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Have the Educationists got it right ?

  • Thread starter Thread starter hariharan1972
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My & Ramki's travails is the inspiration for this thread.

I have always wondered whether the Educational system in India has got the right emphasis.

My views are :

a) I see no point in teaching Kelly, Keats, Shakespeare etc... without addressing the basic issue of instilling confidence in children to speak the language.

b) There is still considerable emphasis on 'rote learning' which has resulted in children not exploring enough.

c) Lot of stereotypes are passed on from generation to generation. Case in point (which is often quoted by Ms Shabana Azmi) is the 'content' in Kindergarden books - "Father is working in office, Sister is taking care of the crying baby, Mother is working in the kitchen.........". Ms Azmi argues that this creates a stereotypical image of the roles of 'Father, Mother & Sister' in the minds of the male children. True ?

d) Like i posted elsewhere, i find the standard of communication quite pathetic among the younger lot (including mine !) and this i think because of lack of "practical application"

e) Taking the example of Ms Chandrika, i am wondering of what use is English & Tamil at a college level. i mean structured learning. Beyond 10th I would rather leave it to the interest of the students to explore the language on their own, develop their own reading habits, give them opportunities by fanning their creativity rather than force fit language as a "subject".

f) My own example : I was under a CBSE mode till 10th and was a comfortable "80er" in tamil. I switched to State board for my 10+1 & lo! i got 80 again in my first tamil exam. Only this time the denominator was 200 !!!. (From St Thomas Mount level of Grammar in CBSE, Mount Everest was staring at me in TN State Board. For instance i was taught only 1 example on "Vinaithogai" - [Urugai - uurum kai, uriya kai, urigindra kai] in CBSE while the standard touched himalayan heights under State board)

Scared as i was, i immediately switched to French. My college didn't offer french & so i was back to 'Tamil' for my graduation. The fact i pulled it of is nothing short of miracle - perhaps a good case study for atheists.

g) I don't know much about "Technical Education". I am wondering whether the standard of Technical Education (apart from IITs) is focussed on developing ability to "apply concepts" rather than rote learning.

Any Thoughts ?
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Indeed there is a lot to improve in the Indian education system. Several degrees are of little use in today's world. One is the ubiquitous B.A. degree

Now that the BPO industry has been sent by God to save India, some of these guys are gainfully employed - if not, the only use for B.A. would be in B grade Indian movies ( as in, the unemployed hero saying, with a frown and unshaven face, ".....my mother sacrificed everything for my education and inspite of being a B.A. gold medallist society will not give me a peon's job...." ) :)

Similarly other degrees such as M.A. (Litterature, Economics etc) serve no purpose other than churn out mediocre lecturers who work for a pittance regurgitating textbooks at little known colleges, creating more carbon copies of themselves.
Good, Vaylan!
It was great to see you again!
Yes, the Indian educational system is in shambles. I happened to give a presentation at the IIT, Chennai and had the opportunity of observing all these college students (not necessarily IIT; these students came from all over Tamil Nadu) and had interaction with many of them. I have absolutely no doubt these young men and women are very bright students in their chosen fields (mostly Engineering/Computer Sciences). Yet, their communication skills leave lot to be desired. They simply don't know how to interact in a group (in an academic surrounding); many of them cannot articulate in the English language - which is a necessity in today's world. Even when they didn't understand my American-accented English, (you know! ... ledder geda bedder wadder heeder* sort of English!!) they still continued to nod (the Indian way!!) their heads, instead of stopping me by saying "excuse me, I didn't understand, please repeat it"!!

To be fair to the students, until all the Indian universities switch to pure credit-based system, things will not improve. Right now, the students will have to go thru the whole year of studying the same subject and expect questions on subjects they learned on day 1 on day 365! The system doesn't allow the students to have creativity, to think outside the box, just take notes, cram up and score marks based on how good they can memorize! When I tell students here that there is no such thing as "study holidays" in the US, they eyes get big!!

* Let her get a better water heater
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Hariharan,Silverfox & Vayalan

Excellent writeups ! Cant agree more with all you folks.

Since I have been a student in India & US and having taught undergrad & grad courses in US, I think I can provide some more inputs on improving the Indian education system.

As Hariharan & Silverfox pointed out, Indian education system places more emphasis on rote. Not that our students are not intelligent. Many of them are very bright and gifted. Unfortunately, we dont seem to inculcate the idea of "exploring" in these young minds. I remember that there used to be the so called "notes" and "question banks" for every subject right from 6th standard. If you memorize those, you were assured of getting through the exams with flying colors.

