There is so much stress on academics in our schools and colleges that students are hardly left with any time for learning life skills. An average Indian student looks at examinations as the key to success in life. But unfortunately, a successful academic career does not guarantee success in post-education life.
Academics though are helpful in learning and understanding basics of all life sciences, they are not be-all and end-all in themselves in the life of a person as we make them out to be.
Hence, academics need to be complimented with application of knowledge and skills in life for a successful career. But most of our educational institutions are either oblivious of this basic fact or gloss over this vital aspect of learning.
As a result of this lopsided approach students end up creating mental blocks for themselves. They should bear one thing in mind that the real world seldom runs by what is taught in a classroom through written word. Once out of college, students need to look around for challenges they face and evolve solutions on their own with the help of academic approach.
In doing so they need to apply a little discretion as all the problems cannot be solved through copybook academic solutions. Once they get over this mental block it is easier for them to enter into professional life.
Interviews are the test for a student’s approach to life, academic or pragmatic. Most of the employers set stock questions in the personal interview. While many academic leading lights falter in interviews as they fail to transcribe what they have learnt about a given subject into speech, less academically endowed students pass the test with ease through pragmatic approach.
Most students primarily focus on cracking the written tests. However, once they are through, the interview takes them completely off guard. It is because notwithstanding a very strong hold on their respective subjects, these students do not pay heed to developing communication skills parallel with their academic pursuits.
The education system is to blame for this anomaly. Schools generally do not do enough to boost oral skills in students, while colleges lag far behind in that they either don’t focus on developing conversational capacity, or they focus on a select few students who are already interested in that area.
Last-minute preparation is not enough as in the case of other spheres of life. Unless one is confident and well conversant on the subject and a good grasp of grammar and conversational etiquette he/she is not going to get through.
The important thing is for colleges and schools to make the shift from simply having informal student-run clubs to including conversational skills, both general (being able to strike up a conversation) and specific (being able to respond in an interview) in the curriculum. A foundation course on conversational skills and add-on electives or short one-day courses on topics like How to respond in an interview or even dressing etiquette (for interviews) are highly desirable.
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The opinion expressed in the article is of the writer. Writer is a freelance journalist/journalist based in Delhi