SEARCH

Education Plus » Colleges

Updated: May 12, 2013 14:22 IST

An Indian education?

THANE RICHARD
Comment (87)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
TIME FOR RESCUE: In life you should not expect others to fight your battles for you. File Photo
The Hindu TIME FOR RESCUE: In life you should not expect others to fight your battles for you. File Photo

Thane Richard finds his study abroad experience in India an enormous disappointment.

I recently read an article in Kafila written by some students from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi that really made me think. To quickly summarise, the piece criticised the draconian views of the Principal of St. Stephen’s College regarding curfews on women’s dormitories and his stymieing of his students’ democratic ideals of discussion, protest, and open criticism. The students’ frustration was palpable in the text and their story felt to me like a perfect example of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Except Indian students are not an unstoppable force. Not even close.

In 2007 I was a student at St. Stephen’s College for seven months as part of a study abroad programme offered by my home institution, Brown University. In as many ways as possible, I tried to become a Stephenian: I joined the football (soccer) team, acted in a school play written and directed by an Indian peer, performed in the school talent show, was a member of the Honors Economics Society, and went to several student events on and off campus. More importantly, though, I was a frequenter of the school’s cafe and enjoyed endless chais and butter toasts with my Indian peers under the monotonous relief of the fans spinning overhead. Most of my friends were 3rd years, like me, and all of them were obviously very bright. I was curious about what their plans were after they graduated. With only a few exceptions, they were planning on pursuing second undergraduate degrees at foreign universities.

“Wait, what?! You are studying here for three years just so you can go do it again for four more years?” I could not grasp the logic of this. What changed my understanding was when I started taking classes at St. Stephen’s College. Except for one, they were horrible.

This was not an isolated incident — all my fellow exchange students concurred that the academics were a joke compared to what we were used to back home. In one economic history class the professor would enter the room, take attendance, open his notebook, and begin reading. He would read his notes word for word while we, his students, copied these notes word for word until the bell sounded. Next class he would find the spot where the bell had interrupted him, like a storyteller reading to children and trying to recall where he had last put down the story. He would even pause slightly at the end of a long sentence to give us enough time to finish writing before he moved on. And this was only when he decided to show up — many times I arrived on campus to find class abruptly cancelled. Classmates exchanged cell phone numbers and created phone trees just to circulate word of a cancelled class. I got a text almost daily about one of my classes. My foreigner peers had many similar experiences.

I would sit in class and think to myself “Can you just photocopy your notebook and give me the notes so I can spend my time doing something less completely useless?” I refused to participate. Instead, I sat at my desk writing letters to friends.

If it were not for the fact that attendance counted towards my marks, I would have never showed up at all. There was no need. I calculated the minimum attendance required not to fail, hit that target square on, and still got excellent grades. In one political science class the only requirements for the entire period between August and December were two papers, each 2,500 words. I wrote more intense papers in my U.S. public high school in a month. Readings were required but how can this be enforced when there is no discussion that makes students accountable for coming to class prepared? The only questions I heard asked during my classes were about whether the material being covered that day would be on the exam. Remember, this was not any regular liberal arts college — St. Stephen’s College is regarded as one of, if not the best, colleges in India.

The best learning experience I had was hundreds of miles from campus with four other students and one professor on a trek to Kedarnath during the October break. We had multi-day conversations spanning morality, faith, and history. During one memorable overnight bus ride our professor told us the entire Mahabharata epic from memory while we leaned over seats or squatted in the aisle to be closer to the campfire of his voice while the rest of the bus dozed around us. The thirst in these students was there and this professor exemplified passionate teaching, but the system was and is broken. Bearing in mind the richness of India’s intellectual tradition, my entire study abroad experience in India, from an academic standpoint, was an enormous disappointment.

To pause for a moment, here is the problem with me talking about this topic: right now many Indians reading this are starting to feel defensive. “Nationalist” is a term I have heard as a self-description as they defend Mother India from the bigoted, criticising foreigner. They focus on me rather than the problem. I have had people unfriend me on Facebook and walk out on meals because I politely expressed an opinion on politics or history that went against the publicly consented “Indian opinion.” For a nation that prides itself on the 17 languages printed on its currency, I am greeted with remarkable intolerance. Even after living in India for close to three years, attending an Indian college, working for an Indian company, founding an Indian company, paying taxes in India, and making India my home, I am not Indian enough to speak my mind. But in a nation that rivals all others in the breadth of its human diversity, who is Indian enough? Because if loyalty and a feeling of patriotism were the barometers for “Indianness,” rather than skin colour or a government document, then I would easily be a dual U.S.-Indian citizen. This Indian defensiveness is false nationalism. It is not a stance that cares about India, it is one that cares about what others think of India, which is not nationalism. That is narcissism.

My voice should be drowned out by the millions around me who are disappointed with how they have been short-changed by the Indian government — their government. Education is one of the most poignant examples of this and serves as great dinner conversation amongst the elite:

“The Indian education system is lost in the past and failing India.” Everyone at the table nods, mumbles their concurrence, and cites the most recent Economist article or Pricewaterhouse Cooper study on the matter in order to masquerade as informed.

“Yes, how sad.”

“Yes, how terrible.”

“Yes, India must fix this.”

Yet amongst my fellow Indian education alumni, I mostly hear a deafening silence when it comes to action. What is remarkable is that all students in India know what I am talking about. They know and are coping: Indian students are taking their useless Indian liberal arts degrees and going abroad to get real ones that signify a real education. A real education being one that challenges the intellect and questions paradigms, not one of rote memorisation and conformity. Or, as was the case with my Indian friends at Brown, they skip India altogether. Sure, I took some unimpressive classes at Brown and no curriculum is perfect, but Indian students should be demanding more. Much more.

We are entering a year of politics and elections. Movement against the inertia of regressive forces is an atavistic trait in young Indians and the students of St. Stephen’s have much to gain from change. Instead of just the promise and illusion of an amazing liberal arts education, imagine if my teachers had actually taught their classes? Whoa. If the end is knowledge, then St. Stephen’s students would win big. Yet, when it comes to change, the students wrote the following:

“Education in India awaits a rescue from the hands of such figures [The Principal].”

Who, may I ask, do you hope to be your rescuers? Your representatives in government? Your parents? The characters from Rang De Basanti?

One lesson that no college is very good at teaching is that in life you should not expect others to fight your battles for you. While higher education is a public good and has champions in the private and public world, students are the ultimate stakeholders.