Initialy, I found it a little challenging in the US to adjust to year round evaluation and individual projects etc. But I saw that they do a lot of good. I learnt that a hard earned "C" was much better than an "A" got thru rote. We need to follow a similar system in India.

Another thing, I have noticed is that we as Indians, esp. Tamil Brahmins, place undue emphasis on academics to the detriment of others. Except in some families we do not seem to encourage all round development of a child. We absolutely need to start changing this mentality. Of course, academics should still be stressed but we need to place more emphasis on nature study, games, community work etc too.

Again, in my opinion, we hold our teachers a little too much in awe and respect. So much so, that many of our students are scared to ask questions or articulate their doubts. In fact, it took me quite a while to sit before my advisor and not call him "Sir". This needs to be addressed too.

Hopefully, our education system will soon be overhauled for the better.


PS: Hariharan
Reg " am wondering of what use is English & Tamil at a college level."

Udanpirape, parthaaya indha ariyargalin aanavathai ? Ayyago ! Indha sanga tamizh naatile, thai mozhiyam thamizh karka thadai vendumam ! Thamizha, nee innamum urangkidappathu sarithana? Vizhithezhu ! Veerukonda vengaiyena purapadu ! Ariya Mayai Azhithidu ! Udal Mannukku Uyir Tamizhukku ! Veezhvathu Namaga iruppinum Vazhvathu Tamizhaka Irukattum ! :))
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Ramki sir, I can see that the teaching of classical Tamil has not gone in vain atleast in your case! :)

I don't disagree that there is more kow-towing in our classroom ( Yes Sir / Ma'am ) but it may indeed be necessary for discipline in our society. Except in some high brow convents, Indian youth tend to be more like American inner-city youth rather than the blond blue-eyed crew cut specimens of American suburbia.

Growing up in India we can recall all too well the rowdy antics of our fellow classmates. And this under a strict culture ! If we have American style casualness, the result would probably be what you see in the movie "The Substitute" ( Part 1 more than 2 or 3 )

So...some things need to be changed, but some other things may be required given the ground realities in India.
Interesting thread ...

Read about your travails with Tamil: CBSE to TN State Board, with interest and amusement - I have been there, and I feel your pain There was a time when I survived school with "Konaar Tamizh Urai" - it was the one time in my life I had to resort to "key-books" (or "kunjis"!) Simply horrible!

As for Ms. Shabana Azmi - she needs to be informed that her "feminism" is passe, almost antiquarian.
Anyone who has read a little about marriage and economics (Becker) - knows that the family is a mini-industrial unit. There are huge advantages that accrue from (a) division of labor, and (b) specialization of tasks. Traditionally men brought home the bread and women managed the home - and these have become stereotypes. However, it is really dumb to forget the advantages that accrue from these "stereotypical roles" . Work has also been done (serious economic theory) on the trade-off point - where & when it makes sense for a woman to stay-home/ woman to work outside the home. It all depends upon the economics of the situation - and it is a daft idea to prescribe one or the other as the "ideal solution".

Reg. the study of Literature & Economics: It all depends upon where you study, who teaches you, what you learn, and what you do with your education. I understand that there are colleges from which - a degree does'nt get you very far. However, one cannot dismiss an entire field of study on that account (I am neither a economist, nor a literature student - but happen to find both fields simply fascinating!)

The social skills, presentation skills, and general demeanour of our Indian students could use improvement. But having said that, ours is a culture that values modesty, respect and hierarchy (perhaps a little too much!!). Our kids are not encouraged to participate in elocution/debate/public speaking etc. In this context the point regarding extra-curricular activities is well taken - but it also helps to have coaches who can actually teach kids these skills. However, I am not in favor of dispensing with "awe and respect" - for with that the veneration of learning will disappear - and you will have the "commodification" of education you see in the US.

I disagree with the statement that our education system teaches rote learning - I got my education in India and I have never felt disadvantaged with regard to my analytical/problem-solving skills (No I did not go to a "super-duper" residential school! - however many of my teachers were Tamil Brahmins!!!)
Great posts

Vaylan, SF, Ramki, Baam - Thanks all. Nice posts.

SF - I completely agree with you, when you said that your students feign understanding when they actually dont. One reason is that as a student we followed a golden rule - It's better to "look" ignorant than open your mouth & "confirm" it. That said in jest, i do agree that Indian educational system doesn't emphasise on 'partcipative learning'.

