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India's educational system

Even most IIT grads fall in the category described above in the article.... Curriculum of engineering(Including IIT) in India is such that you don't need to study at all....Just mug up a day before your exams and you are done..... And obviously since you studied for passing the exam you won't remember a word few days after...

Here I think you are slightly off mate. I doubt you got through IIT without studying, or just rote learning before the exam. If it were that easy, darn I (Alongwith every IITian I know) missed the plot! Furthermore, statistically IITians have done reasonably well, in technical or academia, and therefore I'm drawing a (baseless?) causal relation that they did learn something in those years.

Curriculum is so awesome that if you are a Computer Science student , they will teach you fluid mechanics.... Instrumentation and control.... everything apart from Comp science basically... Old professors teaching very basic facts wrong( as was pointed out in sinx/x example) ... and if you are a smart( read very foolish) guy to point their mistakes in class , you are definite to fail that paper....

The curriculum for the first year is common for all the students (And some common courses in second), where we study 'elementary engineering' (And basic mathematics/physics which is built upon in various disciplines). I concur with the logic behind such a setting. Thereafter, if you are a computer science student, you take a _LOT_ of computer science courses. Just to prove my point, please refer to the link http://www.iitk.ac.in/doaa/DOAA/coursesofstudy/Compu-Sc.pdf (Page 3, titled Current Course Structure for B. Tech Students) From the sheet, a student takes atleast 17 CS courses in his 4 years which I think is pretty decent. Regarding the faculty, I'll let you judge from the following http://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/people/faculty.html

For the last comment, about pointing out mistakes, never seen or heard about it happening (It doesn't mean much, I understand). Do you know of any case where a student was failed for similar reasons?
 
No schadenfreude, amigo: I suffered through the same system myself for several years. It's written from painful personal experience.

I'm not going to use the word "victim" in this context, but I too was in the same system for 21 years. If what I have read on the subject as well as as anecdotal accounts of education elsewhere are anything to go by, I would be surprised if there was any place in the world where the education was all that much better than the first 17 of those years. I would be equally surprised if there was any place that was worse than the last four years.
 
Strange, @bigbadwolf is from Pakistan , citing all examples/quotes from Pakistan's educational system, and is discussing about Indian Education system using those facts. I understand they might have good institutes but none of IIT's stature in Pakistan. There can be a lot of difference between the two's education system and IMHO, the PAIN bbw felt while studying in Pakistan, is not justifiable/true for the Indian education system.
And, for this thread, I don't think, it should be deleted or banned. Interesting discussion is always good and as a famous saying, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak :) "
 
Strange, @bigbadwolf is from Pakistan , citing all examples/quotes from Pakistan's educational system, and is discussing about Indian Education system using those facts. I understand they might have good institutes but none of IIT's stature in Pakistan. There can be a lot of difference between the two's education system and IMHO, the PAIN bbw felt while studying in Pakistan, is not justifiable/true for the Indian education system.
And, for this thread, I don't think, it should be deleted or banned. Interesting discussion is always good and as a famous saying, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak :) "

Pankaj, bigbadwolf posted a link from WSJ to start the tread. Maybe you can try having some critical insight on that. bigbadwolf's heritage is irrelevant.
 
I would not start arguing straight away... but few points:

1) People like <darth>: When you say something like "Curriculum of engineering(Including IIT) in India is such that you don't need to study at all....Just mug up a day before your exams and you are done...", Please first point out which IIT did you go to and for which course. If you did not study there... and if you can not provide concrete examples... I do not think anybody would take your argument seriously...

<Ramnik> has replied to your post with solid documentation... please argue with solid statistics...

2) Anybody on this blog... you have studied at several places and have encountered a number of mentors/teachers/professors in your life... Think back... were there courses you thought were excellent and at the same time some you thought were not well thought-out? Do you remember some professor who held your hand throughout... showed you the way... taught with great passion... AND at the same time... maybe at the same institution... somebody who really did not care... I bet you have encountered both kinds... am I wrong?

In every country... at every institution... there are good and bad... taking only one or two examples don't prove anything... and generalization is a dangerous game friends...

I have seen great mentors/professors at mediocre institutions AND I have seen "I don't care" type attitude in professors at esteemed institutions... and I am sure you all have experiences like that as well...

3) India is a country of 1.2 Billions... with a large number of institutions... following myriad different educational "systems/standards" ... some are excellent (as proven with time)... some are mediocre... and some need serious level of improvement. We can not show the curriculum of the best colleges to portray the whole picture... and similarly... we should not show the worst examples to generalize...

