Education in Business: Winning and losing at the same time

Wafiur Rahman
Thursday, May 18th, 2017


Why do we need education for doing business? The state of education in Bangladesh does not present an optimistic picture. Still there are many promises for successful businesses here.  These businesses are looking for talent and educated manpower, not only to exploit their potential but also to overcome challenges at home and abroad.


In business, we can do something and then learn something from it and this process takes some time. Conversely, we can learn something and then do it –this process probably takes relatively lesser time and more importantly sharpens the future learner by doing. In any case, we cannot avoid learning.


Understandably, learning started from the time the first pair of men and women set feet on this planet. It is a continuous process with no station for halting; it runs from the cradle to the grave. How does the learning process move on? Technologically thinking, man could be conceived as a self-programmed robot; s/he learns by themselves taking cues from her/his environment. Parents help initiate the process, but at a later stage, the responsibility is mostly assumed by people or organisations other than the parents; that is where the system of education comes in.


For thousands of years, humanity has been teaching itself, especially on how to survive in the great mundane struggle for existence. Man has been destined to fight for life and liberty; in this process, he has been ever since his birth, struggling for food, clothing, shelter, medical care and education.  It is famously stated then that ‘man is born free but everywhere he is in chains’, this condition has made it a daily chore for him to struggle for liberty in almost every nook and corner of the world, and ironically, this struggle for liberty constitutes in fighting for liberty by one hapless poor man from the grinding subjugation by another man.


The books of accounts of the world have transformed drastically over the past two centuries – from some frail documents keeping information about few domestic transactions into amazingly robust, sprawling and rich systems keeping track of human activities creating assets and wealth. No longer does life depend only on collecting and consuming resources, which are available in the natural world without having to process those and recreate consumables and wealth. Creation of wealth directly depends on transactions among interested parties based on comparative advantage which means – to build and bear life, man needs to engage in BUSINESS.


In the transformed world, direct and almost perpetual dependence on business for earning livelihoods, has created an environment both in domestic and international esplanades where fierce competition whips up people to take any action, to go to any length – to secure business, to reign over markets, to sustain and bolster profits, to enlarge assets and wealth, and thereby ensure multi-dimensional securities for individuals and communities.


This bloody fight necessitates the need to acquire certain weapons, tools and equipment to win over competitors – those weapons for survival consist in EDUCATION and TRAINING. Constant refurbishment, renewal and replacement of these weapons can only keep some individuals, groups and nations floating against tides of fair and unfair competition; which is relentlessly exerting a gravitational force on every entity in business causing risks of sinking.


If education is a science, training is the technology to translate that science into reality. Business houses need to adopt this science and technology very meticulously, if they wish to navigate safely through tormented waters of contemporary world trade and commerce. There is no and was never an alternative to this premise, but the trend that has blanketed the educational and training fields in Bangladesh does not present any optimistic version of status.


We have seen in recent years educational and training institutes growing in large numbers, mostly in the private sector. These organisations are producing many graduates who labeled as MANPOWER by business organisations, are joining the market competition. Where skills are cherished to convert raw materials into products and services of value, and where power is sought to create assets and wealth. Yet how far are our graduates ready, or capable of serving the business houses purposefully or of proving themselves as entrepreneurs?


A general disillusionment runs across the business districts of the country surrounding the quality of the fresh products being offered by the academia to employers. Unfortunately, from high schools to colleges to universities, the sponsors are mostly found to consider education to be a mere commodity for business. Their motto: sell education at the highest costs possible, produce as many graduates as possible, pile up profits as much as possible, no matter what.


How could this be possible? Because, our organisations charged with the responsibilities to look after the educational health of our people, authorised bands of money-maniacs establish educational organisations without putting in place strong and appropriate frameworks of rules and regulations. So that those organisations could be channeled to routes as to create an educational seedbed, that would produce quality graduates capable of doing beneficial work for themselves,  the business and the society.


The fashion attached to modernity feels pampered to see almost everything as a commodity, and tends to behave accordingly, demanding commercial gains from such goods. But, the enthusiasm to exploit education as a commodity, as is the practice of a section of educational organisations in Bangladesh, may be countervailing: excess of everything is bad; excessive commercialisation is bad; but excessive commercialisation of education is too bad and may start degenerating the receivers into worthless social elements.


Education may be conceived as a vehicle; a medium by which, the status of the human person and his intellect could be transformed into one that stands for the benefit of self and the environment beyond self. An ill-made vehicle is sure to fail to get the boarders to the destination and ill-prepared persons are sure to fail their employers, especially in the business sector where excellence is essential to survive.


If our business is to succeed, our students must succeed.

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