Thane Richard is obsessed with the future of digital journalism and founded Dabba Radio while living in Mumbai to counter the restricted FM news regime. He is currently overseeing an ongoing editorial and design re-imagining of StartupNation. Thane is based out of his backpack and is travelling the world searching for inspiring stories of entrepreneurship. You can follow him@ThaneRichard.

A version of this piece was originally published by Kafila.org.

The author is right about everything.But the students decide to go
abroad because it is the path of least resistance.The system here is not
as conducive as in the west to voice your opinions. The professor
completely controls the curriculum,reads out his notes, sets the
question paper from the same and evaluates it himself. He can easily set
a tough paper and fail anybody he wishes. The university must have the
wisdom to make sure there are standards for setting question papers and
that the answer sheets are evaluated by a completely neutral body.

from:  darpan
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 15:00 IST

You hit the nail on the head. What you failed to consider in the well
woven argument you present is the economic scenario of a majority of
the student populace. I can't speak for Stephens as the alumni body
which is represented in my social circle has definitely grown up in
comfortable, if not luxurious, circumstances. However, a large portion
of students who enter college have not been offered a good primary and
secondary education. Definitely, not from public schools and,
predominantly, not from private schools which provide education at a
fee which is affordable for a family with 4 children, two sets of
grandparents, probably a wayward relative who spends more than he
makes - all under one roof. Now, do you propose to turn away these
young people with modest academic qualifications because of
insufficient means, monetarily and academically? Change in higher
education is not the issue we have to tackle with haste. It is change
at the grass root level which will make the real difference

from:  Brahadeeshwar Chandilya
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 14:21 IST

Although I've felt the same all along, having even completing my master's here, I've never been able to think it out as clearly as the gentleman here as.

The dismal quality of education really is what makes students self-dependent when it comes to developing serious career skills.
Wish students could do more, but the movement is being crushed in its entirety with the Semester System coming up at all levels. Exams and exams, wondering whats coming on the next test, the students have no time left for constructive participation even in study groups.

from:  Aaliya
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 13:46 IST

Very Hard hitting, harsh, bitter yet so true!

from:  Satyendra
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 12:43 IST

Yes, execution is pretty bad here. Let's think about it a bit. Who are the teachers and professors? I am sure it does not need a research to say - mostly people who could not make it elsewhere. (Very few come to teaching as their chosen profession.) Now, some people say - the top talent should choose teaching, civil services, instead of BE, MBBS, CA, etc. By using that method (that is choosing the top), our engineers and doctors will be of inferior quality. A solution could be to develop talent in multiple facets that there are many areas of expertise. In that way, in a class of 30 we could have 25 first rank holders (or even 30) instead of just one first rank holder. This way we are developing talent for various streams. Then we will have good talent in all spheres - teaching, industry, civil services, professional services, vocational services etc.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 12:32 IST

Yes! Richard is right. There are several institutions run by the private that are unbelievably functioning at poor standards but yet successful in attracting students in masses. Their only motive is making money. India can never shine in the future if it cannot check out the fucntionaries of its thousands of academic institutions that are far below the standards. Schools are the worst. They input the students to colleges. Many of the Schools in India have now become nodal centres for profit making business leave alone education which they are supposed to impart. If one thinks of the quality of faculty members, their morale, correspondents, top Kingpins in every academic institutions, he/she is likely to shed tears of blood. Edu system is a horror here. I am of the opinion that our systems is playing a spoil sport and all the senior and junior citizens are responsible. Such systems can only fade away with time leaving no trace of its existance should it continue like this way.

from:  Narasimhan
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 12:10 IST

There is absolutely no doubt that the Indian education system is
moribund and obsolete!But with the increasing penetration of the
internet, there is a silent revolution taking place.

from:  umesh bhagwat
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 11:37 IST

Dude...I agree with you one-hundred percent. Such is the dismal state of affairs in Indian colleges that it's better to skip college and get a trainee job in a company and get someone to mark your attendance in college. . And you were lucky that you were in Delhi...there is another joke of a university here called Pune University...you should check out the Economics syllabus...They call it Economics Majors but the course excludes Mathematics which, I presume in my humble opinion, that it is a must for anybody pursuing economics. Another joke is the MBA courses offered by these universities. Anyways...mine is an endless rant... Just a word of advice for everyone: If you dad's got the dough, study abroad not just for a P.G degree but also for your graduation degree. For others...drop out and work your way up...believe me it's much better that way!

from:  Shashank Shekhar
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 10:09 IST

Thane Richard's observation are corroborative and accurate. However, they are biased from the US system point of view. The education system(or lack of it!) in India is what it is because of :

1 Huge population of over 1.3 billion

2 Lack of Social Security system

India is a poor nation with 33% of the population earning mere $ 1.65 daily . So the largest section of the population is poor and the second largest section is the Middle class. Over 90% of the country's wealth is controlled by only 10% of the wealthy class. This being the situation, the government is not in a position to provide good quality education free of cost like in US. So in a typical ( 90%)Indian family, when a child is born it becomes the sole responsibility of the parents to provide for education and healthcare despite the fact that the parent pays around 30% income tax to the government.So, the "rat race" is on from day one and the parent has little time to give options to the child.

from:  pradeep bhoj
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 10:05 IST

I was not surprised to read such a critical article by Thane about the
poor Indian Higher education system. Several times I tried to find the
best Indian universities by checking in the world university ranking
system; there was not a single. No Indian university ranked in the first
200, including the famous IIT. However, I could find Japanese,
Singaporean, Hong Kong, and even Chinese universities ranked in the
first 100.

from:  Matts
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 07:09 IST

There are 2 sides to this issue.
1. Students don't get to choose what they want to study OR students
never like what they study. if at all there is one student bold enough
to stand up as ask a question that he doesn't understand what the
faculty is teaching. There will never be a monotonous reading. The
interest to learn is missing.
2. The faculty have a feel that they can get away with this useless
way of teaching. This is because they have never applied what they
learnt in the field they work. Besides that if at all any student
raises a question he will get rottenly penalized. Then you will have
to be "Rancho" character of "3 idiots" to prove a point. I have come
across a lot of "Ranchos" who get mugged by faculty.
Yet you see the quest to learn can resolve any road block. you can
find your teacher if you are good enough. It is not the teacher but
its the student who makes the difference. Not all became Arjuna or
Ekalavya though Drona taught only one of them.

from:  senthil
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 02:58 IST

Finally, an accurate article about education at the overated st.stephens or the
education system here period. We think we are the best, know everything and are
miles ahead everyone else. Arrogance, classist and elitist. From an Indian who has
studied abroad - and in DU as well, thankfully i transferred, is education in India is a
joke.

