In this article I would like to touch upon two important questions. One- what is more important opportunities or facilities and two- can research aptitude be sown in college or universities students without giving kids opportunity for the same at schools level?
In the present times technology is advancing at a supersonic speed. Parents want their kids to be abreast with all the developments and advancements taking place around them. Their focus is that the child might not miss any opportunity due to lack of facilities. The question arises- “Do opportunities exist only amidst the abundance of facilities?” I strongly believe that the answer is NO.
Let us look into the meanings of these two words. Facility means- “a special feature of a service or machine, which offers the opportunity to do or benefit from something/ absence of difficulty or effort.” This clearly indicates that facilities aim at cutting down on efforts. In the present times, whether it is parents or school, everyone is focusing at providing the kids with endless facilities. With facilities at home like access to internet, house help, home tuitions and other luxuries to smart classes and AC classrooms and buses in school; kids have the ease and comfort to do things as per their comfort. The excess of facilities have made the kids lazy and dependent on technology and other external help. With so many “prepared” solutions to textbook questions and exercises, the ability of the students to use their brains to find out solutions and research on a topic and frame answers creatively, is diminishing. This dependence on facilities makes the students unable to recognize opportunities and create them when required. Well, I am not anti-facilities, but excess of anything should be avoided, especially when facilities become a hindrance in research aptitude and originality of creativity.
Now let’s look at the term opportunities. It refers to favourable time/occasion/moment, right set of circumstances. When we look at this definition we assume that opportunities can be created only with facilities. This attitude often leads to the tendency of blaming the situations in case of bad performance. We need to teach our kids that opportunities can be created and they have to be seized with constant efforts. We also need to teach them to recognize the opportunities as sometimes the opportunities are right there in front of their eyes but they do not see. For grabbing opportunities kids will need to come out the comfort zone of facilities. A multitude of opportunities is constantly in front of their faces, passing by them as they hesitate to recognize and reach out for them. For them to grab these opportunities they have to lose the fear of rejection. They should be taught to take risks and accept failure. In all seriousness, stepping out of their comfort zone and snatching possibilities doesn’t come easy and is understandably an immensely frightening endeavor. But one cannot make such endeavors cocooned in the vast covers of facilities.
Let us look into some success stories which prove that success doesn’t come when one waits for facilities instead of creating opportunities.
Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, an Indian scientist and the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, has faced insurmountable odds in his path to becoming the leader of a Nation. Dr. Abdul Kalam hails from a poor family and started working at an early age to supplement his family’s income by distributing newspapers after school to financially contribute to his father’s income. In his school years, he had average grades, but was a hardworking student with interest in mathematics. Even during his senior class project while in college, the Dean was dissatisfied with the lack of progress and threatened revoking his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days. He then worked tirelessly on his project and met the deadline, impressing the Dean. From there on, Dr. Kalam joined Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist and went on to head the organization. The rest is history.
Narayana Murthy, who is described as the father of the Indian IT Sector and listed by Fortune Magazine among the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time, has not always been successful with his ventures. Narayana Murthy’s first venture, a company named Softronics, failed in about a year and a half after its start. After the failure of his first venture, Narayana Murthy joined Patni Computer Systems and worked there for about five years. He then founded Infosys in 1981 along with six software professionals and a meagre capital provided by his wife Sudha Murthy. Infosys is today India’s fifth largest publicly traded company and the third largest Indian based IT Services Company.
Sushil Kumar, renowned Indian World Champion wrestler, won the gold medal in the FILA 2010 World Wrestling Championships, a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics and a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He hails from a lower-middle class family and his father was a DTC bus driver and his mother is a housewife. Despite the minimal funds available, poor training facilities and lack of dietary supplements, Sushil Kumar has become a world-renowned Wrestling Champion through hard work and sheer determination.
Arunachalam Muruganantham, is a social entrepreneur from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India. He grew up in poverty after his father died in a road accident. His mother worked as a farm labourer to help in his studies. Today, he is the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine and is credited for innovating grassroots mechanisms for generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India. His mini-machines, which can manufacture sanitary pads for less than a third of the cost of commercial pads, have been installed in 23 of the 29 states of India. He is currently planning to expand the production of these machines to 106 nations. In 2014, he was included in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. (Source: Wikipedia)
Had these personalities waited for opportunities to knock at their door and blamed the lack of facilities, they wouldn’t have reached these heights.
As I have discussed in one of my recent articles, Indian youth is oriented more towards becoming businessmen and employees in big companies for handsome packages. The facility based bringing up conditions them towards earning money and acquiring these facilities for their future generations. Therefore the aptitude towards research has considerably gone down. To encourage research in the country Prime Minister’s Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research has been initiated under which 100 Doctoral Research Fellowships will be given every year. It is aimed at encouraging young, enthusiastic and passionate scholars to take up industry related research. The scholars will get double the JRF/SRF as scholarship. While this is a brilliant initiative let us hope that this attracts scholars who really want to make ground breaking discoveries and not those who would just come in for the money. This move is a great example of facility moving hand in hand with opportunity. This has to be grabbed by the scholars to prove their metal. But at the same time it is very important that the children are encouraged at school level towards the same and the one having aptitude for the same are given opportunity at college or university level. There is a simple thing for schools to do that the children are taught not for marks but new learning. Rote learning must be discouraged and the children should be encouraged to find different solutions of the same problem or different process to reach the same solution. In this regard I recall another excellent initiative in the form of ATL in schools. We hope this will manifest the potential possessed by the children in abundance but If not implemented by the schools chosen effectively then the wonderful scheme launched by the government may not yield desired result. In the end I would like to say that lack of facilities should never be the reason for not starting something innovative. The need of the hour is to create opportunities rather than waiting for one to be served to you on the platter of facilities as one should always remember that-
“Many negatives - pressure, challenges etc - all can be converted into opportunity to rise.”