program. How does one term this degree then? Fake or not recognised?

So I decided to dig around a bit more. Why? – Well, because said person’s family and mine were in talks about a marriage proposal between him and me. So I definitely had to dig further and it just got interesting. Since this person was employed in the UAE, I got to know about the norms and regulations. I got to know what happens in the case of such degrees, and the procedures of law etc. I also got to know that the institute in question is facing a lot of issues and there are cases pending in court. Not to mention that you can pay around Rs 1,50,000 and you are issued a PhD.

There are complaints aplenty. And it is just mind boggling how these people(the ones with the degrees) actually got into it. There are obviously two scenarios. One – you know about the issue and turn a blind eye to it, because you want the degree and can’t work for it. Two – you don’t know about it and you still enrol.

In the first case, these are people who want to get ahead in their careers because the degree may get them a better job. But they are not willing to work for it. Just pay, and the degree is handed to you. Pay some more and it gets attested for employment purposes. I honestly pity the employer. Perhaps, even that pity is misplaced. For both my jobs, I  have had to submit so many papers (one even asked for a family photograph) and there were extensive background checks done. I wonder what sort of a background check these employers engage in.

In the second case, you are investing in an education without knowing anything about it. I do not understand why you would want to spend your time and money on anything blindly. First, one needs to check the AICTE/UGC/DEB for the list of approved institutions, and then check rankings etc. Why would anyone just go ahead without this? It does say a lot about the individual who acts without thought.


An education is the most important thing anyone in our world today can get. It shapes us, and later in our life, it defines us. Education is not just a degree, it is what we are because of those degrees. Colleges and courses – these are but thoughtful decisions. It is what comes after – the hard work, the slogging, the trials and tribulations, the success and the failures that actually shape us.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” ~Albert Einstein

Einstein’s words are true. I may not remember much about calculating trajectories or the Essentials of Management, but I remember the experience of studying. I remember enjoying it when I could balance accounts, or when my program compiled/executed the very time itself. These joys are unexplainable.

While the world is reaching out to send more children to school and when there are plenty of authentic courses available online as well, it is disheartening to find that some people think money actually buys an education.

The choice is always ours, we need to choose wisely.

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