I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd; You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud.

Its an sad irony that IITs are not “honestly” world-class but because parents believed them to be, thousands continue to chase the engineering dreams and actually end up in dodgy private engineering colleges in India. Few make it to IITs, few get the discipline of choice and even fewer get the right IIT… Many have no option but to continue on the one way street…

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh decried what he said was poor quality of research at the Indian Institutes of Technology, echoing sentiments long simmering across sections of India’s science and engineering establishments.

“There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs. The faculty in the IITs is not world class. It is students in IITs who are world class,” Ramesh said here on the sidelines of a meeting on the conservation of biodiversity.

“The IITs… are excellent because of the quality students, not because of the quality of research or faculty,” said Ramesh, who is an alumnus of IIT Bombay.

The above comment have been widely reported and I have picked it from the first page coverage in The Telegraph (link). None of us who have been in the industry for some time question this statement at all. The minister is an alumni of IIT and so he must know from the inside and his comments actually give it greater weight. I can say the same for the IIMs too. The Government has allowed setting up of more and more of IITs and IIMs but where do they find the funds and faculty to make them “world class”… I also feel that only half of the batches of students are world class. The remaining have simply average students who have been tutored at coaching institutes at places such as Kota to answer the questions in a way to be able to find a place at the IITs. This is really sad and we need to do something about it. Movies such as 3 IDIOTS served greater purpose in questioning the mind-set of parents who groom their kids with the IIT mission. We need the sequels for such movies to come out each year so that over a period of time the vision will widen. In India, Aamir Khan is the best understood child counsellor after the Tare Zameen Par and 3 Idiots…

Senior Indian scientists said they were not surprised at Ramesh’s observations about India’s elite technology schools that are not just the most sought-after undergraduate engineering institutions but have also gained a high reputation overseas.

An analysis of research publications from Indian and US universities portrays the contrast between research output and quality at leading US science and engineering institutions and that in the IITs.

“The IITs only have a reputation for undergraduate education — they don’t have a research and development culture,” said C.N.R. Rao, a top Indian chemist and chairperson of the Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council.

IIT Delhi director Surendra Prasad said it would be wrong to compare the IITs with the best institutions in the US. “The annual budget of MIT is 100 times higher than the average budget of an IIT. The research infrastructure is such in the leading American institutions that it will take years for the IITs to match those standards,” Prasad said.

“Good research scholars prefer to go to American institutions to pursue research. There are nearly 50 Nobel laureates in MIT alone. I don’t think the IITs should be compared with the top US institutions,” he said.

And unlike what we in India will like to believe, IIT feels that they donot get cited because they are “yet to get fame globally”…

IIT Guwahati director Gautam Barua said the number of citations per faculty per year was high for American institutions because of the fame attached to these institutions and their researchers.

“Once you become famous, your work will be cited by other researchers. The publications of IIT faculty are good but at times, they go unnoticed because the IITs are yet to gain fame in the global sphere,” he said.

A human resource development ministry official said the government was well aware of quality concerns relating to the IITs and that steps were being taken to improve the standards of teaching and research in these institutions.

And hold on… HRD minister Sibal confirms the need for Indian Institutions of Excellence pulling up their socks…

HRD minister Kapil Sibal said none of India’s educational institutes rank in top 100 institutes of the world. “Is there any single world-class educational institute in India? If yes, it has to be in the top 100. We would like to be there in the years to come,” he told reporters.

Reacting to Ramesh’s remarks, Sibal said: “He is a world-class student. He himself is an IIT-ian and has an insider’s knowledge about things in the institute.”

Sibal said he was trying to put systems in place so that Indian institutes can also rank among the top in the world.

There is a lot going on in a student’s mind and I can feel it as a counsellor. The parental pressures that begin several years before the student reaches the final year of the school is such that the student starts on the one-way street by then. The life outside of the school is taken up at the coaching institutes and in the case of some students the coaching institutes double up as schools. The student actually by the final year of the school has just no option but to aim at the engineering exams. It starts with IIT as the focus but by then the one-way street means that even if they miss the bulls-eye, they will pay to get into the private colleges in Karnataka quite easily.

Each year, Indian Railways runs a special full-train from Kolkata to Bangalore due to the volume of students traveling to take the entrance tests…

(This picture taken from The Telegraph article of 6th May. Find it on this link)

My question to such students is : If the IITs are NOT world-class, what about the class of the private engineering colleges? If the aim is to finish just any engineering to join just any management institute and then to join a marketing company to sell detergents or vacuum cleaners, why waste the schooling years at the coaching institutes at all. India continues to waste itself due to this very mindset…

Boys and Girls, just get off this examinations special…. before it is too late. You need to start humming one of the songs from my college days…

It’s My Life lyrics
Songwriters: Bon Jovi, Jon; Martin, Max; Sambora, Richard S;

This ain’t a song for the brokenhearted
No silent prayer for the faith departed
And I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd
You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud

It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I’m alive

(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, “I did it my way”
I just wanna live while I’m alive
‘Cause it’s my life

This is for the ones who stood their ground
For Tommy and Gina who never backed down
Tomorrow’s getting harder, make no mistake
Luck ain’t even lucky, gotta make your own breaks

It’s my life
And it’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I’m alive

(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, “I did it my way”
I just wanna live while I’m alive
‘Cause it’s my life

You better stand tall
When they’re calling you out
Don’t bend, don’t break
Baby, don’t back down

It’s my life
It’s now or never
‘Cause I ain’t gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I’m alive

(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, “I did it my way”
I just wanna live while I’m alive

(It’s my life)
And it’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I’m alive

(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, “I did it my way”
I just wanna live while I’m alive
‘Cause it’s my life!

One Comment

  1. good one

    for young generation , they really need career counseling in todays world and the way private institutions are on a opening stream in India , it is really difficult to distinguish good and bad. All have good looking buildings, classes , sports facility …..but is that enough to choose an institutions ?

    Like

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