education


Rober Browning in his famed poem titled – The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Into the street the Piper stept,

Smiling first a little smile,

As if he knew what magic slept

In his quiet pipe the while;

Then, like a musical adept,

To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,

And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,

Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;

And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,

You heard as if an army muttered;

And the muttering grew to a grumbling;

And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;

And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.

Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,

Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,

Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,

Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,

Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,

Families by tens and dozens,

Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives–

Followed the Piper for their lives.

From street to street he piped advancing,

And step for step they followed dancing,

Until they came to the river Weser

Wherein all plunged and perished!

The poem could well have been titled -the Pied Piper of Inida!

Why, you may ask, do I say this?

Before answering your question, let me explain my view of the story.

It was said that Pied Piper possessed some magical powers that enabled him to attract the rats of Hamelin, and lead them to their death. In fact, the truth is this – a few of the rats liked the music he played, and so they followed him. The rest of the rats simply followed these other rats!

That is what is happening in our great country, India!

It has been always said unity makes one stronger. But unity at the cosy of individuality will make you weeker! India is driven by the crowd mentality or what I now name the Pied Piper mentality! 90% of Indians are busy doing things because that is what every one else is doing.

Let us take a few examples –

First,  let us evaluate the education system in India.

What does education mean to a middle class family? If the kid is extremely good academically, he or she studies medicine, the next level of people rush into engineering. The rest filter into Commerce and arts! Why? Not always because the field they choose interests them, but because they just follow the rat in front! In this mad rush, the only looser is individuality! Just because an individual is brilliant academically, does not mean that he or she is best suited to be a doctor!  Mind you, when I say Doctor, I mean the guy that saves lives, not that mean money making machine! On the same token, not every student that fails miserably academically, deserves to be relegated to the, so-called ‘non professional’ colleges!

The latest buzz word in the world of education is ‘MBA’. Every one wants to do it. Why? It helps me further my career! How, may I ask? Yes there are a few career paths that move faster if armed with an MBA, but most only find this extra degree a burden! Armed with an MBA, the Doctor wants to sit in a large office, managing people, rather than saving lives. Armed with an MBA  , an Engineer, wants to keep his hands clean! If all you wanted to do was ‘manage’ then why did you waste expensive resources that were employed to make you an Engineer or a Doctor? Hey, because I could! BS

The Pied Piper mentality can be seen in other facets of life. Lets take cricket! Do not get me wrong, I love the game. I follow every cricket match that features India (and some that do not.) I, like most Indians, am the happiest when India wins and the saddest when India looses!  Maybe its the fact that I am away from my country, or maybe that I have become wiser, but now I feel that cricket is highly detrimental to the Indian society! This one game has been responsible for a drainage of a lot of resources. If a nation can have 23 world class cricket grounds all over the nation, I am sure it can afford a few astroturf hockey grounds, so that India can regain some lost glory. Most younsters may not even know that Hockey is our national game. We invented it for crying out loud!  If a nation can have cricket coaching camps in every third corner of every city, it can surely have a few football coaching facilities! The MRF pace foundation churns out great fast bowlers! Why can’t a company sponsor a football academy. An academy that takes in youngsters and moulds them into great football players? Why? Cause we are rats, and we follow the rats in front!

Followed the Piper for their lives.

From street to street he piped advancing,

And step for step they followed dancing,

Until they came to the river Weser

Wherein all plunged and perished!

Wake up Indians before we follow the Pied Piper to the river, and perish!

Let us unite without loosing our individuality! Let us form a team of individuals that do follow a common goal, but a goal that is forumated from a set of indivdual goals!

Let us put the Pied Piper to rest once and for all!

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http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20060607&fname=rajinder&sid=1&pn=1

This is exactly what I have been talking about since the current reservation flare-up!

The quota system is not the enemy. The enemy is within! The enemy is every person that has not bothered to caste a vote, but is still standing in line ready for government bashing! The lessons of history proove that India's primary strength is unity and its primary weekness is the lack thereof. It has been the policy of everyone in power to  break up the nation by religion, caste, language and what not. The Britishers planted the seeds, and the current breed of politicians are watering them. And we, the people of India are the sufferers.

As per rajinder Puri

Remember, the police mercilessly thrashed anti-quota students in Mumbai. The police mercilessly thrashed pro-quota students in Patna. The politicians will try to divide you. Frustrate them with unity. The political class is your common enemy.