4) The same is true even in the US. On this forum we mainly talk about the renowned institutions... we hardly talk about some unknown college in some small town... where the system is probably far from being top-notch...

5) What India has always lacked is solid infrastructure and generous funding for the Research institutes (apart from a handful like TIFR, NCBS, IISc, etc)... and that's why you see so many Indians doing their PhD in the US institutions. Leading US institutions undoubtedly provide a great platform for outstanding research.

Fortunately, the situation in India is changing slowly and I am hopeful that the research institutes in India will do well in the future.

[FYI: My background: Studied at St. Xavier's College (University of Calcutta) and IIT Kanpur in India. Ph.D. (Physics) from UC Irvine. Currently Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Michigan.]
 
Pankaj, bigbadwolf posted a link from WSJ to start the tread. Maybe you can try having some critical insight on that. bigbadwolf's heritage is irrelevant.

but there may be some hidden motives.. so it is somewhat relevant especially when one creates sensational threads, unrelated to quant finance and attempts to show an entire country in a bad light.
 
Strange, @bigbadwolf is from Pakistan , citing all examples/quotes from Pakistan's educational system, and is discussing about Indian Education system using those facts. I understand they might have good institutes but none of IIT's stature in Pakistan. There can be a lot of difference between the two's education system and IMHO, the PAIN bbw felt while studying in Pakistan, is not justifiable/true for the Indian education system.
And, for this thread, I don't think, it should be deleted or banned. Interesting discussion is always good and as a famous saying, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak :) "

You are correct, sir, and that is a legitimate point. As I've pointed out in an earlier post, Pakistan has no equivalent to the IITs and IIMs, or to JNU for social science research. And I forgot to mention the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research. My experience is mostly with Pakistan, and so I cite it, aware that there are some broad similarities (rote memorisation, outdated syllabi, lecturers who can't be questioned, endemic corruption, poorly funded libraries and labs). I reiterate: the Pakistani system is even worse than the Indian.

Avinash Burra said:
I'm not going to use the word "victim" in this context, but I too was in the same system for 21 years. If what I have read on the subject as well as as anecdotal accounts of education elsewhere are anything to go by, I would be surprised if there was any place in the world where the education was all that much better than the first 17 of those years. I would be equally surprised if there was any place that was worse than the last four years.

I'm not sure. I think continental European systems -- the German, the Finnish -- are streets ahead.

By way of further anecdote (not related to the immediate point above), I recall once having a lecturer explaining Gauss' law in electrostatics to us. He wrote an integral sign and put a small "S" at the bottom (for surface integral). The Pakistani book did not explain what this really meant in terms of calculations; the lecturer himself did not know. And the students, having a lifetime of uncomprehending rote memorisation behind them, were incurious about it. One of my friends was distressed that he didn't understand what was going on -- and started to doubt his own intelligence, since no-one else seemed to have any problem with it. Yet he was not stupid -- he had three "A" grades in his London University "A" levels (which subsequently got him a full scholarship at Cornell so he could quit the dysfunctional Pakistani system altogether). Returning to the surface integral, it was presented out of context, not shown what it meant in terms of calculation, and was meant to be memorised and regurgitated at exam time. At no time did the students get a proper training in vector analysis -- line, surface, and volume integrals, and divergence, curl, and gradient. How, then, were they supposed to understand any electrodynamics or fluid mechanics? Rote memorisation is inevitable and indeed all that is required.

What I am describing above is of course not unique to the Indian subcontinent but holds throughout the Third World. I think Feynman described a similar experience when he went down to Brazil (I think given in one of his autobiographical books, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman?"): the students didn't understand anything, hadn't learnt to question, and just rote memorised everything.

The consequences are that fundamental lacuna remain even after subsequent attempts at rectification. Not to talk of years upon years lost.

For India, I cannot now speak. But in Pakistan, the financial and political elite doesn't give a rat's ass about the educational system: their own children go to exclusive private schools and from there to Western universities. Because the masses of people remain undereducated (possibly deliberately?), the status quo does not change and the country remains inextricably mired in backwardness and corruption, and utterly dependent on the West for basic science and engineering.
 
You are correct, sir, and that is a legitimate point. ......................................I reiterate: the Pakistani system is even worse than the Indian.

.......................

