Tuesday, 28 February 2017

IITs and beyond them

28 February 2015

I think IITs (and IISc ) should be closed down. They are the pinnacle of misplaced arrogance It is a rare IITian who does not somewhere deep within feel 'cream of the country' !!
I have seen it in myself (I was in some place like IIT. I did not get IIT after my 12th - so my arrogance, i hope, was tempered.). In college, we expected a taxpayer funded holiday called 'educational tour' as our birthright - even considering 'satyagraha' for it. We were that unbalanced. And that the taxes are largely paid for by the poorest through the sales tax in every item they buy, and every bus ticket they pay for, did not ever enter our highly celebrated brains. There super colleges produced moral retards - i was one. A humble village showed a mirror to me years later.
Also the skill set of the products of these temples of modern India is so damageing that they can only promote more modernity and industrilisation and more negation of the deep and vast inherited knowlege of other systems. I was once worrying about brain drain - now I feel we are well rid of them !!
I would walk the mile, and also want schools closed ... when we can build a sane society. When the skill of weaving, the skill of farming are equated to the skill of literacy. IMHO, the former skills are superior and more meaningful than the latter. But, yes, the world has to be corrected - and for that we also need to give our 'privileges' which are based on our overpriced skills of reading, writing, engineering, coding, lawyering ...

Aparna Krishnan Mohammad Chappalwala had added, "Secondly they are assisting the capital with 'ideas' for growth and development.".  
முரளி கே Though I agree our society's moral fabric is far from what would be desirable I believe we need many schools.In fact I am for many more IITs as long as the quality is not compromised.IITs shouldn't be elite in terms of access.Every Indian should have equal opportunity to go to IIT.We need to do lot more for education and healthcare.Especially school education.

Mohammad Chappalwala Muralidharan Krishnan we have x thousands of engineering colleges rename them as iits.

Aparna Krishnan IIT is stpidly overrated. As also schooling. There are many knowleges - farming, pottery ... and unless these are equally validated and remunerated, society will only cater to us who's skill is weilding the pen.

Aparna Krishnan And these knowleges cannot be captured under a school - so i oppose schools. The thatcher's son learns thatching working with his father on the roofs through his growing up years. You cannot have a thatching period ! Literacy is simply another skill and can be taught for an hour in the evenings !

முரளி கே I am not against all the other needs.If we have to do well IITs and all such schools are needed too.And IITs don't have to come at the expense of school education.Govt has enough money to take care of all that.The intent is missing.If you think IITs are not doing enough then demand more out of them but not to close them down.

Aparna, Traditional knowledge,etc and modern education can co exist and don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Mohammad Chappalwala , I have no issues if we have 1000 IITs. But am not for renaming so called engg colleges as IITs.

Akhila Seshadri Your last comment.. these knowledges cannot be captured under a school... that is not correct. I think schools can and should... That is why don't oppose schools (besides, , I work in one), but I dislike intensely the KIND of schooling we have: there is degradation of morality, lack of purpose except to 'perform' and fulfill parental dreams and one's own greed. I think it is possible to have weaving, pottery, gardening, toilet cleaning, community service as part of the curriculum; I think, traditional craft forms need to be integral part of schools. I HATE the exam system and intellect overdrive. But, why I feel schools are necessary even for a thatcher's son OR daughter (for that matter) is that in a school, s/he learns much more: to live with diverse opinions, to question, to think on one's feet, to respond with care....These should be curriculum and all the other technical rubbish dished out to children. I have a glimpse of this in our school here... So, it is possible.

Shafi Patel The three Rs are necessary for survival in presntday society. Coming to IITs,these were conceptualized by Maulana Azad(our first Ed.min) as technical colleges to bring India into the competitive world of international economics. Indian Institutes of Science and Indian Institute of Statistics were also intended as prime movers of economy. IRMA was set up to create lead honchos for agronomics and agro-industries. Industrial Training Institutes,established by many states,do have courses for pottery,weaving,fabrication,etc. The structures established were sound. We erred in implementing ideas. Its a bit like our laws,wellintentioned but enslaved to the elite.

முரளி கே The mistake was in not expanding the IIT system to cater to a much larger part of the Indian population and as a consequence making it elite in terms of access.

Aparna Krishnan No, many real skills are learnt doing them through the day. Not in an artificial school setup. A potter's son works with the potter thro' the day. Not by going to an alternative school which has a pottery period. Schools belong to the worldview of primacy od literacy. Period. I have no respect for literacy. My neighbours are illierate - and hve a memory orders of magnitude greater than mine. mine got stunted by my literact Akhila Seshadri

Akhila Seshadri But, I don't take away from how society devalues craft: I meet veenai makers in thanjavur with my kids; they don't want their children in this field; the swamimalai sthapathys share a similar story; the unique potters (just two women) of Chendamangalam who make pots of all sizes and shapes with their hands, not the wheel... no one to take after them... it is not merely patronage, it is the lack of value from the rest that makes them so.... SO, I entirely see where you are from, but have a mildly averring view too

Aparna Krishnan This was a note in which i tried to explain what i have seen in the village. http://paalaguttapalle.blogspot.in/.../the-fundamental...

The utter generosity of the poor humbles us. They give…

Aparna Krishnan Akhila Seshadri,  how can i pack 15 years of existance in a small village into a conversation. You will need to go and live in a village to understand. Till then you cannot know where I come from. I am not looking for empaty for my village people - but a deep respect for their vast goodness and richness, far greater than ours. See - that is how poor verbal communication is.

