Marketing manager, Bits Pilani K.K. Birla Goa campus

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Has the Indian education system focused more on content and curriculum or completely relied on the existing competition scenario?

Recently, Minster of Environment in India, Jairam Ramesh, flagged of a hotbed of discussion after quoting "IITs are surviving because of their students. There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs. The faculty in the IIT is not world class". That made me wonder about the system of education I have experienced. A small secret about the average Indian family: we pretty much go the herd's way. In India, the IIT craze was launched at the age of outsourcing and the MNC job openings. A hefty pay package, not only made the IITian's family happy, but also pushed up his social standard. An IIT engineer became the new IAS. The average Indian wished for that blissful future and ran the marathon along with several neighbors. The business minded Indian did see such a demand as the upcoming financial boom in the education sector. Then began the plethora of coaching centres.
Have you ever heard of the bottle-neck principle? Its an inverse proportionality law which states that congestion of liquid at the mouth of a bottle leads to building up of pressure and further hindrance to any incoming liquid. Such is the state of our competition in the field of engineering.
I would just like to plainly put that such competition is not bringing out the best in you, its just bringing out a droid in you whose only objective is to win, irrespective of the fact of knowing the opportunity cost of such a trial . Such competition just builds up pressure and nothing else. I have always thought education to be more of a boat stranded in the middle of the sea than the Mumbai local train where you have to push the other person to get yourself a place, even to stand. I prefer imagining it like the former. Serene. captivating. Infinite options!

  • May 30 2011: I want to point out that I am trying to indicate the necessity of change in the content than the evaluation form. i do understand the necessity to have an effective and transparent evaluation to meet a certain selection criteria. However, every person has his/her own potential. All I am saying is that the current unhealthy competition is just curbing even the trials of those with less potential.
    I am advocating about that segment of the population which is not able to come up. Not being able to compete in a certain situation doesn't make the person incompetent.
    I am proposing that rather than an evaluation-centric approach, we follow a curriculum centric approach, where emphasis is given to updating the curriculum at very frequent intervals depending on the immediate job market. This shift from a competition minded approach might give people a better chance to adapt to demands of education.
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    May 27 2011: I like the phrase "education to be more of a boat stranded in the middle of the sea than the Mumbai local train where you have to push the other person to get yourself a place, even to stand." What you say here is exactly what is happening.

    Right now, as I type this reply, I am in the middle of studying for one of my university exams, which is tomorrow. I am currently doing Engineering, SY. What I see around me actually paints a very sad face of the educational system. I don't know about other fields but in engineering, yes, this is the case. As my uncle puts it, "Any donkey can become an engineer once he gets admission in an engineering college."

    The examinations are just there for the sake of it. I can guarantee that out of the 60 students who are giving the exam with me not more than 5 will be able to answer simple questions like, "how a capacitor works?" or "how a transistor works?" ten minutes after the exam is over.

    Yes, they will score good marks in the exams, and will get a good job from a campus interview. But once they start working, they will be stuck there without any kind of progress. None of them will be able to take part in new research. But the thing is that the common man is happy with this. A permanent job, which pays you the monthly income. Work till the age of 60, retire and watch your kids do the same thing. Their aim in life is only this much.

    And as the majority of the population is happy with this, the educational system wont be changing soon.