from:  ravi martin
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 02:11 IST

Indian education system is very detailed and rigorous. Any where in world, in every country, you will see good teachers and bad teachers. When I visited to USA to deliver visiting lecture at a university, my students there gave me feedback that the teacher taking the subject (which I taught there for limited time) was utterly useless. From your article it appears, that you are trying to generalize the comment about Indian teachers, which is not proper and cannot be accepted. How can you describe if I quote a common dialogue about education in USA which says : "USA students and teachers do not know math and science". Can you confirm that this generalized statement is true? No. In same way, if you say that education in India is bad, then it is not true. Do not provide biased and egoistic comments. If Indian education in general is so bad, then companies all over the world would not come to India to setup R&D centres and recruiting CEO, Engineers and Scientists.

from:  Anantha
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 23:09 IST

he's right...from being defensive nationalists to not standing up n
demanding better....hits the nail hard....at least he made me think why
i bent over backwards to score better grades when majority of my
professors (and dis is medical school i'm talking about) had an old
anarchists "i'm always right" attitude. the whole system needs to be
revamped and i for one feel something as outrageous as RDB is
needed....good job my friend....

from:  varun
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 21:54 IST

As far as "Indian enough" is concerned, perhaps you aught to think about the ways in
which non-whites in America are always hyphenated, and are never considered
American enough. Just some food for thought. You have experienced what many
people experience on a daily basis...whether or not that is good or bad, is entirely a
different thing.

from:  Kedar Kulkarni
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 21:45 IST

Really, the author has brought to focus a very important and rather
disappointing fact regarding the state of education in India. Even the
so called top institutes fail to provide the real essence of education
and focus more on just completing the prescribed curriculum.

from:  Abhishek Sinha
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 20:04 IST

For once I read something that someone had published about education in India that is close to the truth and what I experienced as well. But there is even more drama that goes into the Indian education system that has nothing to do with education even. Richard you have gone so far as to comment about the presence of another motivation to attend classes in India rather than the actual reason that there should be (that is sheer learning from someone more learned than us) which is the attendance system which lords over every student in every Institution in India. As they cannot find competent faculty to guide us in our path, we are forced to sit under the guidance of incompetent faculty. Not that all teachers are bad but most of the one's we come across nowadays in Indian colleges are frustrated people who were not capable of making it big anywhere else and took the easy route out and became professors.

from:  Namrata
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 19:12 IST

The article and responses remind me about some student's
attitude towards the rigorous academic practices in some departments
in JNU during my post graduation there. In my view the civil service
aspiration mania has been ruining sincerity of students in their
engagement in class room academic discussion, class room presentations
and preparation of good papers. Often teachers were told that we are
burdened with assignments and other class room requirements and were
requested not to give more. But my experience with my friends say the
fact that it was the time consumed for attending coaching classes
which made them feel their necessary academic assignments as burdens
on their heads. This is not to say that my all IAS aspirant colleagues
were of this attitude but some of them were of this attitude.

from:  adil
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 18:38 IST

Dear Richard
There was a time when teaching was passion (and for lots of teachers, it really is) BUT now it is just a profession. What you wrote there is believe me a global phenomenon. I have a bachelors degree from India , Masters degree from UK and I have spent time studying in US as well. That only strengthens my opinion that teaching is now limited to what is being asked in Exams. With more and more universities offering programs only for those who have bright colors in their marksheets , education has now become grade oriented instead of knolwedge oriented. I had profs (not just in India but UK and US)who would come to the classrooms only to read what is written on powerpoint slides similar to your experience in India.
However , if you go to institutions like IIT and IIM , you will see drastic changes. You ideologies will be realised if you see there system .

from:  Dev
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 17:53 IST

The comment made on IISc Bangalore is true. it is an exceptional
institute in India. I found the intellectual and research atmosphere
very stimulating.

from:  gajanan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 17:45 IST

I totally agree with Richards, I have pursued BE in India and earned a
Master's degree from USA. Though it was easier to study in USA but the
hard work that I did for a bachelor's degree in India was not that
fruitful.

from:  Mayank Karaiya
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 17:16 IST

I agree with the gist of this article. Having taken classes in both
India and the US, I can definitely perceive the vast difference in the
educational quality. And I definitely agree that we Indians are
intolerant of others views! A good read and a very well written article!

from:  Siddharth
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 17:14 IST

At first, it does incite the feeling of some outsider telling us about
our problem, but, there isn't any false information/facts portrayed
here.

I recount my own experience in one of premier Govt Engineering college
and most of it sounds just like St. Stephen's. But, then i have also
found those few lecturers and professors who have inspired me to be
what i am today.

It is a true fact that we require a re-jig of the system. The
education system needs to come out of the state of Limbo and become
futuristic, with Goals which are fulfilling the desire of Indian
students.

Question is, who will initiate changes?

from:  Pankaj
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 16:03 IST

our education plans are ideal. but it is the delivery that suffers much like the chasm between laws and practice in any field.i know the difficulty one faces to navigate through the internal assessment marks of 10 for every hundred for a paper.people attribute it to ego problem. yes but which side?

from:  revathi
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 12:55 IST

There are good teachers and there are bad teachers in system because you can not judge teachers based on their qualification and as per my understanding Indian education system lacks of a device to judge teaching skills along with qualification.
On other note,"The characters from Rang De Basanti?" seriously, would that kind of behaviour improve anything(stably)?

from:  Neal
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 12:35 IST

Richard, while I agree with your drift, I would also like to say my
degree in liberal arts was worth it because of my psychology lecturer.
He was a real teacher, who pushed the students to think, respond,
initiate dialogue. He was an excellent photographer, markedly leftist
ideology, good in calligraphy, hindustani music, more than anything,
he would drag students to meet interesting people, seminars,
workshops...Guess what Richard, most of the 80 strong class hated him
because he refused to give notes. A handful of us, relished his
classes, were good friends, met him after class. He spent many hours
teaching us calligraphy, appreciate hindustani music, plays... Spoke
about interesting authors and books.

