Coordinator’s View

Education vis-à-vis Business


Various articles have been brought out on education. These are based on perspective of Interactive Online Mentoring Session (IOMS), a flagship of Gyan Vigyan Sarita (GVS). This initiative is aimed at democratization of education by way of grooming competence to compete among deprived children. These articles carry critical views about commercialization of education. The GVS initiative is totally non-organizational, non-remunerative, non-commercial and non-political in nature. It is being pursued by a small set of persons with a sense of Personal Social Responsibility (PSR).


Growth of receptors of the initiative, driven selflessly with intense efforts, is observed to be sluggish and fluctuating. Inculcation of ability among target students to evolve solutions and implement them in an environment which is highly competitive and oriented towards securing of high marks and associated benefits is a herculean task. This environment is a complex evolution of demand-&-supply dynamics. Such an environment is highly conducive to business initiatives and repelling to IOMS.


This article is an attempt to analyze socio-economic dynamics regulating influence of business environment on education. This article is based on ground level experiences of pursuit of democratization of education for nearly a decade. Purpose of the article would be achieved if it incites a brain-storming among elites to create a balance between education, services, security and business, the four pillars of a happily flourishing society on the path of peace and coexistence. Such a scenario is intrinsic to sustainable growth of a society in particular and human civilization in general.


There are multiple forums and activists on conservation of nature, species of flora and fauna.  In such an awakened environment we need to ponder upon a question - should there be a need to emphasize upon democratization of education for sustainable growth of human civilizations with coexistence?


The subject matter is too intricate to be concluded in an article, yet an effort has been made seed in a debate.


Background: Human civilization has grown from nomad stage into evolution of roles based on competence and passion of individuals for interdependence for survival, growth and sustenance. Across the globe, it has taken different forms and names based on geographical and environmental considerations. These forms have kept on evolving into multiple sub-roles with growth of civilization, technology and needs of subsistence. In this evolution Division of Labour is intrinsic to Economic Thought Process of a society and is guiding principle of political governance. Nomenclature and classification of roles are only of cosmetics value.


Dynamics of Demand and Supply and Law of Diminishing Return are other guiding principles in economics. These principles are just not confined to products; they also come into play in every segment of life and so also in roles performed by individuals in their family and economics of life. Trade, commerce and business are ramification of these realities encompassing right from macro to micro scale.


Products’ demand and supply dynamics is foundation of economics. Commerce is about identifying needs and availability of products, commodity and or services and connecting production and consumption points. While, trading is about mechanisms of bridging availability and demand; economics is a philosophy concerning ways and means to add value to the product, commodity or services through various processes. Whereas, business on the contrary is about generating profits. Therefore, primary concern of investor in annual report of every business is the pattern of growth; net profit is implicit to it.


Broad Classification of Roles: Indian civilization is one of the oldest. It has distinction of making broad classification of roles in ancient times – (A) Learning and imparting knowledge of Brahmin, (B) Trade and Commerce of Vaishya, (C) Protection and governance of Kshatriya and (D) Maintenance of Hygiene and imparting services of Shudra. There are many school of thoughts for and against evolution of these classifications. In ancient India faiths, believes and practices were perpetuated either orally (Shruti) or by actions (Kruti). In absence of any written sermons, transmission of the culture transgressed the basic theme. Thus, many aberrations have crept-in including evils of rigid caste system with sad tales of the serving class in the hands of the upper class. Despite painstaking efforts of many social thinkers and reformers, the bitter part of the legacy continues to haunt social turmoil and political instability.

Racial, social and class unrest is not confined to India. They keep occurring intermittently throughout the world. Nevertheless, it has to be accepted that these aberrations are retarding much needed efforts which must be corrected, as we go forward, in a concerted manner. There is no room for either casual approach or complacence on the ground that it is everywhere.


