Relevance of education

When I first embarked on my career, we had a co-worker, a rich man, a scion of industry. He had returned from Canada with an MBA degree. Those days an MBA degree was as valuable as a medical or engineering degree if not more. An MBA degree meant entry as a manager. I joined as a trainee and was still a couple of steps away from climbing to that post. The MBA chap made me feel lacking even though I was already holding a weighty responsibility. I, too, harboured a dream to do my MBA after garnering a few years of work experience. As destiny will have it, the company ‘sacked’ the MBA chap before he could even complete his probation period. And this forced me to give up my MBA dream and instead focussed on working diligently to become a manager. I soon realised that one requires a lot more qualities and skills, not necessarily negative ones, other than an MBA degree to become successful in a country like Nepal. One did not even require a higher degree to be successful in business.

A banker and ‘industrialist’ often claims in the social media that although he studied up to 8 or 10 standards, he employs master degree and PhDs in his companies. I have an acquaintance who ran an airline even though he had not completed his school education. On the other hand, a PhD from JNU in Peace and Conflict Management is doing odd jobs to survive. While teaching part-time in a Plus Two factory, I asked a student who would come to class once in a blue moon not to bother coming to school. He could not even write his name in Nepali, let alone English. During my classes, I would urge the students to take up a part-time job or learn a manual skill. I would tell the students that the waiter’s job could teach many skills.

Unbeknownst to me, the delinquent student started working as a waiter. He then started coming to school once in a couple of months. A year or so after I quit teaching, the student greeted me in the street. At first, I did not recognise him. The lout had transformed into a smart man. He started working in a restaurant and had become a skilled bartender.

A few months later he sent a message on messenger saying he was working at the VIP lounge in Doha Airport. Some of his bright classmates are still looking for jobs in Kathmandu. Unless people go for technical education like medical, engineering or flying, formal education might not guarantee success in the job market.