Some years ago the Aga Khan Foundation commissioned us to do psychometric testing and career counseling for about 20 children in a remote village in North Gujarat.
We administered our tests and identified three outstanding youngsters. On the basis of their inherent strengths they had the potential to run a large industrial organization – one the size of L&T. When we asked one of them what he would like to choose as a career he said he would consider himself very fortunate if he could become a Bajaj dealer in the town near his village.
Time and again we have been stunned to see the tremendous untapped potential of Indian youngsters. If appropriately channeled, millions of these youngsters will be such a resource to the country rather than being a burden. Once we identify and encourage people to develop these strengths, they'll make their own roads and become more successful than one can normally expect.
However, India's educational system, and parents too, tend to make children more conscious of their weaknesses rather than their strengths. Children are asked to improve on the weaker areas (and thus be an average jack of all trades), rather than to further strengthen the strong area (and be exceptional in that area). In such a system, children underestimate their own potential and remain largely ignorant about the heights they can easily aspire for.
This yawning gap between the tremendous promise in children and the desolate reality that they flounder in has motivated us to dream that every municipal school in India should administer this three-hour test to every child. A three hour investment can help shape a life for the better.