We carry a rich cultural legacy which had excelled in many form of arts, knowledge and skills including philosophy, mathematics, mechanics, economics, astronomy, metallurgy, surgery; they are few to name. Prosperity of such a civilization is a needed for coexistence not only in India but for the whole humanity. Underlying principles of the scenario are–


सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः। सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः। सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु।मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥


अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्। उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्॥


There are many more sutra. Yet, philosophy, morality and ethics cannot pacify a hungry and deprived person. Every hungry and deprived persons unless motivated and supported to integrate in the main stream of knowledge and growth, democracy cannot flourish. This is where onus of PSR initiatives, qualitatively and philosophically, much different from CSR, lies with elites who are capable of creating a difference.


Business: It is application of philosophy of economics which has grown through the stages of commerce to explore demand and supply gaps and ways of bridging them. Commerce is executed through trade. Trade is mechanism of connecting producer and consumer with a direct and indirect service-cost charged by trader to either purchaser or seller, or to both, on mutually agreed terms. Business envelops all the theories and practices of the economic activities. Highly coveted business schools have grown into interdisciplinary specialization at post graduate level. Business education encompasses mainly three aspects as under -

(i)     Business philosophy concentrates on (a) its inevitability in an economy. It aims at generation of wealth as a means of welfare, (b) modes, practices and considerations that regulate a business decision viz. break-even point, return on investment, lead generation, cash flow, profit to turnover ratio, opportunity cost, sales win rate, growth rate, product/service cycle, target matrix, motivational practices etc.

(ii)   Business practices deals with laws of land, regulatory measures in vogue, operational jurisdiction, contracts and agreements, letting and subletting, conformance of obligations. These obligations are for stake holders, investors, employees and society. Different countries have provisioned statutory spending in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with associated tax benefits.

(iii) Business Ethics is about employees’ satisfaction, customers’ satisfaction. It is essential to build and maintain mutual trust for interdependence, and sustainable growth, in the interest of the larger good.


Religions in different parts of the world have evolved regulatory measures which sermonizes proportioning of profits for larger good in the form of selfless offering (Daan) viz. imparting of food, clothes, labour, knowledge, health care etc. These offerings are supposed to be made without any kind of expectations or return. Apart from this, every culture and religion also classifies evils. These evils are responsible for distrust and in turn disintegration from micro to macro scale. Indian culture has broadly classified ten evils viz. 1. Kama vasana (Lust),  2. Krodha (Anger), 3. Lobha (Greed), 4. Moha (Enchantment) 5. Mada (Pride), 6. Matsara (Jealousy), 7. Ahankara (Ego), 8. Alasya (Laziness), 9. Hinsa  (Violence) and 10. Chori (Theft).


In prevalent scenario the last evil, generally considered as financial embezzlement, is being regarded as black evil. We have tried look into it and explored white evils viz. professional, intellectual, and moral corruptions. These are latent in nature and are domain of the elites. Black evil is just a tip of the ice berg, while white evils are deeper and have long lasting consequences. White evils erode the social structure, values and believes.


Business Aberrations: Best of the business education, to select few from different disciples, entails attractive and highest paid job offers to its graduates. But, eventually everyone lands in a race to outperform in their business objective – profit, higher profit, highest profit. Ways and means to achieve these business objectives are ruthless and tyrant. It is compulsion of those best students trained in best possible manner to toe the business line. They have to follow it to survive in business world. These observations are based on our interaction over 10 years with some of the top corporates, persons, academicians, bureaucrats, social workers, NGOs and individuals.  It is seen that business operators try to gauge credentials of a decision maker. This is achieved by exploiting special occasions to gradually induce small allurements. Slowly, these decision makers are catalyzed to carry out white evils. Once they fall in, they are in the vicious trap and become subservient to the business objectives.  This is apparent in non-transparency of operation of the so called benevolent operation of corporate CSR. Result is unwillingness to collectively complement efforts of CSR for larger good. Thus, literally at work place all morality and education have become a passport, and a show piece, leaving players at their will to freely accomplish their business objectives.


It has to be accepted that charity is least of the objective of a business. Therefore, every penny that a businessman spends on appeasement of anyone is treated as an investment with an eye on ROI in exponential proportion. Exceptions are there. Yet, trace of journey of this initiative is an evidence that it has sustained on account of minuscule exceptions connected to it. This situation can be corrected only if business ethics are integral part of business objective.


