The big red letters on the front of our school used to read, in two languages:
In Punjabi: “Vidhya insaan di teesari akh hai!”
In Hindi: “Vidhya insaan ki teesari aankh hai!”
Meaning: Education (or knowledge) is the 3rd eye for a person.
Growing up, we all knew that some of the rules should not and could not be questioned; rules like:
- Respect your books. Stepping on a book, even by mistake is a sin. A book never belongs under your feet.
- Education is your priority number one.
- Respect your teachers….
If you look around, you can always find many neighbors or colleagues that sacrifice so much to educate their kids. Many of them may not have enough to afford three meals a day, but they would do anything to ensure schooling for their kids. Good schooling, including the prestigious schools or colleges abroad, is not out of the reach of determined desi families.
The same priority on education is equally true for Indian Americans, British Indians, Indo Canadians….and other Indian families overseas.
“I left my country so you could be someone!” This may be exaggerated a bit, but you can hear the first generation immigrant parents scold their slacking kids. You can do supports, but good grades are a must – no compromise there. The culture of education is a part of growing up in any Indian family.
Thanks to the high discipline in education, the Indian diaspora is one of the most successful communities abroad. From small businesses, personal endeavors and public institutions – in every walk of overseas life, the contribution of Indian immigrants is clearly visible. You can walk into any hospital to find a large percentage of doctors of Indian origin. Major corporations like Microsoft and Google have a large chunk of Indian Engineers on their payroll. Middle class management in any large company is enriched with Indian talents all around the globe.
Numbers don’t lie:
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Asians in work force have the highest education levels. The latest report ‘Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity’ clearly spells out:
“Asians were most likely to have graduated from college; fifty-eight percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 34 percent of whites, 24 percent of blacks, and 16 percent of Hispanics.”
This report from the US department of Labor goes on to conclude the obvious impact of education:
“For all groups, higher levels of education are associated with a greater likelihood of being employed and a lower likelihood of being unemployed. Individuals with higher levels of education generally have better access to higher paying jobs—such as those in management, professional, and related occupations—than individuals with less education. “
The relation between education and a successful career clearly speaks through these numbers from one of the most respected agency of US Department of Labor.
The moral of all this:
Stay in school, keep your kids in schools and give them the dreams of a bright future based on a solid foundation of education. The importance of education – early education to advanced and specialized studies – cannot be stressed enough. Carry on this tradition of our forefathers and remember:
“Vidhya insaan ki teesari aankh hai!”
- Desi work ethics: Key to success abroad
- Asian Women lead the US work force ranks
- Brain Drain to Brain Gain – Indians Abroad
- US Employment scene by Race and Ethnicity
- Jobs and Occupations in highest demand in USA: 2006 to 2016