7:18 PM | Author: Siva
in Indian context starts with IIT and ends with IIT. Okay, may be it goes as far as NIT. But there are some interesting discussions in the recent past that are venturing further ahead. Check out BongoP'o'ndit's take about undergraduate research training in India and Abi's Real Universities, Please?. The discussions, like these two, about second tier Universities and developing them are going to be the key for future

Even if the vital few and trivial many principle has to be trusted, the IITs and NITs are nowhere near 20% of our country's student intake. Spending more resources (money, policy decisions, even discussion space) on improving 1-2% is not prudent. If 80% of our productivity is going to depend on 20% of the students then we need to talk about improving Anna, Madurai Kamaraj or Delhi Universites. As people are pointing out lack of research infrastructure, faculty, badly designed curriculum are part of the problem. But a problem that is almost ignored is the quality of the students joining these second tier universities. Garbage in will imply garbage out. Most students entering these universities are (toppers) from state board schools. We know the quality of state board schools. Scoring 200/200 in higher secondary math doesn't require much knowledge of, well, anything except memory. Even few years back T.N's higher secondary math exam questions has to be from the book, verbatim. When their best known preparation technique, to memorize entire books, fail them in their first semester most students lose track. Only those who still have the energy face the other problems. Expecting the students at these levels to do any research, even the delta problems that BongoP'o'ndit talks about, is simply not possible. The basics for research, the curiosity and the creativity, were never nurtured. But to the higher secondary education's credit it helped develop competitiveness in these students with which they usually survive.

The above scenario is in the second tier engineering schools. The quality of students joining the sciences is usually worse. Gautam Desiraju traces the problem to undergraduate teaching. But I would say the problem starts much before. It is our schools.
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On 5:58 AM , Sarangan Rajamanickam said...

As you said, The standard of Indian Education has to be improved. Not only in the Second tier universities, but also in IITs and IIMs. I do not know about other places. But, In Cognizant, I see many IITians and IIM students who are not to the mark... (Except few exceptions) They are no exceptions from the students of other college.

The quality of Education has to improved from IITs to Sun Engineering College.

Speaking about the Quality of Education, Let us ignore the technical knowledge. What about the personal discipline? What about the curiosity and innovativeness? What about social responsibility? what about committment? These are certain qualites that an ideal education system should provide a student. But the current system of education do not provide any of these things.

The consideration of teaching as a mere profession has led to this pathetic situation. The relationship between a student and teacher is beyond words. But what is the current position? Teachers have acted to such an extent that Government has to interfere in the punishments given to the students. (To Add, in TN it is enough if you finish your +2 and an year course, you can become a Government School teacher.)

So, the attitude of the teachers, the selection method of the teachers, the overall curriculum, the attitude of the parents have to be changed for a better education

On 10:30 AM , Siva said...

What is Sun Engineering college ?

judging IIT and IIM from a few students isn't fair. IIT Btechs are really good. They deserve the hype. Every Indian prof I have had is from some IIT. I don't share the same enthusiasm about the Masters program there.

My position on your questions :
personal discipline - not to be taught in the colleges, some colleges are going overboard trying to do that.
curiosity and innovativeness - you know from the post.

social responsibility - again not to be taugh it colleges. I don't believe in that term much. vote, pay the taxes and do no crime, that is my policy. if you can, criticize, comment on policies which will lead to discussions. vote accordingly.

commitment - how do you teach this ?

The colleges are there for teaching science, engineering, literature. Stuff that is difficult to learn by yourself. (not impossible to learn) By providing a better environment they also help you to become a better person (with commitment, social responsibility etc). But that is not the primary goal. Even a lot of professors (in TN colleges) don't realize it when they ban T-shirts.

On 1:04 AM , Sarangan Rajamanickam said...

Sun Engineering College - It is a Junk Engineering College in Kanyakumari. I used it just to show the contrast.

I do not mean wearing T Shirts is not personal discipline. It is the mental attitude. That mental attitude cannot be obtained by everyone naturally. (Again there are exceptions). There is no doubt the colleges should teach their core competencies. But the personal discipline is also required.

I hope you would have read/seen the news on the doctors are bribed to operate and remove the hands of several children to make them beggars. They have done the job cleverly. They are talented in their field. Their college has taught them in an excellent way. But see how it is used?

The Police Academy is training their students in an excellent way. Every person who comes out of the academy is of good physical health and uncorrupt. (Again leave out the recommendation junks) But then what happens?

You might say that people have to learn them by themselves. They should make their own rules. It is not possible for everyone?

So, what shall we do? Shall we not care about them? Shall we ignore them? Is this the World for survival of the Self disciplined? No. The only way is to teach - train them. It is possible to teach them along with the education. (Not by alloting 1 hour for moral science as in schools and in colleges. FYI.. Such a class is made compulsory in all TN Colleges)

Commitment. :-) Yes. You cannot teach this. How did they taught me commitment? I still remember Gnanam Sir (devi School) and MKS sir (RGM). I really have a high esteem for them. Because they are really committed to their work. They did their work with love. They taught me commitment not through the words but through their action. So, Can committment be taught? :-)

Social responsibility. Leave out the Voting. That is the clever way of telling I vote for right persons and they have to manage the country. I pay the tax. I do no crime. Am I responsible socially? NO. I smoke(d). (As you know, stopped before 5 months :-) ) I did not care about the persons standing near me. I throw papers from the Bus. I try to bypass the queues. Everything spoils the society(Though small actions..Butterfly Effect). There might be 100 reasons to do this. But a mistake is a mistake. Why can't it be taught in colleges?

IIT Btechs!!! Ok. I accept. I think I am biased due to personal experiences. Judging a college from a few students will not be fair.

So, there are things that Colleges should teach ALONG with their core competencies.

On 10:51 AM , Siva said...

ha, this is way of the topic. My point was simple. From a s/w engineering perspective if you want to improve performance you look to improve the 20% of the code that takes (usually) 80% of your time. Improving everything is ideal but usually impossible. So that Sun Engineering college you mention though serves some purpose is not really worth investing tax payers money. (besides it is a self financed one)

Improving IITs is being taken care of. But just that is not sufficient. But improving second tier colleges need improvement in schools too. That is the point.

What to teach (in schools/ second tier colleges/ even IITs) is a totally different post. But since you have raised it I answered it and continuing the discussion below.

All laws, rules, start with noble intentions. To train everybody, helping them understand values. for uplifting the minorities, for helping farmers etc. what you are suggesting is something like value education for the morally corrupt :-). Try designing a curriculum for that. It will be exactly like the moral science course you are talking about. The college principals did it with exactly your mind set. To teach some values to you :-)

The solution for those problems you mentioned with doctors and police officers is to punish them. Punish them soon. It is not their colleges' problem.

When you design the syllabus for teaching commitment and social responsibility at best it will be like moral science text book, at worst it will be like the book of the madarasa schools.

There shouldn't be no ALONG. Colleges should just teach their respective courses.