Sunday, September 6, 2009


The source for this post is actually an inscription,that I found at one of the walls of Sir M.Visweswaraya Institute of Technology (MVIT),Bangalore.Had been there for the DRDO test.I took a piece of paper and noted it down,there only.

It reads so...(And it was real sad that this gem of a thought was painted there with quite a few spell-errors).

A University is essentially a co-operation of teachers and students and the relation between the two is of a sacred character.A University is not a mere information shop,it's a place where a man's intellect,will and emotions are disciplined.The university is a sanctuary of the intellectual life of the country and pursuit of knowledge is the soul of the university.Magnificent buildings and equipments are no substitute for the great teacher.


How true !!! and the last line captivated me,so much.

As our country's education infrastructure is under a wonderful phase of development with lots of IITs,NITs and BITS-Pilani campuses,India is facing a real dearth of good teachers.I have one of my friends who is lecturing at a college for Bachelors degree students with a Bachelor's degree.

Let's churn out some statistics ...

The UN Rao committee has pointed out that India had a huge shortage of teachers for engineering. For instance in 2000-01, Indian engineering institutions required Total 60,970 teachers, broken down into: 8,710 professors, 17,420 readers and 34,840 lecturers.
In terms of professional qualifications, what was required were 26,130 Ph Ds and 34,840 M Techs.
What was available however, were 5,862 Ph Ds and 11,035 MTech’s.

That's a shortfall of around 70 per cent, a figure that's more than doubled over the decade. So one can imagine the quality of students being churned out.

Premier Institutions like IITs have a huge number of unfilled faculty positions and I myself have some experiences of being taught by teachers with a Bachelor's degree.A real saddening state and whenever I realise myself,being short technically,my mind would start blaming the teachers I had at my college.Yeah...we can dismiss this one as mere escapism of a lazy student who hasn't done his classwork and learning at college.

But what,then is the role of a teacher at the University ?

Dr.S.Radhakrishnan,again comes to our rescue...

* The teacher's duty is not only to acquaint the students, with the subjects and the subject matter, principles and generalization, but also to inculcate in them a sense of research and habit of free and impartial judgement.

* It is the main duty of the teachers to inculcate interest in his pupil for the subject, which he teaches. A teacher who is not aware of the latest development or advancement and who does not have independent thinking and ideas about his duties cannot infuse the desire of love for truth in his pupil.

The teachers,nowadays fail in their attempt to teach and explain the subject matter satisfactorily,leave apart the research sense and all that.A teacher need not necessarily explain all the syllabus to his students but he should be able to ignite the minds of his students,inculcate passion towards the subject and more importantly,he should be potent enough to inspire his wards.On a saddening note,none of the above are happening at the modern day engineering class-rooms.

IITs and other premier engineering Institutes are having a good number of experienced professors but there is a visible shortage of second rung of good professors.Over the next decade,it may not be a wonder if there's a exponential drop in the quality of student output from our universities.

So...Where do we fall short ?

In a nation which had iconic professors like Dr.S.Radhakrishnan, Sir.C.V.Raman, Prof.Satish Dhawan and the likes, why is this trauma ??

I would like to share a few thoughts on this regard...

1) Research Infrastructure at the University campuses

Have a look at the university websites of premier grad schools like Stanford, Berkeley or any top US university...You are sure to hit a considerable number of Indian professors there.After spending years on a Doctorate,which science-inclined person will be ready to work in a Indian university,which has sub-standard research facilities and infrastructure.Everybody has got to be selfish someways and nobody wants to ruin their careers.Except the IITs and IISc,how many universities in India have a decent device fabrication laboratory in their campuses.So,our brains drain into the west and in-turn our creamy student layer also ends up there,leaving behind a big hole in our education and knowledge setup.

Absence of good professors at the universities will create a sub-standard student community and this becomes a vicious circle.Over 90% of the students complete their coursework and graduate from the college without (any...yeah ANY)understanding of say..Automata theory,Quantum mechanics or Semiconductor device physics.

2) The Information Technology Boom

IT's arrival in the 90s has gradually inculcated a sense of negligence and carelessness in the learning patterns of the student community.Learn Java,code in .NET and do something creative in Photoshop and you end up with a real job that's gonna offer you more than 35k per month.Why to take pains with your coursework...why to understand turbines and gears,Diodes and opamps,Automata and Turing machine.This is a dangerous trend that has already infiltrated the colleges and universities.This way,a lot of people graduate out from college with a very little technical knowledge in their chosen program of study.Simulators and programming languages have really eaten up the valuable teaching,learning and experimentation time,where real knowledge transfer and acquisition will happen.The will and skill to contribute to science and teaching is seemingly absent in even,the top rankers of the university.

So...Somebody might ask...we know all this young man...Got any solution ??
And my answer will be NO.If a 23 year old can provide solutions for these problems of mammoth magnitude,then why is Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam still trying to put forward his dreams of India being all-potent in 2020.

I will take this oppurtunity to thank and gratify some of my teachers who inspired me,all these years.

Mr.Sivakumar - Taught Biology at school - Taught the art and life behind Amoeba and Mammalian heart with astounding ease.
Mr.SAR Arumugam - Taught Physics at school - Spoke Kalam,Universe,Stars and Big-bang theory in an inspiring manner.
Miss.Manimegalai - Taught English grammar - she developed an intuitive way of writing error-free sentences,in me.
Prof.Raghunath Behera - Chemistry at University - he always stresses the research aptitude and scientific temper - Most respectable person in my college life.

A real less Number of people...considering 19 years of learning...Thats the state of affairs.

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