Lakshmi wanted to become a nurse but her father preferred otherwise and wanted her to join a technician course. He reasoned that since Nursing course cost higher, due to shortage of funds, she could switch over after a year. She was good at life science lessons at high school and was sure of doing well if she took up nursing. Observing her barely average level of performance in the course the teacher wouldn’t agree less. When an opportunity came to join as nurse apprentice and also study for a nursing diploma, her father asked about discontinuing and the school informed that he had to pay fees of the rest of the two year course. Lakshmi’s father either couldn’t pay the money or did not want to and she had to continue half heartedly in the same course.
Another student Rajiv wanted to quit his course and take up a job on completing first year. When the school asked him to pay up for the second year, he argued that he couldn’t afford to. He then brought a group of outsiders to fight for his cause. The school was forced to climbdown its position and return the certificates.
Govindan always came last in the class in terms of studies. He wanted to become a bus driver but his family wanted to hear none of that. He was told to join some course and he chose a technical course which was beyond his ability. Even if he is able to convince his family to take up the work he wants later he may not be able to do because of the said policy.
Institutions (higher course schools and colleges included) collect the last qualification certificates from students at the time of admission. Instead of returning the certificates after verification most schools keep it in their custody till the students complete their course and pay all the fees. If a student wants to join some other institution or take up a job midway through his course he cannot because his certificates are kept as mortgage with unreasonable conditionality, without naming so, by the institution he had enrolled in .
This is deplorable of educational institutions whose primary role ought to be facilitating the students find their inner potential and pursue a profession that they really want and not imposed by others. Students who had the freedom to pursue a course of their choice showed more involvement and better performance in their studies. Those who were free to pursue their chosen profession have proved to be more happy and contented in their lives than than those forced into other avenues due to pressure from family, clan or school.
Schools need to abandon the practice of keeping student’s certificates as mortgages. If financial viability of running the course is a problem then they may factor in a marginal drop in strength while deciding the break-down strength needed to start a course. It is better to not to start the course when the required strength is not available than to go ahead relying on certificates as mortgage.
(Students’ names changed for confidentiality)