In recent pandemic, there were many inspiring stories of voluntary relief to the families of Corona patients. Yet, there were disheartening cases of malpractices in provisioning, supply, administration and execution of relief, by treating the calamity as an opportunity to derive mileage. Many ugly faces surfaced whose focus, during the grave crisis, was either to escape from responsibility or to grab as much as possible from the crisis torn people. Some were into philanthropic competition, a cruel irony. At global scale, role of China, in this global crisis, is height of inhumanity!!! It gives rise to some crucial questions – Is philanthropy a genuine purpose or an opportunity? Can there be competition in philanthropy? Can one wait for others to become miserably pathetic, and become a subject of philanthropy? These questions are no way less perturbing than those observations which stirred Siddharth to give up princely life and to take a path of renunciation that led him to become Gautam Buddha.


Education: GVS is primarily an educational initiative. It has been discussed at length in multiple articles. In essence to avoid repetition, we go ahead to say that education is a process to inculcate in students an ability to observe, correlate, analyze, evolve ways and means of optimization, select a way which is feasible, economical and sustainable for the larger good. Last but not the least an ability to implement the selected way, and just not become an adviser. In real life rarely one encounters a problem which has a readymade solution. Yet, the ability attained during education lays a road map to walk along and enrich the learning, as one goes ahead, by working as a problem solver.


Education is boundary less, and that is where role of a teacher is to encourage students to think out-of-box and evolve solution. This is the objective of creativity at learning. Creating such passionate teacher committed to impart quality learning with deep root of ethics and propriety is the duty of society.


In ancient India teachers were Gurus and pupils from different cross-section of society desirous of learning would reach out to them. Their living was based on daily begging (Bhiksha). Society used to respond to them respectfully. With the growth of socio-economics, the pattern did not sustain. Needs of learning have enlarged quantitatively, qualitatively and in spectrum. Therefore, specific measures are required to have a pool of passionate and dedicated teachers and institutions. They are the people who can maintain stream of learning, see that it grows and evolves in a manner commensurate to the needs of time.


Education Aberrations: Earlier, educational centers were sponsored either by the state or the religious institutions. Progressively, there has been growth in commercial needs, affordability of every household, business awareness and opportunities. It has prompted people to move out of sponsored or free education, in search of institutions which could promise better growth opportunities at an affordable cost.


Earlier, students taking tuition or coaching were considered to be weak learners. Moreover, teachers engaged in tuitions/coaching were considered to be greedy and disregarded. With the changing scenario free learning has become a symptom of poverty. Sending children to tuition has become a status symbol of parents. Beyond this, new parameters of quality of a teacher are (a) the number of students attending his parallel classes, (b) the fees structure and (c) lavish life style of teacher. Quality of learning is just a promise with no guarantee of outcome in any form; it is like a mirage.


This scenario has spiraled a no-bar mushroom growth of private schools, dummy schools and parallel schools, each of them offering only fascinating assurances. Result is that even in villages and slums coaching centers are upcoming. Schools are reduced to merely frontend of tutors. It is similar to free medical checkup and camps that are organized by NGOS in association with hospitals. At the backend medical support system largely bears a face of rampant business.


Social Matrix: Concept of free economy propounds that production and selling price of produces is self-regulatory to the demand. Every product has a life cycle so also education is being considered. But, lifecycle of education spans over a decade and sometimes even more in case of specialization. Therefore, it is essential to consider the social matrix where people with different traits, likes, dislikes, qualities and skills coexist. In management psychology Transactional Analysis is used to judge response of an individual and means to regulate the same based on the states of ego viz. Parent, Child and Adult of an individual.