For India, I cannot now speak. But in Pakistan, the financial and political elite doesn't give a rat's ass about the educational system: their own children go to exclusive private schools and from there to Western universities. Because the masses of people remain undereducated (possibly deliberately?), the status quo does not change and the country remains inextricably mired in backwardness and corruption, and utterly dependent on the West for basic science and engineering.

good. now that you have realized your mistake change the topic of this thread to "Pakistan's educational system" and replace the WSJ link with the one below (from 2009 but even more relevant today)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/world/asia/04schools.html
 
I'm not sure. I think continental European systems -- the German, the Finnish -- are streets ahead.

Since we're on the anecdote theme, here's mine: one of my very good friends during school in India was German. After completing his 10th standard in India, he went back to Germany to study the equivalent of the 11th and 12th. He told me that the curriculum he was exposed to in India, especially in maths and the sciences, was so far ahead of that in Germany, that he was able to breeze through those two years without having to raise a textbook in anger.

That is of course in no way indicative of a nationwide trend, but should hopefully serve to show that it is not all gloom and doom.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
You yourself are showing your ignorance and bias about non-IIT students by saying "The rest are far from it". Since your sample size is small, you should not even mention this. I can also easily claim that only MFE students from Princeton/Stanford/Columbia are smart. But we all know that is not the case.

Of course is ignorance and bias. I wrote very clearly that was my own experience and I also said it was a very small sample. The IIT sample is way bigger and, again, I have nothing to say but positive things.

BTW, why shouldn't I mentioned it? This is a free country. I can say whatever I want. I don't live under communism anymore.
 
BTW, why shouldn't I mentioned it? This is a free country. I can say whatever I want. I don't live under communism anymore.

good for you...now think and talk like a free capitalist who cares for the bigger picture not small sample sizes
 
@Devdeep : for people like you who name the schools they went to at the drop of a hat ....I would rather not disclose what school I went to .... As I will start hearing voices that I am faking it..... But modestly I can say that It would be lot better than someone who went to University of calcutta and probably a masters at IIT ( IIT's are only known for bachelor courses and that too 'coz of the quality of student they admit).... And I fail to understand what people are gonna get by making BBW stop publishing comments about Indian Education system....Have the heart to hear the truth mates....
 
bigbadwolf's heritage is irrelevant.
@avinash: You are right, but I meant to say that, bbw is taking inferences from pakistan's education system to judge Indian system, which I'm sure, you know is mindless. The atrocities bbw suffered in his education doesn't necessarily apply to India's education system as well!

but there may be some hidden motives.. so it is somewhat relevant especially when one creates sensational threads
@mcgruber, I don't think anyone is conspiring anything here. Everyone knows "Jo bikta hai, wahi dikhta hai :)" Whatever sells, stays!
Total replies have reached 69! Sure, it's a free country :)
 
.... And I fail to understand what people are gonna get by making BBW stop publishing comments about Indian Education system....Have the heart to hear the truth mates....

Unless the truth is exposed and critically discussed, things aren't going to improve. Like you, I don't see the benefit of sweeping the inconvenient truth under the rug. My parents and my uncles and aunts went through the Indian university system. Next door to me (in Chicago) lives my cousin, who went to IIT Delhi and from there to a PhD in biophysics in the USA (where she now teaches). This is as close to first hand experience as I can offer and I see broad similarities in the educational systems of the subcontinent (though I can't help feeling Pakistanis would be better off if partition had never occurred).
 
@Devdeep : for people like you who name the schools they went to at the drop of a hat ....I would rather not disclose what school I went to .... As I will start hearing voices that I am faking it..... But modestly I can say that It would be lot better than someone...

Dear <darth>... Did I "compare" myself with you? Why would you start comparing? Also... how do you know CU is so bad? And what exactly makes you confident that you are much better? This is childish attitude at best... I named my schools 'coz if I am making any comment about a particular system... I must have experienced it... that's all... and I invited you to do so as well...
 
@Devdeep, seems like we have BBW's relative from Pakistan here as well :D
I'm afraid comments like this will undermine your position and arguments.

It's often easy to get sucked in endless arguments on a "hot" topic like this but let's keep in mind that Quantnet is a profession-based community and well-read by numerous people in this field. Like it or not, each of us is representing the institution we are or will be associated with, be it an MFE program or a financial firm so let's try to put on our best behavior, shall we?

For people like me who do not have first hand experience of the topic at hand, the discussion here is very informative because we get a chance to learn things that we otherwise don't read about daily.
 
Now you're just having a laugh, aren't you? I really hope for the sake of civil debate that no one responds to this.

This is veering off-topic but when many Pakistanis look at their shambles of a country, they say it would have been better if they had remained part of India. Pakistan is a failed state. India, for all its warts, is not in that category.
 
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