Whose responsibility is it to make one “job-ready”?

The industry cribs all the time that Indian education doesn’t produce enough job-ready people. I wonder, is it the responsibility of the schools/colleges to make one job ready by training them on specific tasks? Or is it the school/college’s responsibility to provide the students with the general tools and knowledge of theories and practices that will help when they take up a job. No school/college ever knows what job each of its students will take up. So, it is not possible to train the students on specific tasks! It is fair that they impart training that is general in nature. And, it is obvious that such general training may not be useful for specific employers.

The employers have all the specific processes and equipments that can be used for demonstration and making the new entrant job-ready for that specific job. Only employers can provide this customised training required to make the best job fit. So,  shouldn’t the employers be training them? Are the employers shirking responsibilities? Do all the employers in our country today have customised training for their new recruits/staff?

Standard Reply: The employers fear that whoever they train will soon escape to some other employer and so they don’t want to invest. Really? So, the alternate solution is you crib and take in half trained people and use them immediately to deliver services and products which are equally half baked?

Is trainee/apprenticeship period for training new recruits and making them job ready? Or is it a few months when the new recruit is like any other experienced employee, expected to deliver but at a lower cost and with the flexibility to be fired at short notice?

(Views of an outsider who is very much a part of the story.)

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Elevators

Elevators permitted increases in height of buildings. In other words, density of people living per square km could go up because elevator permitted multiple floors and hence more people.

More people per square km means that a much larger number of people are using the same available space of roads to move around. Congestion.

What do you do?

a.) Wish that elevators were not invented and instead of vertical growth, the cities would grow horizontally and that instead of pockets of highly developed cities you had continuous stretches of several small cities with mid sized buildings and less congestion on the road due to lower population density.

b.) Wish that somebody invents private-individual flying cars quickly and the somebody also builds lanes of air traffic with different lanes for different levels (heights) paying different charges.

Reading List 21st Nov, 2013

(Was out on a vacation and hence no edition of reading list came out during the last couple of weeks.)

1.) Why drinking hits women harder and why older you get alcohol hits you harder?

Some interesting facts:

  • Body composition starts to change as early as the 30s. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass, while fat content increases. Alcohol isn’t distributed in fat. People also have less total body water as they get older. So if several people have the same amount to drink, those with more fat and less muscle and body water will have more alcohol circulating in their bloodstream.
  • The liver gets bigger as people get older, but the organ becomes less efficient.
  • Enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase breaks down alcohol. Women of all ages tend to have lower levels of this enzyme in the stomach.
  • Moderate/safe amount of drinking is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and up to one drink per day for women, according to the latest federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (A standard drink is about 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor, according to the CDC.)

Article: Alcohol

(All said and done, alcohol is best avoided.)

2.) Naps clear our “Cache’” and so sleep helps us remember more!

Article: Sleep

3.) Why do we value gold?

What is the reason behind gold being accepted as currency and other details on gold.

Article: Gold 

4.) Money transfer systems: simple explanation of the story behind the curtains on how money is transferred.

Article: Money Transfer

Reading List- 23rd Nov, 2013

1.)What if your memory is fake?

Article: Fake memory

Those people who seem to have a photographic memory might just be having a fake memory!

2.) A brilliant innovation gets you fit for the Olympics!

Video: Subway tickets

3.) The story of Mike Tyson. Told again.

Article: Mike Tyson

4.) How Amazon became an everything store

Article: Amazon

5.) Why does airline food suck?

Article: Airline food

Boredom and Low humidity are two key reasons along with constraints in preparing food in the air. We lose sense of taste/flavour due to a blocked sinus and low humidity. This makes us less perceptive of the taste. Interestingly, Indian food is less affected by these conditions due to the fact that naturally permits humid sauces in its preparation.

Proliferation of “Chinese” goods!

When I went around looking for some memorabilia at the Liberty Island, US hoping to take something back home, I was surprised to see all items having a “Made in China” stamp. I repeat … all. I was stumped. I wanted to carry something back that represented the US and here, everything that represented the US was actually Chinese!

A few years earlier, I lived in a remote village in North Bengal for two months. The village was 10 km away from a metalled road and had only mud houses. There was no electricity and none of the households had a toilet. Guess what the villagers used for pumping water into the fields for agriculture? Chinese pump sets!