It is a mixed bag when it comes to education. I am more than
disillusioned these days at the dwindling quality . I have gone to
school in the US, volunteered at public schools, and I must say, I was
impressed how it honed ones analytical skills. Sorely missing in
India.

from:  chitra
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 12:23 IST

With a billion people, unbalanced sex ratio, unbalanced wealth
distribution, low area of land, boring ancient traditions and cultures
and a ton of different "religions". The competition stakes are much
higher and only the strongest will only survive.( and i mean the ones
who can find their own way in this ever changing world ) It's just
basic laws of nature my friend, wired into our DNA over millions of
years. Well this is just one human's opinion which probably won't make a
difference anyway. :)

from:  Abbia Zacharia
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:41 IST

Richard's analysis of the institutional pitfalls w.r.t. St Stephen's
are commendable.
However, I think in an attempt to be emotive, he forgoes certain systemic pitfalls of higher learning in India.
For one, these is a huge disparity within the educational system & institutions. We are still caught up in the literacy v education debate, which prevents us from expanding the scope of higher learning as many masters courses still need to introduce students to the discipline. This impedes the ability of universities & institutions to adopt a more critical approach.
This also leads to many Indian students taking their subsidised education for granted. We also don't treat issues of pedagogy for teachers as substantial problems.
There is also huge political interference in the functioning of universities. Unless our institutions can be free of such control & intimidation tactics, any vision people like Richard or others hold for Indian universities, is a long, long way from reality.

from:  Proshant Chakraborty
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:07 IST

hi all, i graduated from one of the IITs and decided to stay in Bangalore. Recently i started attending some courses on an online platform called www.coursera.org. It reminds me of my internship experience in a French lab because it is simply awesome. I do agree fully with author's point and writing this comment helps bring down my frustration with this country.In our college the kind of teachers in my department would make us cry with pity. whatever we all = my seniors and my juniors achieve is because they were awesome not because the teaching system was good.As Navin Tewari mentioned visa facility becomes icing on the cake.Planning to soon go for MS/PhD and leave this country forever. Had my share of staying in this nation.(quit my job to start a company here but the conditions are very different.

from:  vaibhav
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 06:05 IST

Indian education is absolutely fine provided the student gets the right school, right college and right university or specialised institution. All problems start from the inept academic leadership at the top and trickle down right upto the students. Where is the dedication we had seen in our teachers in 50s and 60s? Where is the inquisitiveness that we had in us as students. We were taught at home that our motto should be to become one out of top five in society--to become a Judge, Barrister, or District Magistrate. Most girl students aspire to be a model or an actress now. Most boys aspire to be Big B or SRK now. No use blaming teachers and schools only. Do the parents or grand parents ask what contributions they are making in the proper upbringing of their children? Very little indeed. Father's responsibility does not end in paying up the fees. Mother's responsibility does stop at taking the child to the school and bringing him back. Do we sacrifice for our children? Ask yourself.

from:  Dr. MANAS DAS
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 00:48 IST

There are so many problems with this article that I cannot even begin
to critique it. The photo caption reads "TIME FOR RESCUE: In life you
should not expect others to fight your battles for you."
Heh.
But let me try bringing out just the most basic points.
Firstly, the Western education system isn't much better > if you care
about the views of the likes of Chomsky[1] , Zinn and most others who
know what they're talking about. The truth about premier American
institutes, including MIT, is that they bend over backwards for the
western corporate-military-government imperialistic goals. That's
where they get their funding and that's who they work for.
"To pause for a moment, here is the problem with me talking about this
topic: right now many Indians reading this are starting to feel
defensive. “Nationalist” is a term I have heard as a self-description
as they defend Mother India from the bigoted, criticising foreigner."Indian in the US here --> same experience, except for the fact that most
Americans have a much more glorious opinion of their token liberalism - and
seem to be blissfully unaware of their nationalism.
“The Indian education system is lost in the past and failing India.”
This is quite true of higher education in India. But what he is talking
about isn't truly an Indian education system: it is a laughable mimicry of
the western education system that we have inherited as a colony of the
erstwhile imperialist British.
useless Indian liberal arts degrees
Liberal arts degrees are considered useless everywhere. My friends joke
here that their English professor in college would tell them to learn to
make good coffee to get a head-start in their future barista careers.
What this article truly is, is an Orientalistic disappointment at finding
that the Western imperialist model is not working as designed.
...

from:  Rover
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 00:34 IST

Indian education system is a sham but there is nothing better out there for the 300 million students. Couple it with stifling guru-shishya parampara …holier than thou attitude of the guru, bureaucracy, corruption and a merit-less / reward-less system for faculty make it one of the least talk about failures of the India.
India is churning graduates and creating the largest uneducated society in the world.

from:  Parag B
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 00:27 IST

Completely agree with Navin Tewari, Indians go to study abroad just to
get into the country and settle. Only a few really go to study, and I am
sure there are lots of universities who have the same kind of faculty
which are not famous. Famous colleges in India have awesome faculty and
if you are competitive enough, you could go there. It is like showing
Slumdog Millionaire to explain India. That is only 10% of the nation,
there is a lot to it.

from:  Vinil
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 00:01 IST

I went to IIT Madras in the early 90's and had the Prof just read out of
his notes and tell us with a wink that the midterm papers would be a
repeat of the prev years.
Students do well in india **IN SPITE** of the education system, not
because of it.
It is a well known fact that we accept much as we accept people
urinating on the roads.

from:  Raman R
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 23:55 IST

Hey Thane, what I am going to write is an 'Indian' student expressing
her problem with the Indian education system. While you highlighted
the Under graduate scenario, I am talking about my experience I had in
one of the best universities in Kolkata. The teachers were snob that
they beloned to such a high class university. In the first sem of my
MBA, Our economics professor knew nothing but 'chicken and mutton't o
explain economics. I took books from the library and gave the first
paper. I scored a LOT less than others, not because I gave wrong
answers but because I studied a book which THE TEACHER DIDN'T
RECOMMEND PLUS I WROTE NOTHING FROM HIS NOTES. But what I learnt was
exactly the same thing that he taught!! And what I wrote was again the
same, but not the copy paste of what he distributed as 'notes' to be
copied, mugged up and vomitted. From then on, I never entered the
library and in my Final sem I scored the highest grade in 3 years
because I MUGGED UP WHAT THE TEACHERS WANTED.

from:  Poulami
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 23:39 IST

Very true indeed. I have graduated from a premier institute, after qualifying most
difficult entrance exam. After investing such a level of effort in entrance exam, I
expected great teachers/professors from my college. I am very sorry to say that I
could not find many such professors, some were good, most of them not. I learned
more from fellow students than my professors.

