Super Massive Black hole

IIT & IIM do not have world class facilities. There is hardly any world class research from these institutes.

  • Jairam Ramesh

[I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. ...The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.

  • Albert Einstein

As any other sane North Indian who was made to go through the two year brutal torture of engineering coaching classes , with the promise of a diamond studded future waiting on other side of the 4 year man making project, I disagree with the honorable & hopefully sane minister. The two lost years though, were just the event horizon of the super massive black hole from which I am still struggling to break free. I have met only few who have managed to pull a Houdini. I think the minister & his opponents are still inside.

As in a black hole the laws of common sense break down once you are made to embark on this journey when you are just 15. 15 is the magic age when you are chosen by your parents, to join an IIT coaching class, not very different from the native Australian concept of a walkabout. The important difference is that a walkabout is a journey of self discovery, entering this black hole, is a journey of self dissolution. The funny part is we think we are smarter than the aborigines. The truth however eludes us till mid-age.

My concern however is not a good faculty or a good college; I am not interested in schooling, barring a few lucky ones I have yet to meet graduates from either of these institutes who are not as lost as everyone else is. After all the choices are few:

  • If you are lucky & a little adventurous – Join Google
  • If you are ambitious, aggressive or come from a business family - MBA aim for Ivy league
  • If you are an academic - MS aim for Ivy league
  • If you are a real engineer & want to give back – MS +PhD +Post doc then LAB
  • If you have absolutely no idea, just follow the bandwagon. Tag will take care of the rest.

My concern is a lack of meaningful, practical education. In a country obsessed with job oriented education, the pretext might be hard to understand. The joke however is that in the long run; this is the only thing that matters. The serious issue is that this has no relation to the faculty or teachers. Education is not divided in semesters and it doesn't end in college. In today's dynamic world, if you are not constantly educating yourself you will (for all practical reasons) be rendered uneducated. The reason is that knowledge has become free & easily accessible. I am sure IIT has some of the best computer science professors in the world, but if I can learn the same thing from a cool geek on the internet & produce the same output as that student, do I really need to enter the black hole in first place? I'd rather enjoy my teenage; at least I will have good memories.

Do these institutions only have a brand value? Are they becoming a gigantic economic machine that controls not only the minds of the students, their sugar daddies but also of the hundreds of thousands of families that are putting in money to ensure an illuminated future for their kids? If so the parents need to learn a basic physics lesson – light cannot escape from a black hole.

Maybe Jairam Ramesh's statement can be better understood if framed this way:

Despite IIT & IIM having world class faculties, there is hardly any world class research from these institutes. The reason is because their system needs an upgrade, as lot of systems in our country.


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