campus01 IIM-Ahmadabad

You thought only the best make it to the top higher education institutes of India, the IIM’s and IIT’s, but that is only half true, which was revealed after a RTI query laid bare the staggering number of dropouts due to academic inexcellence.
69 students dropped out of IIM-Calcutta in the past 2 years, and 286 students since 1995, and this is just one IIM, the state is similar in others as well and these figures are increasing every year.
Professor of finance and control at IIM-C Asish K Bhattacharyya attributed this to “poor academic performance”.
2 IIM’s though have shown remarkably low dropout rate, IIM-Ahmadabad attributes this to their mentor program, where a second year student has to mentor a fresher and also the special evening classes for the weaker students. While at IIM-Bangalore the reason is entirely different, a few years back some professors at the institute were pulled up for “bias” against weaker students, and since then all students have been passing the courses irrespective of academic performance.

This is not just a coincident of some sorts, but the result of an increasing trend among the students fueled by the corporate minds, that of joining “coaching centers” and tuitions for “preparing” for competitive examinations like CAT and JEE. Its not just me, “I am looking for students with raw intelligence and not those with a mind prepared by coaching class tutors. The coaching classes only help students in mastering (question paper) pattern recognizing skills. With this, you cannot get students with raw intelligence,” said IIT-Madras director, M S Ananth.

Students bunk the school classes and go for coaching as they consider the time spent in school to be a waste of time, leaving behind social, mental and emotional development along with other things and the direct result of this is that they are missing out on the more important values of life and missing the actual goal of human life, to achieve happiness. But the point which concerns this article most is that they are learning to solve questions instead of learning the subject. As Mr. Ananth said the students are learning the tricks to identify and solve the questions instead of acquiring the required skills to master the subject and raw talent is not always able to compete with the ones who have spent 2 years of their life entirely in learning how to “crack” the exam. These coaching institutes have left the purpose of these competitive examinations useless.

One of the more serious implications of this trend is that students who deserve to be in the top institutes are left out due to the “well prepared” students churned out by coaching centers. And the students who just passed due to their cramming skills instead of understanding of the subject face problems, as till then they were spoon-fed things, but once in the institute they have to apply their own brain for tasks entirely different from what they used it for the past 2 years, the smarter ones manage this task change, but the weaker ones have to drop out, and the seats which could have gone to more deserving candidates are left out empty.

We can hardy do anything about this coaching menace, what can be done is a change in the way students are selected for the universities like IIT and IIM, a more direct approach, where along with academic merit the student’s other aspects are analyzed on the patterns followed by most of the foreign universities, where no common exam decides if a student can study at a university but the university personally gets applications and studies them to get a whole picture of the person to decide if he/she is the match for the university.


Changing times

14Apr08

After plain and simple “Utkarsh Rastogi” and cheesy “Ultimate Chase” this blog settles at Life Cast, with a 2.0 slapped in front. Why this one name to another thing? Well its just the part of the game, you have to change with the game and in the initial stages of this blog i wasn’t too sure of the purpose and stuff, as i clarified myself, i thought Life Cast 2.0 gives a better introduction to the blog. Life Cast sums up the universe, life is all about our thoughts, experiences and everything else in this universe so it manages to hint that you-can-expect-to-find-everything-on-this-blog kind of feeling i wanted to promote and then 2.0 can be taken as the new edition of this blog, a new approach to the blog, to my own new and better approach to everything and then, its a part of Web 2.0


I talked about the quota issue in one of my recent posts (Quota, please provide it to common people) and the gravity of the effects this will have on the quality of engineers in India. And just a few days after that comes a shocking news from IIT’s.

Let me give a brief introduction before I start with the recent announcement by IIT’s.
It was decided that 27% of the seats in IIT’s would be reserved for the backward classes, which would be increased to a, hold your jaws, 50% gradually, by around 2010. During this process new seats would be created in IIT’s of which nearly none would be available to the general caste, those new seats will be given to backward classes. It angered students to the bones, who were already facing such stiff competition for the very few seats in IIT’s, more than 3 lack students compete for 5,000 seats already (new IIT’s have opened after this post taking the number to around 7000, but the number of students giving the exam will also go up), as for the reserved seats, it is said that 50% never fill up due to lack of talented students and out of the selected many are shown the door out due to extremely poor performance. Students from backward classes are not even able to meet the criterion, two third marks of what the last student in general pool to be admitted secured, which creates doubts as to what kind of students are getting into IIT’s.
Now, I come to the announcement, IIT’s have decided to lower the cut-off for the reserved category further, students in the reserved category were being admitted at a score of about 125 out of 489 and this is set to go further down which is the most shameful thing for what are known as the top technical institutes of India. Students with nearly no capability, scoring under 25% in Physics, Chemistry and Maths will be admitted to India’s premier institutes and students who deserve being in IIT and score much higher than these backward class fellows will be denied education in IIT, and what is most surprising is that in this teeth-to-teeth competition there will be empty seats, the ones those were not filled due to lack of candidates with a good score in the backward pool.
This is the absolutely wrong way of trying to get the backward class into the mainstream, you can’t kill genuine talent for that. What is the need of the situation is a system of identifying the talented lot among the young minds, through tests, olympiads, and then training them in good schools though quota and letting them compete on their own with the main stream in exams like IIT-JEE. And this has to be done from the lower level, this process should be complete by 10th grade and after that talent should be left to compete not caste.
One thing that is killing India is bad politics, not politics itself but bad politics, nobody realy cares for others, everyone is concerned about himself. And same is in education sector, the ministers don’t even care what the result will be, don’t realize what they are doing, they don’t give the fact a thought that they are playing with the future of a nation, all they want is votes. We need change!