Our education system is not doing justice with students. We need teachers who are
passionate about teaching, It is not about just doing the job. Rather than
defending ourselves with nationalism we should think in the direction of solutions.
I have deep respect for my amazing teachers, I wish I could add a lot more people
to that list.

from:  Neha
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 23:27 IST

An excellent article

from:  Ganesh Sivaraman
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 23:20 IST

Although the writer makes a point here, it is something we all know and have known for the past thirty years. The article is very subjective and is an outcome of the author's personal experience in a particular college alone. What the author has forgotten to take into account is the culture of the orient, which stresses on oral tradition and not on written texts, their analysis and interpretation. The author also does not mention anything about the school system in India which is based on rote learning, grade system, etc., - totally different from european and american systems. In the western system, there is a "need" to explain "everything" whereas in India, much is taken as they are and heads are not cracked to find a "reason" or a "solution" for everything. I'm now mainly talking about humanities and not technical disciplines. One cannot change the Ramayana or Mahabharata, so what is wrong in reading out well-prepared notes? Should it definitely be a PPT presentation?

from:  Dinakaran
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 23:12 IST

It's funny to see how most of the comments countering the "false nationalism" point
are just fortifying the exact same point - it's like some self-fulfilling prophecy.

from:  Vinit
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 22:33 IST

Nice article..Excelling in academics in india is truly n completely
because of the student's effort as aptly pointed out before by Jairam
Ramesh whose comment on IIT students , resulted in a lot of controversy
n condemnation by the so called intellectuals whose credentials might
be g8 but their intolerance to an observation made by Mr Ramesh shows
what the author has mentioned..Indian society even though rich in
diversity has low tolerance because the very concept of discussion and
dialogue is discarded by an attitude of "My way or highway".Generally
speaking-If u look at the family dynamics, a son/daughter usually does
what the father/mother tells them to do rather than question n discuss.
the same goes on in school.. The behavior is later on consolidated when
the kid grows on to become an adult who in turn expects
juniors,subordinates, kids to do what he feels right..Coming back to
education, the classes usually are not very interactive with free of
discussions and ideas.

from:  ulhas
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 20:33 IST

Quite an eye opener Mr.Richard. One does not really know what happens
behind the walls of what is said to be Delhi University's best and
most elite institution, a college that catches almost all the media
attention but where sadly nothing more than rote learning prevails. I
would just like to point out that this does not hold true for all of
Delhi University's colleges and departments. Courses such as that of
literature or philosophy have no room for rote learning and it is only
through rigorous debates, discussions and writing that literary and
philosophical texts can be tought to students. Having studied German
literature at the Faculty of Arts, D.U., the learning atmosphere I
experienced was a complete opposite (easily meeting the so called
western standards of education). But I do agree that a lot needs to
change and I am extremely optimistic, for the students untapped
potential is immense.

from:  Astha Gandhi
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 20:31 IST

I thoroughly enjoyed the article and the comments by the readers, specially the comment made by Mr. Dev Mishra. Being a Surgeon and teacher myself for the past 23 years,I am always on the lookout to make my talks/lectures/tutorials/seminars etc as interesting as possible.
As Mr Mishra pointed out,teaching is a completely interactive exercise. Even the most uninteresting and monotonous of topics can be made interesting to the students. Teachers must constantly innovate and show enterprise in their teaching exercises. Ultimately,it is not the length of time that you spend with the students but the manner in which you drive home your key points and have a take home message for the students. It is a completely rewarding exercise and there is no pleasure more felt than when your erstwhile students continue to recognize and relate to you, in spite of the passing years.

from:  Ravi Palur
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 19:42 IST

I completely agree with Mr. Richard. I had gone on a semester exchange program
to Germany and I spent a semester in one of the supposedly average schools there.
What I learnt from those professors in 5 months far exceeds what I learnt from
Indian professors in 20 years. I was able to compare and contrast the dismal state
of Indian education. I see Indian professors calling themselves 'technologically
competent' and use boring power point presentations no matter what the subject.

Of course, the elite colleges in India are probably better, but the majority of our
students study in colleges are average at best. In all honesty, I don't know what I
should do as an Indian student to demand more, but I know what I am going to do.
I am going to be a professor and teach students the way I'd wanted to be taught.

from:  Nithya Ravi
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 18:27 IST

Unfortunately, Mr Thane has seen the worst-case scenario of Indian
education, which no doubt should change for the better. The problem lies
in lack of dedication to work.

from:  Avinash
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 18:00 IST

Indian students normaly go for second undergraduate degree in a foreign land not for real education but for getting immigration on the basis of that second foreign degree as lots of Indian degrees are not recgnised by many western countries

from:  Navin Tewari
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 16:57 IST

Much as the writer might be right in saying that the Indian Education scenario needs a drastic improvement, would like to point out that it is the same education system which is still churning out scientists, actors, academicians, musicians, sportspersons of world standards who are giving their competitors at the global level a run for their money. Yes, surely the education system needs a complete overhaul, but at the same time, it is again a professor from the same college,from which the writer has completed his undergraduate studies, who explained the complete Mahabharata on a bus journey !!! and managed to evince complete attention and concentration from his students in the bus!!!

from:  Ravi Kiran
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 16:43 IST

In stead of slipping in to outright denial or completely conceding to
the points made by the author, it would make sense to look at these
objectively. One needs to remember that this person came on exchange
from Brown to St. Stephens both very well thought of institutions.
Also, we have to see from those lakhs of Indian students who go abroad
for their higher studies if even a small fraction have such views on
the quality of teaching from any of the good schools/universities. I
am afraid that is not so. That may indicate we do have a problem; it
is a mix of cultural and economic. For instance not to contest a
teacher is cultural(there are exceptions to everything); poor quality
teachers due to low salary, that is economic. Then, who really cares
about education reforms here? We have pressing problems like
reservation in promotion, lokpal....

from:  Ravi
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 15:55 IST

It's a pity to find out things haven't changed since my college days some 35 years ago!Indian universities should introduce the "Professor rating system by students" which can boost a teacher to work better.

from:  Sibi
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 15:48 IST

I studied medicine at AIIMS. I must admit; it wasn't impressive, at
all.
There were a few departments that actually considered teaching
seriously. Most were horribly under-prepared for the classes. They had
their preformed power-point presentations (which I very much suspect
were borrowed from fellow faculties) which they read from as the
slides appeared. Most of us were so busy jotting it all down, we
didn't really get any chance to raise, or rather, to generate a doubt.
The attitude of some of the faculties was so callous towards the
classes, they didn't even bother to inform us regarding cancellation
of classes. We'd show up for the class sharp at 8 during chilling
winter mornings, then sit in the LT (Lecture Theater) for about half
an hour (because it was very common to professors to enter the class
around 8:20), and then finally realizing that there won't be any class
today.

from:  Vineet
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 15:27 IST

The article is thought-provoking but as a Stephanian I can say that
this bit is clearly an exaggeration: " I was curious about what their
plans were after they graduated. With only a few exceptions, they were
planning on pursuing second undergraduate degrees at foreign
universities.