Low cost wins. Not just against remote access and utter poverty, but also against pride.

Developed vs developing world

Is there a way to differentiate between a “developed” nation and a “developing” nation by asking a single question?

I think yes.

When you want to find out if a particular place belongs to the “developed” category just ask a fairly rich local “What is your preferred mode of travel within the city/town anytime during the day? ”

If the answer is a train or a bus or any other public transport, you know you are in a developed country.

(I guess it is simplistic but more often than not the logic is correct.)

Private property v/s Shared ownership

In the real “physical” world, humans went from economies based on shared resources or common property resources as seen during the “hunter gatherer” phase of ancient human civilisation to the economies based on concepts of private property and ownership as we see today in the modern era.

Interestingly, in the digital world, we have taken the OPPOSITE direction. While we owned servers in the past and owned every piece of hardware and digital storage spaces earlier, today we have moved almost completely towards the concept of shared “ownership” . We don’t own our mail servers. Most websites are hosted on shared space maintained by others and we have the likes of the mighty Amazon Web Services that offer shared services.

The Dreamliner

The recent excitement and fanfare around the arrival of the Dreamliner aircraft in India reminded me of the good old childhood days. The average Indian household was then deprived of most of the material luxuries (“durable goods”)  that we consider basic necessities today. The most sophisticated device that you could expect to find in the house was the radio or the cheaper handy version better known as the “transistor”. Around the late eighties and early nineties, scooters, televisions and refrigerators started entering the average Indian household. Their arrival was marked by huge celebrations. Friends, relatives and neighbours would all come rushing to take a first look of the new member of the family. Pujas, flowers and chants made the whole incident look like a festival!

I have clear memories of the day when the first television (TV in short) came to my “maama-ghar“. Ours was a joint family with 5 families living in a bungalow tucked away in the lap of the hills and forests on the Chota Nagpur Plateau. My grandfather was a physician who decided to set up his practice in the quaint hilly village of Silli in the tribal heartland of Bihar (now Jharkhand). The huge house was complete with mango, litchi, jack-fruit trees in the backyard and farmlands just outside the boundary with a row of hillocks a few hundred meters away.

It was the first TV in the town! It had to be an event! We knew since morning that the TV was supposed to reach home around evening. It was to be bought from Ranchi (the current capital city of Jharkhand) which was some 55 km away but the road had to cut through the hills and dense forests and often took longer than expected to cover the same distance. The entire town was waiting with bated breath for the TV to come. Several times during the day, our neighbours from the tribal village came down asking if the TV had already come. Kids of all ages lined up close to the house as evening came close. The sun slowly set and darkness fell but nobody would move. It grew darker and people slowly started drifting back to their huts.

Much later the sound of vehicle horn was heard and everybody rushed out of the house. The kids in the house zipped across the large playground in front of the house to the other side to see the van even before it reached the house. The sky blue “Matador” van came tumbling down the slope of the playground, chased by kids of various sizes and came to a halt at the doorstep. Children howled in excitement, the women of the house struggled to keep their happiness in control and the entire neighborhood stood waiting with glistening eyes for the TV to be taken out from the van.

The TV did finally come out and it was set up in the largest room of the house. The antennae was fitted on a long wooden stick, connected to the nearest socket board and then the TV flickered on. Sweets were distributed and the doors of the room were opened wide for everybody in the neighborhood to come in. Almost everybody in the small town came down to the extent that I almost felt that the jackals, elephants and the leopards in the nearby forest would also come down to witness the euphoria.

For about 10 years or so since then, the house was open to neighbours from the nearby tribal hamlets to watch TV with us. The TV room was always jam packed. So much so that the actual inhabitants of the house barely found a place to sit. People of different age groups always made sure that they catch up  on the “Chitrahar” and the Sunday movies. Whenever electricity failed (which it often did), batteries were put to use! One of my uncles had a car battery charging unit. I guess the whatever he made in that business (if not more) was used up in charging the batteries for the TV.

India has changed so much since then. Bringing a TV or a refrigerator home is no longer a marquee event. We don’t celebrate them. Somewhere those big things in our life have today become obvious and bland. Is this a sign of development or lost ability to celebrate new things in life. The arrival of the Dreamliner proves that we can still celebrate a new marvel like we did in the past or may be not?