Should workers be held back by lack of formal schooling?

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You should give straight forward answer for this question. But you should not ask such rather embarrassing questions like, What we should do with our politicians like MLAs, MPs and even Chief Ministers, who have no formal schooling? Should we recall them or allow them to cheat us as usual and permit them to amass wealth for their wards?’. No, no, you should not view this topic from an Indian perspective, but from a broader perspective that applies to all.’

Workers, whether they are in the organized or in unorganized sector perform their work or complete their assigned task with whatever skill they possess.

Workers in the unorganized sector like agriculture, building works, dairy farming and running automobile workshops, working as mechanics and employed as workers in the road laying and repairing works, employed as cooks, servers or bearers in the hotels, employed as drivers and for running errands etc, they are all employed purely on the basis of their skills without any formal schooling.They are paid higher salaries by their employers for their skills and efficiency and for their long standing service etc. Question of holding back these workers for lack of formal schooling never arises, as long as they render their service satisfactorily to their employers. Only aging and debility is a factor that diminishes the skills of these workers that may hold them back from performing their assigned task. For example an aged worker may not be able to perform the agricultural works like sowing, reaping, carrying the loaded gunny bags etc; similarly in the building works, an aged mason may not be able to satisfactorily to do his work or engage in white washing or painting works; An aged bearer or an aged driver may not serve as efficiently as he was in his younger age. Therefore in the case of the workers serving in these unorganized sectors, the question of holding them back for lack of formal schooling does not arise.

Whereas, in the case of the workers working in the organized sectors like industries, private and public sector organisations, they are recruited based on their formal educational qualifications and for the special skills they possess.For example a worker who is employed in the automobile industry, is recruited provided he possess a diploma in the automobile industry.Similarly, a teacher, who is employed in the school for the hearing impaired people, should have possessed a diploma in the respective field.Similarly, in the higher educational institutions like colleges and universities, faculty members are recruited on the basis of their requirement and according to their qualifications in the specific areas.

But even in the organized sector, the workers recruited in the lowest category of posts like sub-staff in a bank, a peon in an office, a casual mazdoor or a regular mazdoor in the organizations like telephone departments, a sweeper or a water boy or a watch man in these organizations, do not possess any formal educational qualifications and they do their works according to the best of their ability.

For example, a casual mazdoor working in the telephone department is required to dig the earth for laying cables, deal with alignment of telephone lines and wiring etc and he is recruited as a regular mazdoor, if he has completed a continuous service of 480 days as a casual mazdoor without any other formal educational qualification.What is expected from him are only the above mentioned skills that he is familiar with as a casual mazdoor. Hence, it would be unwise if you hold him back after many years on the pretext, the department has become hi-tech. In fact, regular mazdoors in the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited in India are currently given only refresher course training with the latest technology introduced in the corporation.If a regular mazdoor equips himself with a formal education, it is useful for him from the point of view of promotions in the department.

No doubt, times are changing. World is progressing at a faster pace. For example in the telephone department rapid changes had taken place. Manual exchanges had become automatic exchanges; automatic exchanges had become digital exchanges; Work culture in the department also has largely changed. Even the role and the work culture of the sweeper in the telephone exchange has changed.Previously in a manual exchange, the tools of the sweeper were broomsticks, pieces of rags to clean the dust on the furniture and the equipment.When the exchanges were converted into automatic or digital, the sweepers had to use vacuum cleaners supplied by the Eureka Forbes; no more broom sticks; no more rags for cleaning or removing dusts;

The sweeper working in a digital exchange has now become a hi-tech employee. Now he or she is in her post 50s.Of course, the very idea of having an employee without any formal education is a difficult pill to swallow.However, still, you cannot hold him or her back just because, they do not possess any formal educational qualification.They are already blinking at the high-tech atmosphere.What you require is that a sweeper has to be fitted in the modified work culture or hi-tech atmosphere.

They have to be equipped with the requisite knowledge to handle the high-tech work culture.For example in the case of the sweeper working in a digital exchange, he or she has to be equipped with the knowledge of operating a vacuum cleaner through a refresher course.In fact equipping him or her with a formal education will make him or her more sharper and resourceful.If the organization is really concerned about him or her for not possessing a formal education, it should take steps through adult education methods to provide him or her with the elementary education.

Therefore, workers should not be held back for lacking in formal education. Instead, the organization should take requisite steps for equipping the concerned workers with the requisite knowledge through a refresher course, to update his and her knowledge so as to handle the new equipments in the modified hi-tech work culture.

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