Ramki / BAAM - You have both articulated different views on 'veneration of the teacher'. I do agree with BAAM of being 'respectful' to the teacher but at the same time, i agree with Ramki that such 'respect' shouldn't come in the way of seeking clarifications. Hope there is a middle ground somewhere.

BAAM - I am surprised that you don't agree that Indian educational system isn't rote based. On the evidence of what i have gone thru, i have a different view. Couple of examples,

I. During my Class XII exams, our 'examination center' was the Govt Higher Secondary School. Just before the English Paper II Non Detailed, I saw some of the Govt Schoolboys feverishly tearing sheets from a ‘Konar book’ and stuffing their “undescribables” for “bits”. Just out of curiosity I asked them for what they were trying to smuggle into the exam hall. To my utter shock, what they were carrying as bits was “essays” on general stuff like “All that glitters is not gold”. I asked them How certain are you that this is the quote on which we would be required to write the essay, the guy nonchalantly replied (in my words) – “Mate I don’t know. I am carrying essays for 3 or 4 such quotes…I won’t even look at the question since I am sure I wouldn’t understand. I will just combine one para each from these essays”. If this isn’t evidence of ‘rote emphasis’, what is ?. Aur rahi meri baat, my best “preparation” for English Paper II, was to see couple of movies the previous day. The first seeds of thought on “quality of education” were sown that day.

II. This is actually a joke which I heard in a drama I guess. 2 students are discussing the exam prospects, yet again a non-detailed paper. The teacher has hinted that the essay question will either be on “Coconut tree” or a “Cow”. One student says that – “I am taking a chance & I will be preparing only on “Coconut tree”. Curious, the other student asks him – so what will you do if it turns out to be an essay on cow. The first one replies – “I will write the essay on Coconut tree & in the end I will just add a line that “Cows are generally tied to such coconut trees !!!!!”

Though both the examples can be brushed aside in a lighter vein, my point still is that the Indian Education System doesn’t “instill confidence” in the student that he can take on the world.

BAAM, I am sure you are from crème de la crème but for every one BAAM the system has produced, there are scores of others (Hari ?) who are BAs BScs, BComs etc… but just as useless as without those degrees. Perhaps harsh, but I believe it’s true.

PS : Maruthuvar Munaivar Ramakirutinan avargale,

Naan yenna kalingathubarani padikkadha kaatana;
Purananooru theriyaadha punnakka,
Thirukkural ariyadha Thandavarayana,
Manonmaniyam puriyadha mannangattiya…………

Yenakka theriyadha tamizhin maatchi,
Thai tamizh putthagam paarpathe yenakku kan kola kaatchi
Tamizhukku naan seivenna theengu,
Seidhal dravida kazhagam yenakku udhi vidadha sangu

Thirukkuralil naangu adigaram mattume padippadhodu nindru vidalama tamizh padippu,
Appadi aanal naan ‘tamizh padithen’ ena kooruvadhu aagi vidadha verum nadippu
Naan solvadhellam tamizhukku vendam thervu yennum surukku kayiru,
Tamizh paal kudithe nirambattum tamizhanin vayiru
Guys, lively discussion.

One thing to keep in mind is that when you set educational policies for a country as vast as India, you have to address the needs of a spectrum.
You would then approximate a Pareto approach - 80/20 - as in, how can I do something that will serve the needs of the 80% ? The remaining 20% would form outliers , both the very smart and the very dull.

From this perspective, methods like "rote learning", "ritual respect for teachers", etc assume significance - simply because the vast majority of Indian students would be even worse off without these !

Of course the bright students will feel constrained by these - and politically incorrect as it may be, many of us on this forum are of this type.

From the same viewpoint as above, "niche" subjects like Literature and Economics should be made available to those who have the drive, aptitude and capacity to assimilate and apply them. ( this would be the "20" in the 80/20 )
Right now they form the "fall back" options for people who want to be "educated" but are not able to get anything else.

So what happens is that huge numbers of Indian students ( the "80" in the 80/20 ) graduate in these and then either go on to do nothing or go on to do their Masters in these subjects - and then go on to do nothing.For a developing country like India whose main resource is manpower, the opportunity costs as well as direct costs are staggering to say the least.
80/20 ...