“Wait, what?! You are studying here for three years just so you can go
do it again for four more years?”"

Most Stephanians go on to Master's degrees in India and abroad like
anyone else. Second, while the author raises pertinent questions he
shows little understanding of the social context within which the
Indian education system is embedded, and which shapes its peculiar
nature.

from:  Venkat Ramanujam
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 15:19 IST

Brilliant article. The last 2 paragraphs especially hit home. The
extent of most of our "involvement" in politics is lighting candles.
From corruption to caste from feminism to maosim, people in a
discussion give serious pronouncements to which there are serious nods
and then everyone goes home happy they were involved.

Most of them will go back to bribe the RTO clerk for a driving license
and keep a separate plate and tumbler for their servant. But then
they'll get furiously active on twitter and facebook and rage about
Slumdog Millionaire showing only the "bad" parts of India and against
Arundhati Roy for daring to wash dirty linen in public.

from:  Nirmal
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 15:14 IST

I do agree with Mr. Richard's view however we need to be careful
before we start blaming our entire education system. In the process of
changing the system, we should not end up completely "apeing" British
or American education system. We need to retain whatever is good in
our education system and pick only those aspects of western education
which has worked well. Too much lineancy in education like in western
system is not good as well as it has reduced the "seriousness" in
educating an individual (some of my colleagues just out of school dono
how many meters makes a kilometer). So we need to understand that all
education system has its own problem just like ours. But on the whole,
our education system definitely needs amendment.

from:  John
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 15:10 IST

It is a pity that the author had a poor experience. Many of the
criticism by the author are correct. However he is wrong in one
respect. Indians are at the forefront of criticizing India. We do
get defensive when foreigners start pointing out the problems.
While we are concerned about problems in our home, we don't want
outsiders to interfere. We hope we will be able to solve these
problems ourselves.

from:  Anwar
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 14:59 IST

Totally agree. In fact, frankly speaking IITs are even worse.

from:  Aditya Ponnada
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 14:43 IST

A very good article from Thane Richard explaining our incapability in
providing the right standard of education to the future citizens. we
are lost in the entrance exams,ranks,positions which are mostly result
oriented and does not concentrate on giving the basic knowledge for
the students in chosen subjects. I hope things change for better. We
should seriously think of getting the required change to put our
country on track.

from:  sagar
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 14:02 IST

I agree fully with the views of Mr Richard. Rote learning, admissions based on capitation fees
and connections have eroded the quality of education in India to the point that it is
worthless.

from:  V.Suresh
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 12:46 IST

the comments about monotonous teaching do ring a bell. However, I have had a myriad experience in India which included even 2 years in a Kendriya Vidyalaya where some of the teacheres were mindblowing, despite their humble backgrounds and pittance of a salary.
In UK you get an annual feedback about your teaching skills from the students. I am concious of the fact that that I am not a wizard of a surgeon, but I am proud that every year my teaching skills put me in the top 3% of my med school.

How do I do that?

I junked power point 10 years ago- it is a sleep inducer. I use the white board and marking pens. Teaching is totally interactive, so everyone is asked a question in turn- keeps them awake.

I throw in a lot of quiz questions, maybe here I might use slides. And I finish my presentation with a slide of AIIMS- to say that is my alma mater and that is where I toned my teaching skills.
Sorry for the immodesty above

from:  Dev Mishra
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 12:34 IST

also the point you make about a foreigner not being allowed to comment on India- now visualise it in reverse. I have seen Americans get very aggressive on facebook whenever you mention gun control or their ghastly invasion of Iraq- absolutely no room for debate, they get very jingoistic

from:  Dev Mishra
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 12:31 IST

the author makes a ridiculous statement- "I have had people walk out on meals because I politely expressed an opinion on politics or history that went against the publicly consented “Indian opinion.” I find this statement ridiculous cos India is a country where such contrarian views like Arundati Roy, Sainath, Communists, Geelani, Yassin Malik etc are aired and have huge fan followings

from:  Dev Mishra
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 12:29 IST

I do not completely agree with Mr Thane but he has hit a chord that
troubles the Indians especially students most. I do agree that most of
the Indian colleges even the top ones do not provide good enough
education which the students deserve, which the students are capable
of especially after surviving one of the most fierce competitions of
the world, that is getting an admission in a good college at 10+2
level. A competition where tens of millions of people compete every
year to get admission in a few elite colleges, quite a few of which
are government institutes and still works like a bureaucratic office.
But I disagree with author when he describes defense or not
considering him an Indian as an Indian problem. I would say these
problems are not of India but of humanity as an whole, human race is
still to rise up beyond this parochial thinking. We don't prefer
developed countries for education or job because of their welcome or
inclusiveness but because of unparalleled opportunities.

from:  Siddharth Khare
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 12:06 IST

The condition of Indian education system is same across all fields.
Leave apart a few good colleges. Mostly all the education institutions
are in a bad shape. This is not only at college level but it starts at
the Primary school level itself. Here, the faculty is more concerned
about completing the syllabus and preaparing the students to grade
well in exams. But, the crux of being educated is getting lost.

There are a few rare examples of teachers who go that extra mile to
make sure that the concept of learning is grasped.

The effort needed to change the education system has to come from 4
different directions: 1) The faculty members (Pricinciples, teachers,
etc.)
2) The syllabus and the examination system (where importance is given
to practical approach rather then theoritical knowledge)
3) The students (The thirst of learning should be there)
4) Lastly, but importantly "Parents" (They should not force their
wards to just get good marks, but instead understand the
topic/subject)

from:  Deepti
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 12:04 IST

Richard is right, India need lot changes in educational system

from:  Seshi Reddy
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 11:54 IST

Thane is right. This is not a recent problem though. I am 53 and vividly remember my wasteful years in university where the quality of the instruction was appalling and the student community worse. My son, who is in class 12, has chosen the humanities and I despair of him getting a decent university education.

from:  sankar ramamurthy
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 11:21 IST

Firstly apologies to Richard. We Indians have become pretty intolerant to any thing which sensibly questions our many issues. Add to that the growing sense of regionalism. Today India is more inclined towards regionalism than nationalism. The attitude is just not towards a foreigner but even an Indian who doesn't agree with the status quo in various areas (As I found out).

