Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where are the best brains of our country???

Dear Readers:This post is published on the site ''News that Matters Not".

"Apart from the top 20% of students who crack the tough IIT entrance examination and can "stand among the best anywhere in the world," quality of the remaining 80 per cent of students leave much to be desired,"
This statement came from Infosys' chairman emeritus, Mr. N.R.Narayan Murthy, and was received with a thundering applause by a Pan IIT audience. The first thing which struck me was if not in IIT's, where are these bright minds, as referred to by Mr. Murthy going..?It further intrigued me that what suddenly made him come up with such a 'sweepingly high handed' remark. After much pondering I contemplated that the number of IITians joining Infosys must have been considerably rising..:P
On a serious note, according to Mr. Murthy, the mushrooming of coaching institutes is a deterrent to the quality of students qualifying for arguably the toughest exam in the world. But, I would like to ask him a question, ‘Do you think the current curriculum followed in any of the higher secondary boards sufficient to crack JEE?’ The students go to the coaching institutes because they produce results and they are pretty much visible. As they say seeing is believing. As a matter of fact 95% of the students clearing the JEE have reportedly been taking coaching in some form or the other. I believe there is nothing wrong in it, obviously if one strives to be among the best he would not care for the means, and he shouldn’t either. With the framework of the education system entirely dependent on rote learning, there is no way one can have the cutting edge without some extra guidance. Ultimately it all comes down to the vicious circle of the education system, coaching industry and the Joint Entrance Examination, with the IITians becoming a soft target now and then, more so, in the recent past.
My point here is that why take a dig on the students, rather than doing something to restructure the current education system to prevent the so-called influence of the coaching "mandis" like Kota, who just help the so-called not-so-good students with the so-called pattern recognition techniques and make them clear the exam. On the retrospect I believe even if such not-so-good students are able to clear this exam they are probably much smarter than the bright kids and are able to find the loopholes in the system, optimize their efforts accordingly and cash on it..! Why make a fuss over it…??Don’t we believe in getting the smart people on the table!! I know it sounds a bit rhetorical but then, do spare a thought.
Good research in India is as scarce as hen’s teeth and in this context I would like to put this question to Mr. Murthy, an IIT alumnus himself, why don’t you come forward and invest in quality research. Why do you need to ask the government to fund it? When you are setting your sight on making the quality of research in India at par with the MIT’s and the Harvard’s, why don’t you yourself take a stand as the Googles and the Microsofts?? Moreover in India a PhD.  student is looked down upon by the undergraduates and most corporate do not even recruit them. How are you possibly going to change this prejudiced mindset, another impediment to quality research work in our country?
Some understandings I generated for the falling standards are: the increased quota system (I didn’t want to bring it here, but then had to), the no. of attempts for JEE going down to 2, since 2006, the increasing number of IIT’s, the decreasing number of world class faculties, all lend a hand to the declining standards of IIT, but the bottom line is: Come what may, they are still the best!
All said and done, I want to know why Chetan Bhagat (another IIT alumnus…sigh,,!) cannot mind his own business (if at all he has any) and has to poke his nose in every other news relating to IIT, a publicity stunt?? I hope not, but sounds very probable considering his new book release was on the cards. I just hope he doesn’t sit down on a fast (which seems to be the coolest thing today) next time someone takes the IITians to task! After all, after Sex and SRK, the new phrase is Sex and IIT’s sell. On the hindsight I also expected Mr. Jairam Ramesh to come up with furore against Mr. Murthy, but sadly he did not.
Finally, a man of the stature of Mr. Murthy, having all the resources at his behest, should probably come up with measures to ensure that only the best passes through this filter of JEE, and rather than demeaning the efforts of the 17-18 year old kids, should be focusing his energies on nurturing these minds to put India higher on the global map.

Signing off,
A non-IITian, who would have liked to be in an IIT, even if it meant to be a part of the remaining 80%.

P.S: I just hope CB doesn't come up with a loooooooong post in this Sunday's TOI editorial.