Life lessons

Let’s get experienced

I have in the past complained about the kind of education system I endured back in India where most of the learning was based on memorising. The only subject I remember fondly from school was English because you couldn’t memorise things like essays and compositions and reports. In fact, I think we learnt English really well in school.

One thing I’ve noticed about the Aussie school system which I really like (apart from having assessment tasks in addition to written exams) is that in Year 10, students have a couple of weeks of work experience.

Basically, the students go out to one workplace for a week in one term and another place the other term and suss out different jobs. They get to observe workers and assist (depending on the job, of course!)

And it makes me wish we had had something similar.

At 15, you are young and naive and have this egocentric worldview. In India, what was worse was that you had to choose your field of choice pretty much after Year 10. So basically, as a 15 or 16-year-old, with no work experience whatsoever, not much knowledge on what actually jobs involve (apart from your own fantasy view based on TV), you are thrown into the world of making up your mind what you have to do.

Who the bloody hell came up with that brilliant idea???

I don’t know if anything has changed. But if one thing should, I reckon all schools world over should adopt a work experience week or even month.

I saw some high school students this week with primary school teachers and observing them in their job. It’s not a picnic as some people think. Managing a class of 20-odd 5-year-olds can be a nightmare! I’ve observed it first hand (and I will not swap my role with teachers any day!!!). With students getting a chance to actually see what it’s like, it would help them get a realistic view rather than something based on what someone said.

When I think back now, in year 10, I didn’t even know what a psychologist was, let alone what a psychologist did!!!??? And I did have a fantastical view of journalism back then (Someone forgot to tell me that weird hours and public speaking were involved)

How many others are there that take up a career path based on what someone said or on what they saw on TV or the internet and realised years down the track that it wasn’t what they thought it to be?

How many have regrets?

I’m not saying work experience will be the answer for everyone, but it’s one way of sniffing out what’s in store.

Until next time,


You Might Also Like

  • amol.naik
    30 June 2009 at 5:36 am


    Good point from pychologist’s perspective! The education system in India is age old, perhaps directly from the pre-histortic times of sages delievering knowledge threw poems, proses. Pupils had to learn every word of.

    It is indeed a good idea to integrate real work experience. Germany also does that, albeit a little later (after schooling).

    Good post…!

  • Mumbai Diva
    30 June 2009 at 6:08 am

    hmmm..interesting point of view. I personally feel more than work experience there should be greater emphasis on extra curricular activities/sports which hone your skills as an all rounder. This is sadly lacking.

    From what I have heard there are a whole lot of schools now ( I know of a few in Delhi/Gurgaon) which do not follow the traditional way of teaching. I’ve also heard of some schools which do not allow the kids to carry books home as they feel that school is enough for the learning…. So I guess, there is hope πŸ™‚

  • Archana
    30 June 2009 at 7:20 am

    I definitely agree with you that I’m not a fan of this system of memorizing or knowing exactly what you want to be in life as a 10th grader. You have to give people room for experimentation and exploring what they are interested in – and hands on internships, etc are very beneficial.

    We had career week at my high school where people working in different industries came in to talk in our classrooms and it was pretty much an open forum where people could ask questions & discuss. I thought that was pretty useful, since I knew I would be having hands-on internship experiences in college.

    I can only speak of the American system, since that’s what I experienced, and I definitely think they have an ideal system with room for flexibility of choice. And the flexibility continues through to college. πŸ™‚

  • Shankar
    30 June 2009 at 9:27 am

    Everyone here complains about Indian education system..But its merely going into deaf ears..

  • anant
    30 June 2009 at 9:30 am

    now i am actually thinking whrther i am taking correct stream for my have now increased me problem indirectly

  • patrick
    30 June 2009 at 12:06 pm

    You’re right, that’s too young to be deciding the course of your whole life. In Canada we have a co-op program that runs through a variety of grades where students can sample the work world for a semester. Free or very cheap labour for the employer (and tax write-offs), and experience for the students. Everyone wins!

