External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s appeal to parents of students, who go to Australia to obtain degrees in disciplines such as hair-styling, to be more discriminating in their choice (Jan. 8) is long overdue. However, parents and students are not the only ones to blame for the state of affairs. A major portion of the blame goes to the education consultants. Most education counsellors fail to offer honest advice to students who want to pursue degrees in such fields. Studying abroad is presented as the only option to them. Mr. Krishna’s remarks will go a long way in initiating a constructive debate on the merits and demerits of studying abroad.
Studying abroad and pursuing a course of their choice is a dream come true for many students. It is illogical and impracticable for everyone to secure admissions in top universities in top-level courses. I believe the students know their strengths and limitations when they opt for courses abroad; and it is not for a Minister to decide which course is worthy enough to be pursued abroad. People in responsible positions must refrain from making statements that hurt common sentiments. Sounding a word of caution is different from being judgmental.