Do not let them succeed in dividing you. United we can take the bull by its horns!

E=mc^2: Reservations V: Apotheosis of IITs and myth of merit

There are so many articles and blogs floating about that support the anti-reservation stir, that I feel compelled to highlight the few that do not! And again, I avoid the articles that put the onus of historical mistakes on the present generation. This article, on the contrary, brings out a few issues that I have always had with the education system in India.  

 

Their B.Tech program is arguably one of the best, but the actual research and concrete results coming from Masters and Ph.D. programs are almost negligible. To that effect, they are only good at supplying finest raw material or fodder material to MNCs, IIMs, MS and Ph.D. programs in US, but they do not by themselves produce any thing of great value in research content. There are no major inventions or innovations in technology coming out from these unnecessarily hyped Indian Institutes of Technology; except for some applications and solutions which look good in a Science Fare and Exhibition. As such I hold similar opinion of many other top-rated institutes of India- not just IITs.

 I agree with this sentiment. I know some of you have claimed that the above is not true, and that some of these institutes do have affiliations with major manufacturing companies. 

 

Well, I can only say something about IIT bombay as I am an undergrad there. I have seen many companies come to professors of my department (mechanical engg.) for sponsored projects and infact my guide worked with Dialmer-Chrysler for two years and patented a CAM methodology which is now licensed. Ic an cite many more examples.  

Please please do cite some examples, cause I would love to know! Looking forward to someone who takes the time off to do a research on the various research projects that have come to fruitition in the premier institutes of India. 


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http://www.deeshaa.org/2006/05/20/reservations-about-reservations/

A great Article by Atanu Dey as usual. I will refrain from entering the never ending tirade that this reservation issue has become. I will rather dwell on areas of the article that he has touched upon but has failed to take further than a mere passing mention. It is possible that he intends to touch upon these issues in details in his future posts. In which case let this post serve as a check list.

A few quotes from the article followed by my take of the issues at hand

My interest in education is not merely academic. I want to transform the current system, which is outdated, outmoded, irrelevant, inefficient and ineffective.

About one hundred thousand go to coaching classes and of these about 5,000 make it to the IITs. The 95,000 who don’t make it have to lump it, and some even take the extreme route of killing themselves. Why? They realize that their parents have spent money they could not afford to send them to coaching and they failed their parents. 

 … they are often not spending time and resources to understand the subject or because they like it, but because they want to do better in the admissions test than their competitors. Instead of producing thinking, cooperating humans, the system forces too many to focus on a narrow objective and to develop a maniacal zeal to study for a test that is more of a test of narrowly defined skills rather than an overall test of fitness to pursue higher studies. This exercise, I am sure, damages many students’ personalities so that they become anti-social and un-cooperative.

What is clearly evident in the above quotes is that there is a basic flaw not in the education system, but in Indian culture itself. This mad rush towards an education in premier institutions is driven not only by shortage, but also by cultural and peer pressure.  The problem in the Indian society is the lack of opportunities outside of a couple of highly attractive fields. Peer pressure drives every young mind on a single path. A child that might be exellent in the field of the arts, is not encouraged to follow his or her desire. So if you are relatively good in your school years it is assumed that you will pursue a career in either engineering or medicine. No wonder there is a shortage!

There is an inherent computer engineering principle – ' If there is a contention for resources, then distribute the load!'  What the education system in India needs is a massive load balancing exercise. The need of the hour is to create opportunities in areas other than engineering and medicine. And this load balancing needs to be done right from early school days. I have come accross many a bright student who was a great singer, sportsman, and artist. Most of these students gave in to peer pressure to join the gold rush! Had these students been encouraged at an early stage to follow a career path that accented their talents, things would have been a lot different.  But the current educational and cultural system that India is, does not provide a career path to these individuals, or if it does, the competiition is even more cut throat, and driven not by talent alone.

So, Mr Atanu Dey, if you want to "transform the current (education)system" do something that attacks the root of the problem. The current issue with reservations is a mere symptom of the underlying problem.

Imagine if there was no need for reservations. Where people do what they love doing, and feed themselves and their family while doing it. Where one competes not with one another but with oneself. Where education makes wonderful human biengs and not merely great employees!

Maybe the reservations is actually a boon in disguise. Maybe the students that cannot get into premier institutions will sit back and reflect and follow their hearts for a change. Maybe, just maybe, this will actually help bring about a revolution that this country so badly needs!

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