Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MIT and Tutions !

Read this email to a student collaborator (who will soon join MIT PhD program in Massachusetts) by another junior student.

From: "pxxxx mxxx""
Subject: hi..

hi axxx...

congrats for MIT..m a 1st year student in bpgc...i knw its kinda early but jus wanted 2 know how u got thru nd wat ws ur GRE score...btw did u do sm coachin or nythin..



Now, how do we address this insanity?

  1. P, no, there are no tution classes in how to get to MIT, or how to create a new musical 'Rag', or how to run Pepsi Co., or how to create a new 4 GHz processor.

  2. P, you can start preparing for GRE by writing your emails with proper words, instead of "prpr wrds"...

If you surmised that P got into India's 'top-class' engineering by rote learning, remembering books and solving a million problems one by one, you are very close to the truth. He must have attended coaching classes from his 5th standard, esp. for 10th, 12th, IIT, BITS, CET, AICTE exams. The last 5 exams are to be given within 1 month of each other. No wonder P thinks that even MIT admissions are of the same level as BITS/ IIT. I wish I could ask him to take tutions from Raghu and Suresh in BITS, but that would be atrocity against my dear ex-colleagues.

If you are an Indian student, this situation is fairly common for you. If by some design you were good at playing chess/ painting, interested in language and/ or history, hopeful to start a school or a hotel, your middle-class father/ mother would shout on you, your friends would lampoon you, and your grand-mother would start daily fast to urge the gods to change your mind. Then, when it comes to admission, they will even choose which stream is good for you, because there is great market for it. Failure to do so, is to fail your parents in life.

Thanks to the Indian government's tyrannical control of education, it is hard to change the way schools operate and how students learn. Even today, government meddles in education, and would not even allow top-ranked foreign universities in India. This has produced such students, for whom learning is within the bounds of textbooks, within the walls of a school (or worse, a tution class) and within limits of religion.

And Maha wants to explore how to enhance schools by introducing intervention programs, with various real-life activities added to school curriculum. More power to her !



Akash... said...

Yes! These emails are a real pain, and I never have the slightest idea of how to reply to them. Due to BITS2MSPhD, almost every second day I receive these emails, and the only thing I ask them is to follow their dreams and to be the best at them. Not sure if it helps them, but well... :)

mandark said...

The ironic thing, though, seems that even though beating the system has been perfected to a method in India, it hasn't taught these people the value of a properly organized approach.

In the absence of any real change at pre-undergrad level, perhaps undergrad education in institutions like BITS/IIT can be changed to show the real value that each of your courses adds to research you might do later. This might get some people really *thinking* instead of asking 'is ther sum coaching class 4 gting into MIT' :D

myopic astronomer said...

indeed, BITS can do much towards removing this reliance on coaching and 'organised effort' towards exams. there is only so much achieved by getting into MIT. the real work starts after the admission.

given that BITS does not make students do work after admissions, they continue to think that admission is the real thing, not what follows after that. pity!