In my own case, I was born in an orthodox Brahmin family. My father served in Army to support our livelihood, like a Khastriya. My educational upbringing was in technical stream. It correspond to occupationally backward class (OBC). We continue to maintain cleanliness and hygiene at home and in immediate surrounding and also our toilet, a role of a Shudra.  During service in power utility, I was performing role of a Vaishya. After superannuation, having pursed higher education, I am engaged in learning and imparting education under aegis of GVS; thus, I am trying to perform role of a Brahmin. My ancestors prior to my grandfather remained confined to role of priest and astrologers. I consider it to be blessed opportunity to try to perform the role of a Brahmin, at this age and stage of life.


In this retrospective analysis, Indian culture conveys unity in diversity. This is seen from four major festivals. Deepawali is primarily celebration of wealth and belonging, traits of Vaishya. Vijyadashmi is celebration of powers and sphere of influence, traits of Kshatriya. Rakshabandhan ia an occasion to seek patronage of affluent and powerful persons to be able to perpetuate traits of Brahmin. Holi is an occasion to manifest ugliest part of life, considered to be a Shudra trait. Celebration of these festivals by every section of society is an evidence of harmony in the culture. It is on the principle to live and let live happily. These observations are based on seven decades of my experience in life that all the four traits are present in every person. Manifestation of a particular trait, at a particular point of time or place, is regulated by circumstances and compulsions of living.


A prosperous and peaceful society needs to support growth of knowledge, internal and external security, up-keeping and maintenance of systems and belonging. But, these three dimensions cannot be taken care of without the fourth dimension i.e. wealth. Static wealth depletes very fast unless replenished with a perpetual growth. This is where, business intervention in every household is inevitable. But, business must be carried out with ethics. Making profit is essential but, letting it happen in an unregulated manner at the cost of severely distressed persons is unethical. Moreover, exhibiting charity out of unruly earned wealth by spending a part of it as religious offering is easiest. It is hypocrisy and betrayal with the GOD.


Opening of educational opportunities has diffused old boundaries of caste. Roles and lifestyles have always been malleable to ability of a person to maintain them.  Inter-caste marriages are further levelling the ground. Need is to think so as to accelerate the change where caste lines disappear and every individual is entitled to earn a respectable life, instead of expecting bounties. Then only mutual respect and faith will grow and sustain with ethics of duty and responsibility. This responsibility lies more on elites, the creamy layer of society who generally engage in role of either advisers or critiques of the system.


Influence of Business on IOMS: Ethics is an integral part of education and it is equally there in business education. Moreover, business temperament is an essential for any everyone, right from every household to the country. Yet, in reality, killing competitions and survival of the fittest are the strategies in business. Worst and alarming form of these attributes became glaring during Corona pandemic.


IOMS is a philosophy, operation, methodology and vision and not an educational model. It started ten years ago with a support of an NGO and later became an independent initiative with a financial model Zero-Fund-&-Zero-Asset (ZFZA). There were a few who tried to complement the initiative, but could not get along as we graduated from Chalk-N-Talk mode to IOMS, six years ago. The reason was that they could not adopt IT-savvy requirements, a need of the time. Those who were IT-savvy could not find this selfless IOMS proposition meeting their expectations. Thus, onus of continuance of IOMS has squeezed to a 2-3 founding members.


Considering the necessity of collective complementing of efforts, later also stipulated in NEP-2020, efforts were made to associate with schools. The idea was to garner support of teachers at target schools as co-mentors. The proposition did not sustain. The reasons are – (a) rampant coaching/tuition culture all around, (b) IOMS emphasizes upon building of concepts and not the score in examinations, (c) IOMS is a totally selfless initiative, and (d) it was un-sustainable for a very small set of mentors to cope up with school specific needs and schedules. Eventually after sustaining association with school for more than Four years it had to be terminated in July’2021.


In this new scenario, while continuing with the sense of passion and commitment, and spirit of IOMS, all students were combined in four groups one each of class 9th to 12th. Accordingly, sessions for four groups were scheduled and started seamlessly in July’2021. Sessions were so scheduled that students even after reopening of schools, post pandemic, can attend them regularly. This facilitated parents to at least watch – (a) session in progress and (b) participation of their wards in IOMS. Erratic presence, non-punctuality and non-interactive participation of some students necessitated a meeting to invite attention of parents of students attending IOMS. Accordingly, an online meeting was convened with parents of all the four classes on October 10, 2021. Response to the meeting is classified as under –


Ill-concerned Parents: They neither attended meeting nor tried to connect thereafter to know concerns of mentors. It was only a matter of availing a facility which was available to them free and at their doorstep. Response of their wards to IOMS was in line with that of their parents. Such a group values education as cosmetic, as long as it is available to them without extra effort. Such students deserved to be dropped from the group.