Aparna Krishnan I am talking of a world - a dream world as it sounds in the here and now i know - where every skill - literacy, and pottery and bamboo work are equally validated in everyone's minds. Only literacy skills may need a structured school. Others are life skills that are learnt while working thro' the day, in a natural way, in the field and at the loom. To make 'schooling' sacred is to promote our skill, and to negate others. It is so clear to me - I do not seem to be able to explain.  

Sridhar Lakshmanan I have some views , I am not a big fan of current school system , I see they are definitely needed for certain outcomes for which they are not intentionally conceived but definitely of significant importance like socialising skills, making new friends in an Unknown environment etc. I see that as good enough to send my kid to school. With regard to schools I don't think that schools are best place to seek them or teach them. As they need rigour or tremendous practice. At max a school introduce existense of such skills as crafts or difficulty in practising it and beauty inherent in it. What works best is a guild system , master apprenticeship for every craft which some countries like Germany practice. That's best way to learn them. People have lot of freedom to explore and one can be a master in one and an apprentice in another. I think its not fair to blame schools for that. I love falconry, pigeon racing. Jallikattu list goes on. I cannot blame schools for not teaching them.just because there is space and there is a teacher does not mean everything can be taught.schools have limitation. In India falconry is banned as we are worried it will endanger falcons. Where as in USA it's practiced under a guild. The guild formulates its own rules. People in knowhow frame the rules. Finally I think nobody is barring any body from learning crafts if everyone wants to learn science, so be it. We have to recognise demand supply plays out everywhere and the same will ensure that craft will be sought out and its a question of time before people yearn for science. at the end of the day this collective demand is also the collective wisdom of people or u may call it collective stupidity, it remains same its just another word. there is demand so there shall be supply. As for school education system, I Know for sure they offer u crafts, in fact I am just back from a school(http://aksharavidyaashram.com) which has for class 11 & 12 , entrepreneurship as theme subject in which they offer agriculture, handicraft. They also offer philosophy as another stream. Looking at them few more schools have started. So there is hope. Dakshinachitra has been offering a MBA in crafts for some time now. So lets not loose hope and its just a question of time. Sorry abt the long post just could not resist it.

Aparna Krishnan Sridhar, the concept of learning in schools itself belongs to a flawed society. A society that respected and validated very other life skill would have different systems of learning for each, A pundit would go to a gurukul, a thatcher's son would work with his father. For some there would be guilds. I am talking of a different world from the 'modern world' lopsided towards 'our skills' being 'most valued'. Here, in practical terms, we make compromised choices. In that context, I agree with what you say.

Aparna Krishnan Also in a sensible world, socialising happens in the community one belongs to. Now one goes to a school to ! 
Sridhar Lakshmanan Aparna Krishnan i think as much a society can teach one to soclialise within, it is also important to learn socialising outside which is different, making new friends outside one's immediate environment is a high order skill too of immense value and schools do facilitate it initially and i am definitely a big beneficiary.

Aparna Krishnan a school is not such a diverse environment Sridhar - the same age group. But yes, in modern society to stay out of school, also does not help.
Sridhar Lakshmanan Srivattsan Raghavan be at it dont loose hope because Aparna Krishnan says so , i can count innumerable IIT, IIM, guys who have gone to villages , unlearned and understood villages and served and serve them immensely, they do attribute it to the education system they received in these places. at the end of the day one learns what one seeks, immaterial of what one is taught.

Aparna Krishnan Sridhar, so ? So have people from every other place. No, i do not think they are anything special. I have seen cutting edge brilliance and sensitivity everywhere.

Aparna Krishnan And yes, most in my village.

Aparna Krishnan Even if you were not from IIM, you would have followed your passion. Those places do nothing imo.

Mohammad Chappalwala Srivattsan Raghavan once you get the full meaning of 'develop' you will appreciate Aparna's comments. To give you a start do research on peak soil. Once you do that ask this for any development project. Will implementing that project increase fertile land or decrease it.

Shams Kabir IITs are nothing but citadels of privilege.

Sridhar Lakshmanan Aparna Krishnan i am sure i am inconsequential in this discussion, all i am pointing to is "in that everywhere that you see tremendous intelligence and sensitivity, iims and iits also get included (in that everyhere). lets not exclude them or disqualify them, else ur statement may become self contradictory, my humble opinion is lets look at sensitivity as criteria and not qulaifications or disqualifications as you seem to deem them. they are neither. i at least have no right to deprive another just because he spent 4-5 yrs in a particular college. if at all there should be a critreria let it be sensitivity at an individual level not comparative or average collective sensitivity existent in an institute. one of those rare days where i have "argued" in FB so i shall stop.

Aparna Krishnan more than that as Mohammad Chappalwala said they only feed into the capitalist corporate development paradigm. The training is that. So manage to unlearn and proceed making deep contributions. they are the exeptions that prove the rule.

Aparna Krishnan But finally its about the worldview and development model we are seeking. To establish one we primarily need the village knowlege and ethics and wisdom. To establish the modern development model we need IITs. In the here and now we need both - but to which wisdom and skill set we bow, is the issue. I bow to the village set (as you also do Sridhar). And then the IITs or B.Scs accept that their own modernity-promoting knowlege is seconadry if at all. And in that humility work on.

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