Our education system is designed to obtain better ranking but not towards knowledge and other aspects of EDCUCATION. So that part was no surprise. But it is not all that bad. Purely based on law of averages , we still have good teachers. I myself was lucky to have some good teachers. But yes as a general norm , you don't find them in big numbers.

There is no rescuer as such, the politicians will never do something which disturbs status quo. Parents just want their children to go to the "BEST" schools. Characters of Rang De basanti sadly are just characters from a film. So we wait !

from:  Amrut
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 11:19 IST

Like all things "sarkari" in India, the government aided higher education also suffers from the lack of a strong backbone. Having been educated in one the premiere colleges of Delhi University myself, I came to realize that the "too cool to care" attitude has been perpetuated down generations and changing it would require some serious overhauling of mindsets. Perhaps not entirely, but the subsidized tuition (compared to the exorbitant fee structures abroad) could be partially to be blamed for the same (and this in anyway does not disregard the need for subsidized education across the country). While the cancelling of lectures is a pan-university phenomenon, if you're lucky you do land up with professors who make those three years worthwhile.
Having said that, there is no denying the fact that the University does garner some of the brightest minds of the country, not relegated merely to academics, but also delving into untrodden fields and exploring new avenues for themselves.

from:  Shivangi
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 10:55 IST

Thane Richard is 100% right! I like this one in particular because it hits nail right on the head:"This Indian defensiveness is false nationalism. It is not a stance that cares about India, it is one that cares about what others think of India, which is not nationalism. That is narcissism."


from:  RegExpert
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 10:00 IST

Dear Thane,
Indian students commiserate with you; in your helpless frustration,
you are very Indian, nationalistic fervor and harsh negative comments
notwithstanding!
People are starting their own educational initiatives and fighting for
better incentives to good teaching and research faculty, a better
system, etc.In my lifetime (that I admit, has not been very long),
I've seen the faculty at some of India's good schools improve. You are
right in that these are people who chose to leave, go abroad/study
further here/teach themselves well, and return to teaching. But
studying abroad/here comes with its own set of problems. In order to
stick to Indian academia and work to change it, you must be half
crazy, and half depressed, and already institutionalized in the
academic system. That's a bit of a harsh demand to make of most Indian
students, when putting up and making do is the path of least
resistance and maximum returns. At some point, we might succeed in
changing that skewed balance.

from:  Aruna
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 09:55 IST

a) Did you take the final exam ? b) " With only a few exceptions, they
were planning on pursuing second undergraduate degrees at foreign
universities." sounds like rubbish, or you had some weird friends and
c) Class-work in US graduate programs at the best universities is a
joke compared to what Indian students have to learn. I speak from
personal experience. (I agree with you that the quality of teaching at
an Indian university is much lower than that at the best universities
abroad. But not the amount of work expected from students, as your
article also claims).

from:  Suresh
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 09:52 IST

Thane Richard's forthright view of the Indian eductaion is generally correct and factually overwhelming to swallow the bitter fact of the mist surrounding our educaticational credentials that we fondly engrave in our name cards.
Personally I have analysed when I have to prepare lecture for my audience, I need to shell-out three to six hours for one hour speech depending upon the type of audience and the depth of subject to be discussed. A typical student audience will require a two to three hour lecture preparations with the lecturer harpening some life examples to throw the concepts lucidly into the young audience. Many concepts like theory, laws and problems will be a dry spell of lecture which a lecturer must artfully mix with passionate examples for imbibing into the audience.
I have come across my life many wonderful lectures by the lecturers which inspired me to the core of my bone and can tactfully spread a pattern in the frontal lobe.
System must be built to appraise lecturers.

from:  Venkidesh
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 09:39 IST

This article highlights a real problem with the current system and it should be addressed. I didn't attend Stephen's but attended another elite institution in India, where my experience was pretty similar. I thank thane for sharing his experience, and insights.

from:  sivan
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 09:34 IST

This article rings very true. The curriculum would improve if colleges had more
autonomy but i guess universities wont give up their control so easily. As for our neo
nationalists , i think this is a recent phenomenon but it is very disappointing to know
that even college students have such closed minds.

from:  shashank
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 08:34 IST

You have hit the nail on the head. St. Stephen's is highly over-rated,
only because the most of the politicians & public servants graduated
from here. It is said that even the selection to the Indian Public
Service is biased against those studying in 'any other liberal arts
college'. I hope this article is an eye-opener to the netas/babus who
manage the educatioan system and also for St. Stephan's to introspect
and repair the damage before it is to great.

from:  Naveen
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 07:47 IST

I agree with you. We Indians are intolerant to many issues, especially when a person from "outside" expresses his/her opinion on that. Our education system is more focused on how to score marks not on how to challenge the intellect level. For whole system scoring 99 out of 100 is the standard for an individual having some worth. No one talks about true knowledge or no one bothers about using the knowledge. Everybody is just so busy in getting degrees and that also without any thoughts. We boast about our universities and colleges but truth is that we are still inferior from our mindset.
But it's not like we are all negative. There are individuals who have chosen to follow the path of intellect rather than involve in printing big money. Problem is number of such individual is less and society see them as fools.
You have truly highlited what few of us has seen and realised in our education system. And yes we have to keep an open mind to such opinions.

from:  Akhil Gairola
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 07:19 IST

"This Indian defensiveness is false nationalism. It is not a stance that cares about
India, it is one that cares about what others think of India, which is not
nationalism. That is narcissism"...Brilliant line by the author, interspersing
everything that Indian education and India has come to be. Need be said more? if
not a consolation, Thane Richard at least heard the 'Mahabharata'...a learning far
more useful than taking notes from an uninterested lecturer, only to pass the
exam and move to a first world country in order to seek a life, which has indeed
happened to many of us intellectually disposed. The one to pity and feel for is that
Indian Professor who had his will and time to speak on the Mahabharata, despite
living the atrocity of a failing or rather long failed educational system!

from:  Dr. Hari Subramanian
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 07:14 IST

This is sadly true! I cannot but agree with the writer.