Semi-Concerned Parents: They did not attend the meeting. But, they connected only after their wards were dropped from the group. It is seen as a forced response. During interaction it was observed that such parents could be further sub-classified as –

i)        Advertent: They had valid reason to justify their priorities above the meeting. They are aware that the initiative is totally selfless and is to help their ward. Yet, such parents had to be awakened in a candid manner that carrying forward IOMS is not obligatory on mentors. Therefore, it is for them to ensure participation of their ward in IOMS sincerely, punctually and interactively. Such parents are observed to be in a position to afford guidance which brings them results in a commercial environment. Summarily, responses of their ward in IOMS is similar with a difference of degree. Therefore, response to IOMS from them is subject to their convenience.

ii)      Inadvertent: They were straight apologetic, without any excuse, about their absence. They assured sincere, punctual and interactive participation of their ward in IOMS. They also assured their availability in any such meeting that may be called in future. Such parents deserve consideration for their inadequate awareness.


Concerned Parents: They attended the meeting, full-time, alongwith their wards who are participating in IOMS sincerely, punctually and interactively. Performance of these students at schools is also above par and they participate actively in Students’ Section of monthly Web-Bulletin of this initiative, accessible as a free web-resource. It is a mixed group of parents both educated and uneducated. Such families are aware of importance of education, as a necessity. They are the asset wherever they are and are always found to be receptive to out-of-box learning in IOMS.


Critical analysis of the variance in response of parents to this selflessly driven initiative reveals that- (a) there are options appealing to them in this glamorous marketing scenario, (b) they can afford on coaching/tuition and therefore have no dependence on IOMS, (c) Out-of-Box learning is not their priority, (d) those who understand importance of selfless passion and commitment in mentoring are all out to vouch for it and ensure that they fully associate in IOMS without missing a single session.


QuoteIOMS is not being pursued with an intent of any kind of Daan. Therefore, we do not entertain any kind of offerings except selfless mentoring driven with the PSR. This initiative in a non-competitive. Yet, it is open to collectively complement anyone who considers that imparting education is an act of PSR. It is neither a business proposition nor it can be fitted into any business model. Such a posture in IOMS makes it susceptible to multiple challenges of survival. With the understanding of all these realities, aim at IOMS is to sustain the vagaries, and serve its takers on a widest possible canvas. While doing so we cannot breach human limits. It is believed that there are sensible persons watching our resolve and waiting for us to reach our breakdown point before they would move to ensure that the initiative does not sink. Our simple request to them is “don’t be too late in your start, else the sink may go beyond irrecoverable point”.


Conclusions: Division of roles is inevitable in any socio-economic order. Yet, need is to build a matrix of self-adjusting roles, which is delinked to family trace of individuals. Roles have to be competence based where socio-economics offers opportunities to everyone to make dreams and build competence to fulfill them by adopting commensurate roles that an individual dream. In the process those who have grown from rugs are the best to take a lead. It requires each of we elites to take forward steps to complement educational environment to become a strong fabric of socio-economic systems. It cannot be allowed to sway in strides of profiteering business. We have to discharge this PSR without indulging into discrimination of any kind. It is an inevitable national cause, as well as a human cause. It cannot wait for personal or political preferences. This is the basic business ethics and education system has an important role in the process.


Making this happen requires a professional approach which requires that business education is integrated in education. But, education should not be allowed to become business. Lest it happens, it will be a great human tragedy. It requires that while democratizing education, focus is on quality.  Linking of growth to competence is professionalism. Focus on turnover and ROI are business objectives, which do not fit into either educational policies or plans; the latter have a long term perspective.




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