    (Nice blog, btw. You stole my design! Kidding — very nicely done πŸ™‚ )

  • Pesto Sauce
    30 June 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Things are changing…now with Class X boards also giving way, there is some refreshing change in the offing

  • Legal Alien
    1 July 2009 at 12:47 am

    Sometimes I have some terrible luck with your blog. I commented twice but stupid internet at work is annoying and now my break is over so I better get back but lets just say “I so agree”… I’ll comment properly later.

  • quirkyindian
    1 July 2009 at 10:41 am

    There’s plenty that’s wrong with the Indian education system, and what you have pointed out is just one aspect.

    Work-ex while in school? In India, you could join an MBA programme fresh out of college, never having worked a day in your life. Go figure.


    Quirky Indian

  • Ersa
    1 July 2009 at 7:33 pm

    i agree, Psych…having studied both in India and US, I can tell both systems has it’s own advantages and disadvantages…but, as far as gaining some work experience before entering the corporate world goes, i really do prefer it here…

  • Kanupriya
    8 July 2009 at 6:55 am

    Hey I so very much agree to it, while work exp will not be answer to everything but it definitely can help in having answers to many things. Forget about school education, in India ppl enter B schools without any work exp at all. I for one definitely regret going to a B school without any previous real time corporate experience. All that time I was knowing about MBA was through media or through some acquaintances. Its only when you start working you realize how work life is so different from what u learnt in schools / colleges. Like west, I think admission to at least high end professional courses should be mandatorily taken after some real time work exp.

  • Gigi
    8 July 2009 at 10:39 pm

    I totally agree with you. Work experience helps you more than education. Recruiters value work experience more than a degree.

  • Prasant Naidu.
    12 July 2009 at 5:46 am

    Yes i wish our Indian education system should be more practical rather than sticking to books and class work. Both are required and as u pointed a little bit of experience at a young age can motivate a student to look into his own field rather than following a bunch of seniors.

    Nice work,
    Keep Rocking,

  • Miss M
    13 July 2009 at 6:41 pm

    When it comes to work experience and stuff like that, I prefer the education outside india.

    Though can I just say, that I do envy people who have done their college years in India. Simply because its a different way of life for college students there. Yes I know studying abroad has its perks, but theres a certain charm about indian college life. Can’t really put a finger to it but I do envy those people.

    First time here! Hello. πŸ™‚

  • Psych Babbler
    21 July 2009 at 10:59 am

    @ Amol: After schooling too would be good…we get neither!

    @ Mumbai Diva: Well, I came from a school that emphasised extra-curriculars…but the problem was only a select few students would partitipate each year and win. But I do agree that extra curriculars should also be given importance!

    @ Archana: I so wish we had career weeks when I was in school. Honestly, most people only seemed to know about medicine and engineering here. I knew about journalism but that was only because of watching too much telly! πŸ˜›

    @ Shanker: Let’s hope smoe day changes will take place…

    @ Anant: I have friends in similar positions as you…

    @ Patrick: Welcome and thanks for commenting!! The Canadian system sounds really good! And lol…the design do look similar!

  • Psych Babbler
    21 July 2009 at 11:07 am

    @ Pesto: Is that definite though? I didn’t think it was.

    @ Legal Alein: Aww, I don’t know why that happens! Damn!

    @ Quirky Indian: Now that’s an aspect I didn’t know — no work ex even during an MBA? I thought there were internships and stuff. I mean, even post graduate psychology degrees here require some internship.

    @ Ersa: The only benefit of the Indian system over the others I thought was the way we were taught English…right from the basics including grammar which is not taught in Aus

    @ Kanupriya: Yeah I only just found out about the B school thing…shocking!!!

    @ Gigi: Yeah…I struggled to find a job initially because I didn’t have paid work ex within my field.

    @ Prasant: Welcome to my blog! Thanks for commenting. I think as you said, another problem is blindly following our seniors or doing what our parents tell us.

    @ Miss M: Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. Well, I do agree I enjoyed my college years in India but in terms of learning, I learnt a whole lot more in my post grad outside of India. There’s always pros and cons, aren’t there?? πŸ™‚

  • ani_aset
    29 July 2009 at 11:43 am

    leave aside someone telling me..i dont even know still why i did MBA..i have just left it to fate i guess