"I would sit in class and think to myself “Can you just photocopy your notebook and give me the notes so I can spend my time doing something" .. is particularly v telling. I just did that when I did Masters (Math) from Bombay university. I went to the classes jus for the "attendance" and copy over the notes. If i missed a class, I would borrow the notes from a friend and copy them over in the cafe. Believe it or not this writer jus nailed it well. I hope people who 'matter' read this article


from:  Murli Dhar
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 07:06 IST

Richard, the objective of education in India is to land a secure job. The education
environment encourages rote-learning and does not reward exceptional students.
Society does not respect teachers anymore and hence teaching is not viewed as a
great career. Added to this there is political interference in the University
administration, caste-based reservation in institutions of higher learning, and lack
of infrastructure and research facilities in most of the colleges. The government
and political leaders do not view investment in education as a high priority item. It
is hard for students to overcome these challenges and parental pressure and do
something different.

Kudos to you for coming to India to study. Hope you were enriched by the the
other experiences in India.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 04:49 IST

In the US, 3 years of Indian undergraduate degree is not recognized and are not
eligible for graduate admissions. Accordingly, students take 4 year undergrad again
followed by a Ph.D. This is a practice set by alumni, and juniors follow blind-
foldedly. Indian professors are good teachers but seriously lack in research. Also,
many brilliant minds do not become teachers because of very poor salary in India. I
do not think that classes get cancelled so often in elite colleges in India - I am
surprised. Almost all teachers in the US (3 universities that I have attended, including
two ivy league) refer to their notes very frequently and use powerpoint. In the US, the
presentation style is extremely structured but is also strongly based on notes that
prof uses. I see no difference in learning outcomes in the two systems. I see one
difference: in the US, students take knowledge for granted and build on that (more
empirical); in India, students question the very foundation of that knowledge.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 04:15 IST

This article is absolutely true in terms of academic standards in
India. Most know how to memorise from books, notes etc but not able to
know what is education. ALL students, parents want is qualification.
Thousands of colleges, universities in India, not even one could be
found on the list of Top 200 Universities in the World. Can INdia
attract foreign students from the first world? Yes, from the African
countries, what about those from Europe, States, Singapore, Hongkong,
Australia? I doubt India is on their list! In short, India will not
change and will never change. I have observed this for the past
quarter of century.

from:  Mubaraq Ishak
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 03:18 IST

"This Indian defensiveness is false nationalism. It is not a stance that
cares about India, it is one that cares about what others think of
India, which is not nationalism."

As an Indian, if I had a dollar for everytime I was criticized for
speaking against the current system in India, I would be a millionaire.
Remarkably, almost every time I have been asked to live elsewhere if I
don't like it in India.

from:  akshay rajagopal
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 02:30 IST

Policy makers in India may be able to change the education system , to benefit the youth of
India. If one is really feel nationalistic and patriotic this is of utmost importance and need of
the hour for all Indian youth. And policy makers would have lived a truthful life.
-

from:  Sundar Rengaswamy
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 01:06 IST

This is a very perceptive piece on professors taking shortcuts to their salaries and short-changing students out of their education. This is an enormous waste of time and talent. Clearly, there should be a recourse for students, the real stakeholders, to compalain and redress this dreadful situation. The disappointment is not just for an exchange student, it is also true for the locals.

In my years at college in India, I had the opposite experience. Most, but not all, of my teachers were awesome intellectuals with passion and talent to teach. Would that this were true everywhere!

from:  K.V. Nagarajan
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 00:15 IST

I congratulate Thane for writing such an illuminating article..! yes, everyone knows, Education in India, from primary school to university, is rotten..but no one thinks they are responsible to bring a change required by the modern times..! at the ploitical level, Education portfolio is the least sought after position for the elected ministers. Often, the minister holding the portfolio is neither aware of the problems plaguing the education sector nor interested in fixing when brought up by others. But the minister never misses a chance to indulge in corrupt practices like granting permission to open sub standard engineering or medical colleges whose only interest is to rob the gullible students..! Only political leaders who value the importance of knowledge based society can do something for the sick sector..!

from:  Raj
Posted on: May 6, 2013 at 00:04 IST

Makes for good reading.

from:  kirtle Saltire
Posted on: May 5, 2013 at 23:06 IST

Really a nice article and it is so relevant showcasing current education
system in India. Rather than fighting against anomalies, we are learning
to live with it whether it is education or any other issue for that
matter. I want to bring a radical change at least to my institution as
an alumnus and some of my friends are already working on it. Thanks for
such a good article.

from:  Arul
Posted on: May 5, 2013 at 22:41 IST

Exaggerated and extreme account ! Illogical.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: May 5, 2013 at 22:34 IST

Hello, thanks for your nice points raised for the Education system in
India. Even I am in full agreement with you on many points. But I
don't think this is true for all colleges. I am masters student at
IISc, Bangalore and i should tell you that this institute is an
exception, and exception in all said terms. The way teachers behave
here, the way Govt. provides every facility here... and even sometime
I wonder here professors are more serious than students in research
and how they motivate students to carry their studies further.
Departments are full of their respective students 24X7 and professors
are working in their premises even upto 8 pm. I don't know much about
Stephens but If it is true than this is not a good approach at all.

from:  Parveen Kaswan
Posted on: May 5, 2013 at 21:53 IST

amazing article. So true. its sad that most students in India study
just for a degree and not out of interest. so sad. will affect india
in the long run.

from:  sampath kumar
Posted on: May 5, 2013 at 20:59 IST
Show all comments
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Reporter Alerts


Animal planet in Chennai
With Madras Corporation taking charge by 1866, the Madras Zoo as it was called, became the country’s first public zoo to be formed.

Purasawalkam: From old town to shopping hub
Vellala Street off Purasawalkam High Road mirrors the metamorphosis that the once quaint neighbourhood has undergone over the past three decades.

Tambaram: A suburb older than Madras itself
It is a little-known fact that the southern suburb of Tambaram is older than Madras itself.
More...
Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab: The Need for a Border States Group

The aim of the research report by Tridivesh Singh Maini is to examine the approach of the political leadership, as well as the business community, in three ‘border States’ towards India-Pakistan ties.This paper has sought to look at a number of factors, which include politics, economics as well as security issues.Read Article »

Parsons, Galecki, Cuoco, Helberg and Nayyar, who have been seeking hefty pay raises, remain without new contracts. »

  • facebook Facebook
  • twitter Twitter

Resources

More Resources »

Sunday Magazine

More Sunday Magazine »

Friday Review

More Friday Review »

Habitat

More Habitat »

Young World

More Young World »

O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in Colleges

At the programme organized by SSR College of Science and Management studies.

Campus Capsule: ICIP-2014

The eighth International Conference on Information Processing (ICIP)-2014 was inaugurated by S.S. Iyengar, Director and Ryder Professor,... »