Earn While Learn

Bipin is a final year graduation student who aspires to join the police department. As he had lost his father at an early age, he is bound to support his mother financially who is a garment labourer. However, financial impediment never stopped him to pursue his goals. He started doing menial jobs after school hours and during vacations and helped his mother in easing the financial burden of the family.

When we met him in the role of a receptionist at a serviced apartment, he was struggling to manage his online classes, assignments as well as preparation for the upcoming competitive exam. “As I have to manage both assignments and apartment responsibility, this time I couldn’t prepare well. Hope I could get more time to prepare next time”, Bipin told us.

 Every student aspires to have a great career and likes to pursue higher education. However, most of the parents in countries like India cannot afford their children’s higher education fee. Therefore, it is inevitable for the students to earn while they earn.

“Earn While Learn” is not a new concept for western countries. The children start earning in petrol bunks, garages, restaurants and other places as soon as they complete their high school. However, Indian parents have a different notion about it. In India, it is generally perceived that if a student goes for a part-time job, it indicates that he is from an economically poor background. Therefore, high middle-class parents generally never prefer to send their children to work while they are studying. Indian parents also have a deep-rooted opinion that students should focus only on their studies as having a job while studying will be a deterrent in their academic activities.

However, “Earn While Learn” scheme is no more a new concept for India now. This scheme has two dimensions. One dimension is planned and organised “Earn While Learn” program organised by many private and government educational institutions and universities. Apart from getting financial support by working in the various departments of the institutions or universities, the students also get the hands-on experience which helps them elevate in their future career.

On the other hand, the second dimension is planned by the individual student like in the case of Bipin. If a student opts for a regular course, where they are supposed to attend the classes, they find a part-time job for themselves after or before college hours that will help him earn some income to look after their financial needs.

The objective of earning while learning is not confined to finance educational needs. Students also work for other purposes such as to supplement the family income or to fulfil personal desires. For some, the job is not only about earning income. Work experience also matters a lot to them. There are also some students who take up a job as they can utilise their spare time in a productive way.

As per one survey, many percentages of students work to buy personal needs. In some cases, the students give some amount of money to the family and some for personal needs. There is also a significant percentage of students who give all their earnings to the family. When it comes to utilizing all their income for education purpose or to save for future savings, the percentage is pretty low.

Most of the working students revealed that part-time job has no negative influence on their academics. Some even confessed that there is a positive variation in academic performance. However, this cannot be generalised. There are also negative impacts. Working more than 15 hours a week during college days, or working late night may take a toll on their health and academics. Students should pay attention to these aspects while choosing a job.

In most cases, there is no direct relation between the kind of job they do and their future career. Students’ selection of part-time job is only driven by financial motive and not career-oriented.

Doing jobs in student life has many advantages. As students come out of the confines of the classrooms and learn the real world of work at a very young age, this helps them to get promotion early in their career.

Working experience of the learners enhances their decision-making skills, and hence they don’t struggle with choosing what best suits them when they have a choice, both in the personal and professional sphere.

In this fast pacing world, value is given to those who can work independently, and manage their time well. While, time management is a big challenge among working professionals, students who had a working experience while learning, win this game as they have already faced this challenge.

Early work experience forms good habits and helps students make better career connections. As a popular saying goes, “network is net worth”, this definitely helps them to be more successful, both socially and economically.

As already stated, unlike western countries, earn while you learn a concept is still young for India. There is a lack of part-time job opportunities and students cannot manage a full-time job as they already have assignments, projects and exams. Since communitarian values are more predominant in India as opposed to individualism of the west, there is an aversion to earn while studying. Hopefully, things may change for the better.

Considering all these challenges, Swastika National School, Urwa Store, Mangaluru has started “Earn While Learn” scheme for the first time in Mangaluru city. The students of Swastika National School get an opportunity to do part-time jobs from second-year graduation onwards. The students will get 2 years of experience in the selected field with an experience certificate and remuneration. Swastika has also initiated its own five start-up companies of different fields, to give in-house part-time employment opportunities to the students. Swastika National School is offering B.com, B.B.A., B.S.W. courses.

-Vikram Nayak

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