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Whatever happened to Learning

A post on similar lines was intended for quite some time, but I could never really get myself to putting it down.

Before entering NITK for a degree in Electrical Engineering, there was no clear idea as to what I wanted to do and what I needed to do. Like anyone else, most of the learning that happened involved gigantic tomes of pointless reactions and formulae. After all, it was sacrilege to not enrol yourself to a prestigious JEE coaching place. What was all the more disappointingly ironic was the fact that some of the finest ideas of science and mathematics were being introduced during this period, including calculus, linear algebra and quantum theory and the only thing that mattered was how an MCQ could be posed and what could be the best possible way to go about answering it.
The most prime of time was lost in such meaningless exercises.
So, for me the usual typical story followed - an almost worthless JEE rank and I had to 'compromise' with an EE seat at NITK Surathkal. Ah, well! I thought undergraduate studies at such a reputed institute would bring some welcome change with its approach to teaching and my approach to learning.The fact that this blog continues to rant, should tell you if that expectation was fulfilled.
The usual studying-for-marks concept continues, notwithstanding the 'continuous evaluation' adpoted here.The fact that we students, being more independent continue to choose another path,indicates that we are cuplable right from the start. The only incentive that stands out is a possible AA or a just managable DD or one of their ugly cousins.

And as I come to the last year of study (no points for guessing which of the ugly cousins favoured me), all hopes for learning for the joy of it is quashed under the oncoming fury of CAT,GRE,GMAT,GATE and what not.

Its perhaps in our own interests that we pursue something that is actually intellectually satisfying, independent of the system that we are in, because it is not going to change for a long time to come(I hope it does).


Avi said…
Nice stuff man! Totally agree! No wonder the JEE/AIEEE counselling statistics remain same every year! Every student chooses what his/her rank is supposed to chose, and not what he/she is interested in. I think thats 1 big reason why western countries succeed inspite of the fact that Indians are more willing,when it comes to 'putting their asses on fire".
d1001 said…
What else do you expect from a passive society anyway. We're happy being handed our daily bread just so that we can complain about how stale it is.

If you don't find your choice of education interesting you can barely hope to "succeed" in the philosophic sense. The idea of fulfilling the parents' dream is so deep rooted that any choice of education beyond engineering and medicine is for the "below average".

The system is not entirely at fault. It has only adapted to the kind of people it has to handle.
Vikram said…
It's a question of "doing well". We've been conditioned to think that an IIT/IIM degree is the be-all and end-all of a student's life. Almost everyone measures our worth with those golden words "Did you get into IIT/IIM?". It's never "So, what have you learnt interesting today?" or "How did you enjoy learning a theory that took 100+ years to develop?". It's always about the rank/percentile that you've got. Naturally, we need to conform to such a system, or face the fact that we really aren't going to be going anywhere, any time soon.
Vineeth said…
Nice 1 brvvv!

No more comments ... like the other great minds im sharing these comments with :D
Half-Light said…
That was a nice read. Yeah it's a bad system, but I guess things are changing slightly more these days. People are willing to do what they want, and parents are learning to accept. It's going to be a long time before the entire country changes of course, you know how slowly things grow in our country. But the good thing is, there is growth, however little it is
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