Revised title: 'The Bachelor of Arts'
Now that we are on a roll ...
Hari, I must clarify: I am certainly not crème de la crème. I have just been lucky: I simply h-a-t-e-d school when I was in Chennai. At the end of class 8, my dad got a transfer and we moved out of TN. There I attended a very ordinary parochial school (where many of my teachers were Tamil Brahmins - as were my competitors!). The competition at this high school was very stiff, and quantitative skills were emphasized. This got me focussed on school work, and I did very well. Then my father "bet-the-ranch" so to speak, on my undergraduate education, and at the end of it he retired. Being the eldest, this put an enormous responsibility on my shoulders at age 22.
Yes, I did get a very good undergraduate education - but if by "crème de la crème" - you mean wealth/connections/power/mobility - no, not by any stretch of the imagination!
Anyway, enough about me -
Vaylan raised an excellent point about the 80-20 pareto approach.
I do understand the point that was being made about the nameless/faceless 'Bachelor of Arts' (as R.K. Narayan phrased it). In fact it appears that this same problem ails France (and therein lies a lesson for us!). After the student unrest and strikes in 1968 - France made education available to all her citizenry. Now, you can throw open the university gates to one and all - but the Sorbonne, and the Ecolè Normalè are not going to accept all and sundry! The elitè schools remain the preserve of the elitè - with a few ordinary bright kids getting in now and then. What followed was a crop of unemployable graduates (from lesser schools) with degrees in sociology/psychology/ history (nothing against these subjects! - perfectly worthy of study and interest). But when you "democratize" education, and "open-mindedly" (indiscriminately?) accept one-and-all - then your educational institution becomes representative of "one-and-all". Then that college/school loses its distinction/elitism (if one may use such an "obnoxious" term) and becomes pedestrian (representative of "one-and-all"!). Now the IIT/Sorbonne/Harvard admission is prized o-n-l-y because it is s-o difficult to get in. They only admit the very best! They have an established track record of graduating students who make a mark for themselves. So their "reputation" is a direct consequence of their "exclusivity". Shed that "exclusivity" and in 10 years you will lose the "reputation" as well!
By the way - I would like to draw attention to an interesting number: 4%.
It represents the French intellectual elitè who get into the "snob" schools.
The Boston Brahmins are a similar minority. I find it an interesting coincidence that the Tam Brahms constitute (roughly) 4% of general population ... (yes, I know that is a :nono: statement!)
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when I said you represent crème de la crème, I meant that as a student, you are out of the top draw. regret if my usage was inappropriate in context. hope you aren't offended.
Many avenues for the "arts" graduates

So what happens is that huge numbers of Indian students ( the "80" in the 80/20 ) graduate in these and then either go on to do nothing or go on to do their Masters in these subjects - and then go on to do nothing.For a developing country like India whose main resource is manpower, the opportunity costs as well as direct costs are staggering to say the least.

Have you talked to some of the bus conductors, auto-rickshaw drivers, peons, postal workers, courier agents, mobile phone reps, travel agents, auto mechanics, etc? I have, and believe me now you know where the outputs of the Nandanam arts college, SIET college, Presidency, Pachaiyappas, New College and other predominant "arts" (rowdy) colleges in Chennai go.

I actually witnessed some New College students beating up a guard in front of the girls school opposite their college. Maybe he rebuked them for something, and these rowdies beat him to a pulp. And the principal of the college actually defended the students once police came to investigate! He is, not surprisingly, connected to the TMMK political party. The rot starts at the top. As mentioned by Mr. Vaylan earlier, most of the "arts college" aspirants in Indian schools, share a very similar profile to those of the inner city American ghetto kids. Let guns and drugs loose on the streets, and the picture will be complete.
Hi guys!
Boy! This is what I call a high-class discussion! Hey! I didn't know they still have 'Konar' notes!! I am dating myself (they don't call me 'SILVER FOX' for nothing, you know!!!) but Konar notes were hot when I was in high school in the late 50's!!!

BAAM - You have mentioned 'Boston Brahmins'; allow me to explain this word. Even many of the native Americans don't know this phrase. It is a metaphor used to denote the aristocratic blue-blooded families who trace their ancestry to the original English settlers settled in Boston. There is also a 'Boston Brahmin Accent' for a certain version of New England accent.
The Boston Brahmins ...

