Friday, December 2, 2011

Is there an age to study?

My GRE starts in the next one hour and what better way to relax than to type in a quick blog post!

My test was scheduled to start at 9:00 AM but was rescheduled to 10:00 AM to suit the convenience of the test centre staff. I did not mind it. The security guard at the test centre looked at me curiously and then asked me if I am the test taker. When I concurred, he asked, with a very dismissive attitude, "Why do you want to write this at THIS age?" I did not expect such a question, to say the least!

Although I have quite a lot of white hair on my head, I have never visualised me as an "old" man yet. Brushing aside his sarcastic question as a meaningless comment, I started wondering if there is any age at all to study? Should education be restricted only to one's early years of life? Or should it be lifelong?

I think education should be lifelong but has to necessarily tie-in with your skill sets. In today's dynamic and globalised scenario, skills become obsolete so quickly that a person who is not re-skilling himself will necessarily fall out. Take the case of a computer. The configuration that you have today may become archaic two years from now and it is necessary to upgrade your system to function effectively. The same is true for human beings too.

While your early education (including your post graduation) decisions were influenced by many people including your parents, re-skilling decisions can be independently taken.Working professionals and entrepreneurs are better equipped to understand the employment and business scenario and hence will be able to make an informed choice on the skills that they would like to re-tool themselves with.

The learning while going through such re-skilling programmes can also be immense since you can bring in enormous value addition to the class based on your real-life experiences. Most re-skilling programmes also let you interact with a highly experienced peer group resulting in a much higher usable learning. The networking that you build at this stage will help make a huge difference to the rest of your career.

India, unfortunately, does not have enough re-skilling programmes for experienced professionals in different domains. While there are many business management programmes that exist, there are hardly any for the other areas such as education, technology, economics etc. While that gives me a business idea, for now, I am going to focus on getting myself re-skilled and be relevant to the market place. As far as I am concerned,  my age will never be a deterrent to learning. As an old tamil saying goes, "What I have learnt is the size of a stone and what remains to be learnt is the size of the world!"

GRE.. here I come!


  1. I wonder why Indians are still so backward and obsolete in approach.They raise eyebrows even on those things that are very normal,thinking logically.

  2. Ganesh,

    Believe it or not- its going to change. Who will change it- Obviously people like you.

    I feel quite optimistic for long term but the big question is can we reduce this long term to medium term to short term- and my answer is yes- we just need more people like you.

    Staying out of India for more than 7 years has forced me to think about the missing links which are pulling us down. Though I must admit that I cant reach to one conclusion but one thing that differentiates us from the countries that has developed remarkably in the last half century is that we don't dream enough and believe that we can make the change !

    By the way I never know that you are good writer too !Great blog !

  3. @Anand: Thank you Sirjee for your wonderful comments and compliments! I am definitely optimistic that a change is in the offing and the process has already started. In fact, a blog post on my dreams for education in India is on its way and should be up soon. Do keep visiting and sharing your thoughts Sir. Really appreciate your feedback.