Taare Zameen Par lessons

TZP is an exceptional movie by one of the best actors in Indian cinema- Aamir Khan (AK) . He has matured considerably over the years and his “one movie at a time” strategy has worked wonders for the viewers. This time he directs the movie and does a wonderful job.

This blog is not meant to review movies but I thought this movie offers important lessons in economics. In one of the scene in the movie, AK shows his frustration at the fact that every parent in India wants his kids to become doctor/engineer etc. I don’t remember whether he mentions MBA also but we can add it to the list as well.

India has a huge population and we should see varied occupations. However, in India kids often follow a beaten path.

  • At school most work extremely hard to get through limited seats available in engineering (read IIT) and medicine. The non-science students who can’t try their hand at Chartered Accountancy
  • The left overs go to college (it is a substantial number) and after college most try their luck at MBA (read IIM). (Earlier the fad was to try luck at civil services, now it is MBA).
  • The problem becomes extremely difficult to manage as most engineers want to do an MBA. No one seems to be interested in engineering and as a result we have cries of talent shortage in key industries (I however think talent shortage can be managed)

I don’t know whether we are able to see this or not but this trend of everyone wanting to become engineer/MBA/Doctor is going to become a bigger problem. As it is this year about 2,50,000 students gave the CAT exam this year and this number has been increasing everywhere.

The reason is simple- huge (assured?) salaries after the program. Well, I understand the reward theory but this hue and cry over high salaries is insane. We need to maintain a balance and it has clearly broken over the years.

There are elite colleges all over the world and I am yet to come across any other country where so much mention is made of salaries after getting some education. The focus should always be on quality of education and not placements.

I think students already been rewarded by getting education from the best institutes in the country which are gaining credibility over the years. As Bernanke said in his speech – Education is the best investment.

The institutes should have stopped this practice of releasing “how high the salaries were this year” to the media long back. This reduces the pressure on people opting for a career.

The biggest gainer from these developments is the huge increase in cashflows of coaching institutes that help you prepare for these exams. So much so, that private equity has started taking keen interest in this business ! The once laidback coaching places are seeing flurry of activity. There is huge competition in these institutes and you see a lot of ads showcasing their success ratios etc. The media has also ensured the hype only increases. There are many a interviews of the selected candidates in various magazines and news channels.

There is an urgent need to develop and appreciate alternative careers. It just helps development of the society better. There have to be better incentives for someone wanting to become a painter, archaeologist, etc. Most of the students interested in such careers have to opt out because of lack of proper incentives. There have been some efforts lately as we now have fashion designers, sportspersons (read cricketers) etc.

More effort is needed.

3 Responses to “Taare Zameen Par lessons”

  1. Jayan Says:

    Exactly!! We need to incentivize careers which arent being embraced. Freedom of choice in careers is relevant only if u can make enough rupees to feed yourself out of it.

  2. Any market for painters? at Blogbharti Says:

    […] Amol Agrawal insists there is an urgent need to ‘develop and appreciate alternative careers’ in India- to provide incentives for students who wish  to look beyond medicine, engineering and business adminstration: The institutes should have stopped this practice of releasing “how high the salaries were this year” to the media long back. This reduces the pressure on people opting for a career. […]

  3. From Community Banker to Central Banker « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] are and end up taking careers based on current hype. And then we have a problem of having very limited career options with parents wanting their kids to take up standard stuff – doctor, engineering and now MBA. Yes, […]

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