Precisely my point. I wrote elsewhere about elitès being characterized by distinctive elocution and diction ...
The hallmarks of a Boston Brahmin: distinctive elocution, high erudition, wealth and progressive politics ...
Are there some similarities here - or is the term 'Boston Brahmin' - pure accident?
SilverFox - the term (as far as I know) was first used by Oliver Wendell Holmes in an essay he wrote for 'The Atlantic Monthly'. You can pull up the essay if you search for 'Boston Brahmins' on Wikipedia ... I think the essay resides on Cornell University's archives.
BAAM - You have mentioned 'Boston Brahmins'; allow me to explain this word. Even many of the native Americans don't know this phrase. It is a metaphor used to denote the aristocratic blue-blooded families who trace their ancestry to the original English settlers settled in Boston. There is also a 'Boston Brahmin Accent' for a certain version of New England accent.
Great thread.

In terms of the wonderful (and workable) 80-20 approach I think, in India we would have a question of 'who is to bell the cat'. For the slightest hint at 'discrimination' would send alarm bells ringing in the minds of politicians of every stripe. Mami's wonderful point about exclusivity actually breeding quality has a lot of truth to it. Unfortunately we have the vast majority in India either unaware of critical thinking or simply allergic to it.

On rote learning. It does exist. And there are some of us who do beat it. But that's not by any conscious design which is what makes it sad.
Taking 80/20 Forward

Mrifan, Vaylan, Baam :

Just wanted to pick your mind on taking the 80/20 forward.

If i understand Vaylan correctly, he proposes a pragmatic approach of 'formalizing' what is happening already IMHO.

He is quite right that 80% have to be dealt with thru rote learning only, but just wanted your thoughts on whether this will 'widen' the gap between "Haves" & "Not enough Haves".

Sorry for that terrible term, but i guess the 80% rote learning products will earn enough to beat the BPL line, but could spend the rest of their lives in jealousy, fermenting trouble, making an a** of themselves, borrwing beyond means & just be left out of the main stream. And this is a big chunk.

I see 'Reservation' as nothing but a clarion call from the 'averagers' to provide them a 'short cut' to success. So, how do we tackle the menace of having a big proportion of students who want to gate crash into higher institutions without proven performance ? I bet KKKs will extend more than just their (a)moral support to this sect.

Also with a small pie (20) of the 'elite' how does the nation face the problem of leadership ? It is no guarantee that the 20% will devote their life serving the nation, then how do we cultivate leaders ?

Just some random thoughts i had when i read thru the posts....
Disturbing trends for future generations

I came across this article on Business-Standard. As Indian corporates get ready for a global economy, where are they going to get the manpower from to compete with the rest? Since the govt. is getting involved in a big way with education, as with all fields for which the Indian govt has a ministry, the future does not look bright.

For Brahmanas, this means that as long as we focus on quality, soft skills, and flexibility in the face of adversity, there is no problem. However, India as a whole may not be able to keep up, and still Brahmanas are sure to get the blame anyway. In a way, Brahmanas having small families has helped them to invest more in each child, which pays off even if their right to equality is abrogated in terms of education. Will the children still be as attached to India, particularly TN, having grown up in a period of discrimination against them? If EVR, Karu, Kancha Ilaih became so angry upon a single act of discrimination, the TamBram children of today may end up even more furious.

The implications are somewhat disturbing when ex-President KR Narayanan and his daughter do not see any harm in getting a job in the Indian Govt through the Dalit quota. Such people are going to be in senior positions shortly. On Indian roads one can see what the effect of short-cut mentality and allowing everything from bullock-carts and stray dogs and cows has done to traffic sense, with the result top speeds max out at 40kmph.

Having trashed the educational system and the public sector, where will the growing private sector go to get good employees? Brahmanas should not be shy about asking for an aggressive raise next time they are up for review. As the cliche goes, the writing is on the wall.


TCA Srinivasa-Raghavan: Accountability for professors?


