Thursday, June 2, 2011

Higher education through the family savings or....

A lot of parents bury their entire life’s savings into funding higher education for their children.
This is not exactly the right practice because the burden is felt by both. The parents are now depending on their ward’s to support them in their old age and the ward’s in turn feel `guilty’
about using their parent’s savings for their own purposes. We need to support children by giving them the right advice, providing them a support system and being for them in their good and
bad. We should not be emotional, physical or financial burdens simply because we contributed to their growth. Bringing up children is the duty of the parents and that is what needs to be done. Similarly for children who have utilized their parent’s savings there is a feeling of guilt especially if he or she does not perform well, grades drop or the course itself is not suitable. The child continues to suffer silently and then spends the rest of his or her life worrying about the `poor’ parents. Love should be unconditional and not something which ties and binds the child to his or her parents. Having said that, an educational loan immediately places a responsibility on the ward and he or she knows that there is a performance requirement which is mandatory to obtain a job which is necessary to start repaying the loan. This onus and sense of responsibility is the gift the parents are bestowing on the child as he or she lives in the real world where there will be many similar responsibilities. This is the first step in learning ownership and commitment and this is a great gift. If, however, the parents wish to help the student, then they can opt for a part payment and partial loan scheme which will work well for all concerned.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Today’s economic conditions are quite dynamic, which courses should I suggest for my/son daughter where the risk for employment will be lower.

The word `dynamic’ explains the nature of the economic conditions globally. There is no magic rule by which to state what will be the best option especially when we are looking into the future.
Because the choice of the program is made now, but completion can take anywhere from a year to four years during which time, there can be dynamic changes to economic conditions which in turn impacts the job market.
For examples in the late 1990s computer science was a hot and coveted subject and software engineers were welcomed by some of the largest multinational corporations by offering huge salaries. However, during the dotcom bust which happened in early 2000s, there was a drop in the number of students opting for computer engineering with many of them preferring to go for the tried and tested medical, law or any other degree. Once again during the 2000s, the IT boom happened and once again there was a mad gold rush for engineering seats and during the economic downtown in 2008, the takers for computer engineering seats dropped dramatically, with CET having excess seats in Karnataka!
Thus, while it does make sense to evaluate the job worthiness of a program more importantly the student’s aptitude and interest in a subject is very important as this is key to his or her success later.
Many intelligent students become mediocre performers in a program simply because they are not really interested in the course but want to do it to increase their chances in the job market. If these same students get good jobs, there too they will continue to be mediocre players and for the rest of their lives they will lead a life of compromise – doing something they do not really enjoy simply because it pays them a good salary. This is extremely short sighted and wrong. As employees most of us spend nearly ten hours of our waking time in an office and if we are unhappy doing what we are doing then we are actually wasting our lives.
Thus the criteria should be what interest the student the most. Once this is decided, then the student can succeed in the job environment – down turn or no downturn – because there is always a need for great employees and an employee who is passionate about his job will always be wanted and retained by employers.