Interesting

13Apr08

I bought all the gigantic books for the session a few days ago and decided to “flick pages” just to “get a feel” of what it will be like this year. And supposedly what I saw broke my heart, I got that dude-you-are-dead kind of feeling which I last got when I was in Afghanistan, captured by the taliban, OH, forgot to tell you, I have never been to Afghanistan, but you get the idea. The direct effect of the flick through was surprising, my friends noted a dramatic change in my otherwise friendly enough behavior. I think, now I am a bit out of what had been shock, now you do get shocked when your teacher gives you 96 formulas to learn in 2 days from which two-thirds never existed for you the day before. I am, I think I am out of that state of shock, Maybe because I will be getting my new bike (police guys read bicycle) tomorrow, and chances are it will be a Firefox, but those chances seam to be slim, let the reason be a secret until the right time comes, which will be around June. (Update: I got a TREK 3700!)


Eye of God The Eye of God?

It is a question asked by millions, daily, Google in Zeitgeist 2007 reported this as being on of the top ten questions asked.

Like every teenager even I was confused on this topic, I did not know what to believe, there did seem to be a force which controlled it all, but a scientific analysis resulted in the conclusion that no such force can exist. But then, my dad explained it to me, in a way that met all the demands and answered all the questions of a teenagers’ mind. He said, God is someone you turn to when you have no one beside you.

Here I want to specify something, I don’t believe in god but I believe in God. Confused? Even I was when my teacher introduced me to the concept. God, with a capital G, is the soul force, the force that lives inside you and helps you in difficulties, and is always besides you, but, god, with a small g, is the controller of everything, who is inaccessible, who decides everything, the ultimate force. See the difference? “God” is the supreme soul force within, which guides you and has a significant role in life, your life and everybody else’s life , on the other hand “god” is Ram, Jesus, Allah. God is never god, people never leave everything on God and live in fear, but god is God in a way that people do go to god for directions, they take guidance from god too, but the fact that people fear god is not ideal, the idea that god should be pleased through rituals and ceremonies and sacrifices is what is not ideal about the idea of god, and the major difference between God and god.

Why should you believe in something you can’t see, feel and sense? The reason you should believe in God is that there are something’s that are not in your control, but it is a truth that everything has a controller, everything is part of a bigger game, with a logic behind it, therefore it must be God who is in charge of these small things, and if you don’t respect the logic, the controller then you don’t understand the game. Believing in God does nothing but give you a moral support, add that 1% to your 99%. Imagine the scene, an English exam going on, you and your friend, with the same level of preparation sit down for the exam, the paper is easy, your friend is relaxed, he feels God is watching over him, he has full support of the God,you are a bit shaky on that, you have a sense of urgency, and in that urgency you leave out a 4 marker question by mistake, and your friend, he was calm and composed and completed the paper. Your results differ by 4 marks. This is exactly what happened to me, I was shaky on my belief in myself, but God could have provided that missing link, but I was even shaky on that, and thus I was a bit restless during the paper and the result was 4 marks off my paper. Now I have a fairer idea of the purpose and existence of God and it is working to no one’s but my own benefit.

But any form it maybe, God or god, there exists something that keeps order out of things, and it is better to believe in it, to respect the idea and at least have someone who is beside you all the time.

But this is just one face of the God/god theory, which is more about believing in the controller of things not in our control, believing in a soul force, there is one more face to it, well established scientists have ascertained that everything is a part of a ultimate maths formula, every shape, every colour has a formula behind it, all things fit in just perfectly, the formulas to calculate different forms of energy have the same shape, though they consider different objects, who did this, why is everything in order, why are things so perfect?

I will write on this one when I start to understand the game, I have thought of many theories, some which are practical and some not so practical enough, when I am able to make order out of this chaos, you can have a bite from my pie of thoughts.


Kuch kuch quota hai© Amul

Out of the two topics I really wanted to write on, I chose the one which is more relevant to the stage of life I am in, The reservation issue in India.

India has been witnessing the worse form of politics lately, education and training of talented youths no longer seems to be the primary motive of the government, rather vote gaining tactics are suppressing genuine talent. Reservation policy is nothing but a dirty way to ensure votes in the party’s favor, an open exploitation of the fact that a considerable population of India is classified as SC’s, ST’s and OBC’s. I don’t advocate keeping these classes as such and not helping them gain quality education so that eventually they may enter the main stream, actually I feel that reservation till secondary level is a fantastic idea, let me say that again with impact, TILL SECONDARY LEVEL. Why I say that? The logic behind this is that the current system gives the under-reservation classes absolutely no reason to work hard, it gives them no incentive at all. They know that even if they fail in metric, they have assured job under the reservation policy. The result, a poorly qualified workforce. The same is the case in higher education scene, people who are not really worth getting into such institutions are getting admission and the already lacking number of seats in IIT’s and IIM’s go further down for the bright students who are unlucky to not to be born in a SC family. I call this killing talent just because we did not do something which should have been done earlier, reservation would have been more explainable if it would have been just after independence, because people had the will but not the opportunity, but now this is nothing but giving opportunity to such people who have no will, are poorly qualified and will have no significant effect on the ailing skilled workforce scene in India. Rather than giving these people everything on a silver platter, the concentration should be on the young population of India, on providing them good education, reserving seats for them at primary level, so that they can compete with everyone for entrance in higher education institutes on the basis of their competence and  and not on the basis of the family they are born in. If this happens my friend would not have to say “India main kuch nahi rakha hai, yahan sab reserved hai, IIT ke sapne sapne hi reh jayenge.”(There is nothing left in India, everything is being reserved, dream of getting in IIT would remain a dream.)




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