T C A Srinivasa-Raghavan / New Delhi April 14, 2007The roll call should be taken for college teachers, not students. Or perhaps a writ of Mandamus should be issued to them. Manish Sabharwal is the CMD of TeamLease Services, which, according to its website, is “India’s leading staffing company and provides a range of Temporary and Permanent manpower solutions to over 500 clients”. In other words, just as other companies provide machines, money and materials, TeamLease provides employees. Mr Sabharwal thus has a very good idea of the labour market which India’s recent growth has generated, and of the kind of people he is supplying. And he believes that while it is all very well to take advantage of low interest rates and high valuations, companies are hiring without paying much attention to the quality of the people they are employing. “Exploding demand and the skill crisis may be understandable reasons for the devaluation but the so far ignored productivity implications are starting to show now.” He is not alone in his pessimism. Ask any member of the UPSC boards that interview candidates for the civil services and you will get a tale of woe that sends shivers down your spine. One of them was almost in tears when he said, “Will these chaps become Secretaries to the Government of India 30 years from now?” In other words, the pool from which India is recruiting consists of mostly third- and second-rate graduates. Post-graduates are not much better, either, and many of the Ph Ds you see make you wonder about what’s going on. In many states it seems it is possible to actually buy a Ph D degree. The rate varies from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh, depending on the subject. But in our pusillanimous collective wisdom we tend to blame the students alone. The truth, however, is that the blame lies almost entirely with the so-called “professors”. (In India, merely being employed in a college entitles you to use the title of professor.) Such is the impairment of our vision—the Dronacharya-Ekalavya syndrome—that even as we endlessly debate reservations and supply-side solutions, we refuse even to think about the quality of, shall we say, our teaching stock. We do this by not paying any attention at all to the accountability of those who teach in our few thousand colleges. Think about it. We want politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, courts, policemen, doctors, engineers—and horror of horrors, even the media—to be accountable. But when was the last time you saw someone demanding accountability from the vast army of mediocres who teach in our universities and do pretty much as they please, including ruining the quality of human resources available to the country? After all, it is they who are responsible for the abysmal quality of graduates we are producing. Indeed, India’s colleges have become to our education system what the SSIs are to manufacturing—vast employment but very low quality of output. The failure to do their duty is on a scale that makes even our municipalities look like paragons of efficiency and virtue. Yet, we have been focusing purely on primary school teachers. That is fine, but what about college teachers? You don’t employ primary school kids, do you, unless you are a carpet manufacturer?? There are three aspects to the problem of the quality of the teaching stock. One, our college teachers don’t teach enough; two, when they teach they don’t teach properly; and three, they don’t examine properly because the system permits them to be completely arbitrary. There is thus simply no accountability at all in college education in India. There may be a few exceptions but I think you’d have to be a very cussed person to deny that this is the norm. Accountability has to be enforced at both levels but at which level do we start—with the teaching or the examining? Those who teach in universities abroad say that arbitrariness in grading is a problem all over the world and no one has been able to solve it fully. All that could be done was to minimise it, and this was done by averaging—everyone gets marks within a range. Outliers on the high side rejoice and on the low side curse their luck, but that is about all. However, as far as teaching enough and teaching properly are concerned, it is entirely a matter of teacher attendance and teacher commitment. If you don’t come to class or when you do come, you come late and leave early, is there anyone to question the practice? In other countries, you can’t get away with this. In India it is the norm. Aah, says the argumentative Indian, you can take the teacher to the class, but can you make him teach? Of course you can—provided you can sack him or her. Can that be done in India? Not at present. Should it be done? Of course it should. Instead, what have we gone and done? Raised the retirement age to 65 so that the same people can go on for a little while more. Wonderful, isn’t it?
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Professor positions

The IISc/IIT/IIMs etc have teachers appointed purely on merit. A highly qualified Brahmana friend of mine with a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech (Number 5 in engg in USA), and over 20 publications, was denied a position at IIT-B recently. All the KKK parties are taking aim at IIT-M for example for having many Brahmana professors, with the long term aim of making 70% of IIT/IIM profs also OBC/SC/ST etc. I do not know if in Anna University even a single Brahmana professor is employed.

In the rest of India, in govt colleges, 50% of lecturers/Professors have to be appointed based on Mandal caste regulations. I actually talked to Jeremy Siegel, as I mentioned before, who is the head of OfficeTiger in Chennai. He was complaining about the deteriorating quality of graduates over the last few years. Not sure what the future holds for TN and India in general.
sirs - in a country which has perhaps the highest population growth inthe world, instead of teaching family planning, 'secularists' are planning to teach sex education, that too to school children, as if this is the priority! what is the sudden need for this when better options are available? (like reading kamasutra, koran, bible, seeing khajuraho etc.,).
i always maintain,when governments go for a change in any matter, they should ensure that the new arrangement is better than the existing one. there is no guarantee of this in this issue. in the fact the danger is it could be worse off !
sirs - when caste quotas were introduced there were no violent protests initially. because it was guaranteed that this was a temporary provision valid only for 10 yrs. but thanks to politicians and judges, not only have quantum of quotas increased, the list of beneficiaries widened, the areas of quotas extended, even the period has been regularly extended, though as per original constitution quotas were supposed to be in existence only for 10 years.! thus anti reservationists do have a point when they oppose caste quotas, as this violates the solemn promise made by fathers of indian constitution to the the country that this was only a temporary clause.

