Indian Education!!

13 03 2007

Seems like there is a lot going on on the Education System in India. I had written a short blog on this a long time back and thought would explore it more now that it has become a hot topic. So, would love to add my thoughts on it too. 🙂
The education system here has evolved mostly around a few basic fields of interests – engineering and medical being the main in these. I would attribute the growing trend of these to the lure of a steady life and the money these offer. Parents are more enamored by the life they see of the few who have made it good and the stories they hear of the wealth made in these professions. Although, these days the trend is changing in the larger metros, we still find the young crowd being more attracted towards these professions. In regard to these professions only have risen the IIT’s and IIM’s of India. These are good institutes, but the basis of their teaching here is to make better people out of people who already are!! I ask what is the principle behind these institutes which make the person toil over exams and more practicals and then expect them to churn out the same which has been taught by ‘rote/mugging’ onto the jobs they take up. Yeah! sure these people are chosen few from the various exams which are initially conducted to chalk out the cream muggers from the average muggers. As aptly pointed out by a colleague, these guys destroy their creativity in trying to learn the various heavy books through which are educators are wanting to make us learn on topics which may have little or absolutely no value in the job life. Engineering colleges teach on what not subjects like Compilers and Operating Systems, and the person lands a job creating application software in Java, not a systems job of creating those OS or compiler products. Where are we taking the nation? People have pointed out that these are the premier institutes, but they are more in name than how things are taught. Nowadays the person who graduates from these is looking for more value to himself than to add value to the Organization. Attrition rates have risen and along with that so have the salaries of people engaged in those activities. I don’t say that is bad from my prospective, but it is not a good thing also.
To cope up with these the creative try and emulate them; and they end up getting more frustrated and sending their siblings and offspring’s on the same path where they saw the lesser frustration and more money. I have a friend in IIT doing her master’s, all I hear the lament from her is she has an ‘xam or a practical which is coming up and she is awake for the last 2-3 days working on it??!! Isn’t that stifling the actual creative mind? The teachers these days don’t have time to read the so called ‘xams which the students are put through. So, they adopt a cardinal rule of the thumb. How long is the answer? Does it have any illustration and does it adhere to the kunji or answers that they had given the students in the class!!
If the student tries to be creative in the answers, he/she is punished by a lower grade or a negative marking.
On the topic of IIT’s and IIM’s, whom do they think they are churning out!! Ok, there are a few exceptions who after coming out apply their brains and come up with ideas, but is that enough? Are they really creative or just logically coming to conclusions from their brains which have become mechanical after all that ‘rote/mugging’ sessions? I think the later is more to the point. IIM graduates boast of big salary packages, but are they actually making a difference also? There is a comment on Joel’s site [of Joel on Software fame] about MBA making the Organization bloated and fail!! I agree with him somewhat in that. We really do need to access the kind of education we are imparting and not gloat over the fact that Indian kids are doing better in maths and sciences than the American kids.

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