India’s urban whiz kids may be quite different in reality from the picture many of us may have of spoilt brats, who spend hours on the Internet and the rest of their time splurging on movies and the like. They may also not be as money-obsessed in their career aspirations as they are often made out to be.
A survey of 10,000 children from classes VIII to XII or ages 12 to 18 spread across 11 cities in India has found that the kids may not be as money-obsessed in their career aspirations as they are often made out to be. Over 60 percent spend on average less than an hour a day on the net and 83 percent get less than Rs. 1,000 a month as pocket money, about two-thirds getting less than Rs. 500.
Interestingly, when it comes to career aspirations, the thing most kids wanted from their jobs was new skills, followed by an interesting workplace. A good salary came third in the list of considerations they had. So much for the much-lamented materialism of the new generation.
The choice of careers too is quite different from a generation ago. While IT and engineering were cited among the choices by about 80 percent, what was revealing was that medicine (39 percent) is now way down in the pecking order, below even government service (46 percent). The third preference is media and entertainment (64 percent), the survey reveals.
The survey was conducted among children predominantly from English-medium schools in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Coimbatore and Bhubaneswar. It was conducted by TCS among those who participate in its IT Wiz quiz contest every year. To that extent, the survey reflects a particular kind of child, but the trends do perhaps tell us something about the bigger picture.
What was particularly interesting in the survey findings was the fact that the responses from those from the relatively smaller cities were almost identical to those from the bigger metros.
Over two-thirds of the students said they would like to go abroad to study at some point, and here the figure (74 percent) was significantly higher for the mini-metros than for the metros (66 percent), a pointer to the growing aspirations in the smaller cities.
Also, while a generation ago, most would have thought of doing their post-graduation abroad, now a majority wants to do their graduation or even their high school abroad.
While the home remains the primary point of access for the Internet, cyber cafes and mobile phones too are used for getting on to the net by over 50 percent in each case. Not surprisingly, 85 percent say they are on some social networking site or the other, the vast majority naming several.
As you would expect of students of this profile, about four-fifths have computers at home as well as mobile phones, but what might be less obvious is the finding that almost two-thirds also have a digital camera and an iPod or other digital music player.
For those fond of stereotypes, here is one that finally seems to be true: GenNext is indeed as gizmo-crazy as all have believed it is.