since the population of bramins is very low compared to other groups, it seems as if bramins are over represented in jobs and education. as has been pointed out already, whereas other groups have inflated their population blindly and mindlessly and so it always ensures that they are under represented in jobs and education.
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A lot of people use deceptive reasons to prove the value of reservation in different levels. People often say, "It is OK to have reservations. Look in TN, not a single bridge has collapsed, so students who are chosen by reservations do not mess up." However, this is not a good answer. The difference between reserved and open in TN is only a few points. So, for average students, the difference may not be much. However, the disadvantage of reservations is that it does not promote achievement and innovation. In general, the best students do not get the best position. This is the downfall of our society. I cannot imagine a Terence Tao coming in TN due to this reason. Any student in present generation TN is bound to be frustrated. If you do not have the best college students, you will not have the best in their profession. I wonder about the caliber of the college professors in TN a few years from now. It is disappointing that in a country of a billion people, there are no Turing awards or Fields medals. This reservation system must be rethought to prevent this problem.
Flip side ?

A lot of people use deceptive reasons to prove the value of reservation in different levels. People often say, "It is OK to have reservations. Look in TN, not a single bridge has collapsed, so students who are chosen by reservations do not mess up." However, this is not a good answer.


Thanks for bringing this up.

I fully agree that students who have qualified thru the reservation system have performed well post qualification.

This proves the fact that merit & talent is NOT the preserve of any single community.

I would like to get to the flip side of the argument. If the non brahmin candidates are as good, if not better, as their brahmin counterparts, then what seperates & why reservations ?

People would be quick to point out the "entry handicap" issue.

My question would then be for “How long ?” and should we not do something about this ?

What is the way to set right the imbalance at the entry level ?

The simple answer is give all of them an equal & strong foundation. So where should we be focusing & spending our monies ?

No skyscraper was ever built top down. So in the garb of setting right an “historical injustice” what we are doing is to destroy the foundation and as you rightly pointed out disincentivate innovation.

Another interesting point would be : For every successful candidate from the reservation system, what is the percentage of failure ? How severe is the problem of dropouts ? The apologists of reservation are blind to these issues.
I think things are changing a bit, at least for the 4% that is growing at 8% in the pink papers. My 4-yr old kid goes to a school that's progressive ( started by a business family that set up three of Delhi University's best colleges) and they are mindful of the fact that they need to encourage creativity and thought leadership. The International Baccalaureate courses do it better than our bug-prone CBSE and State board options, but they are right now available only to a few. The big question is that our traditional "Lath-maar"( baton-beating) system created students who have overperformed at American Universities for decades, and can we move to a system that fosters independent thought but still does not let go of the academic advantages the rigour in current system fosters?
Reservation is against equality

A person doing well in the reservation doesn't mean that we don't require merit. If people who are not able to define merit, why cannot they use a lottery system to choose the candidates? They are using their marks only .We had Cronje as captain of SA.He did some mistakes.Still he was successful as a captain and an all rounder...Did the result hide his wrong doings ??No.He could be even more successful if he was good. Similarly, if some other guy who wud have got the seat might be perform even better than him. Assume I give bribe and become a minister.But I'm doing so many goods for the people. If this becomes true , can we pass a law that says bribing a legal way to get ministerial post??

We have to encourage the high quality education and R&D in India which I doubt will happen in near future.I don't think its a matter of concern for policy makers as they lack political importance.

But Govt jobs is just an imagination for all poor brahmins.Where will they go? Even many people dont have the physical and social capacity or skills to do agriculture or any other laborious jobs.

One can list the benefits of having a good educational background in a city.How can a guy from there going to say a guy from poor background ,"Look 60 years back my forefathers faced discrimination.So i wil get your post. ". Rather than excellence of the country, injustice to poor people who only believe education for their future is the negative thing of reservation.
Even this cunning Govt doesn't give scholarships .There are only casteships in TN.
sirs- if a dog bites a man, can that man bite the dog as a revenge? for govts. to perpetuate caste quotas in the name of 'revenge' is similar to this.
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