Friday, December 13, 2013

Fixing the Indian Education System (Part-2): One Module – ‘Latest Trends in Technology’ must be added to all Subjects.

This blog-post is my 2nd step towards fixing the Indian Education System. It goes without saying that with the advent of the internet and mobile technologies, the world has changed drastically in the last couple of decades. And it continues to change rapidly. In this rapidly changing world, I don’t understand why are institutions carrying on with the same old syllabus, most of it made half a century ago?

As a Student, I was frustrated with obviousness of the fact that a change is needed. And I was also frustrated with the stupidity of the people in the administrative positions. Most universities are still running the same old syllabus and the same old books including the Institutes of National Importance.

It is rather un-fortunate that people in the Indian Education System are old – NOT only w.r.t. age but also w.r.t. their ideas and thoughts. They must be labeled as Backward Class Technocrats. They are the Technocrats, who were left behind in the quest for new technologies.

Autonomous Institutes have the power to design and re-design their own syllabus and curriculum and they really don’t do that. They still use the same old text books. I don’t have any clue as to why students in the Engineering Institutes have to study “Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics ( I II and III), Engineering Drawing, Workshop practices as subjects?

They call it ‘Engineering Physics’, and then send a MSc Physicist to teach that. It makes me wonder as to how a MSc/PhD in Physics is going to teach Engineering Physics? Same goes for Engineering Chemistry and Engineering Mathematics. They forget that it’s supposed to be Engineering XYZ as opposed to Theoretical XYZ.

Coming to some core subjects, they are still teaching the age old subjects. I do understand that such subjects form a base, but in today’s competitive world, how can they even think of following the same old books and same old syllabus?

I know the answers they usually give. They just say that technologies change so fast, that we can’t keep up with them, and we can’t change the syllabus and include new technologies as subjects because there are simply too many of them.

I understand their situation. They cannot decide whether to teach .NET or Java or Ruby on Rails. They cannot decide whether to teach iOS or Android or Windows Phone. But they are supposed to think about creating a solution, not about the problems. After all, these academicians in Technical Institutes are supposed to be Engineers/Technocrats by degree. So by definition, their job is to solve problems. And the solution is very simple.

There is one simple thing, which they can do, they can simply include – “Latest Trends in Technology” as one module/part of every subject. In that way, they don’t need to upgrade the syllabus very often. Neither do they need to teach the details. They simply can discuss the latest trends of technologies in all related subjects.
For example,  in the Syllabus of Operating Systems, they can discuss about OS benchmarking and hence study Android, iOS and Windows Phone simultaneously. 

Yes it’s a fact, that the students will not be able to learn every detail, but at the very least they will get a nudge in the right direction. Moreover, application of subjects, actually makes the subject interesting. Imagine that you develop a mobile application infront of the students. In my personal opinion they will be in awe (depends on the way you handle and teach, and the type of application that you create) which will make them interested. And then, when they develop even the smallest app, they will feel confident about themselves and many of them will be very much fascinated with it and will very soon start developing their own applications.

By definition, Engineering is application of Scientific Knowledge & Understanding. And its rather unfortunate that in India, we never bother to teach the students to engineer a solution. All we do is feed them with theory and test them with exams or so called practical labs, which are dumber than the theory classes. And to add we have mock/weekly/surprise tests and/or phony lab viva or sessionals. Uff!

Its high time that we fix our education system. And the simplest way I can think of is to add a new module in each subject called “Latest Trends in Technology”, and ofcourse you need to update what is taught in that module, otherwise, its of no use. You cannot be teaching iCore3 or 5 or 7 because the World is already using Octacore processors. (And we are still taught just 8085 and 8086. Pathetic!)

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