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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Business of College education

Article moved to Guru Raj blog

College education has become a business. We are not sure whether this is true all over India, or whether it is only in Tamilnadu. Some of the points further below are likely specific to Tamilnadu, but the overall sentiment is that the quality of college education is on a heavy down-slide. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes we feel it still has some more way to go (down) before we can expect any change. Of course, there are exceptions and those who are lucky to be associated with such exceptions are likely to do well in getting jobs, becoming scientists /entrepreneurs, etc.

So, what ails the situation now. It is all about the money, honey! Tamilnadu saw a big boom in Engineering colleges in the past few years. Whenever there is a huge leap in quantity, the question of quality immediately rises. General suspicion is that many of these colleges are not likely to meet the minimum standards of facilities and faculty. Now, in that case, don't the students and parents think and analyse before taking decisions of college choice good for them, in the long run? Definitely, they do, right?

Then, why should we worry? Well, the problem is that people are being misled in a web of deceit. After seeing the engineering boom of 1990s and 2000s, some wealthy people and/or those with political connections thought it best to open engineering colleges to make a long term profitable business for their family. This galloped away like a runaway horse, due to greed, where the planning and organization were given a go-by and only up-and-running at-all-costs was put at the forefront. Some colleges lacked facilities and majority of them lacked good "educators".

Naturally, the "business" has fallen flat, especially as seen in this year's 70,000 vacant seats in Tamilnadu Engineering colleges. This is "in spite" of the liberal marks being awarded in the higher-secondary examination. It is not difficult to surmise that the motivation for "encouraging" students with liberal marks is only to fill up the engineering colleges, now that the "connected" people have invested heavily in them!

A few years ago, the same person, who has now got 90s, would have got only 70s or 80s and chosen to do a bachelor's degree in science / arts / commerce. Alas, the parents and children have been misled from top down - high-paying jobs in engineering (more so in IT and related fields) seen in early 21st century, peer pressure and status playing on their minds, and the "sudden boon" of high marks scored. Everyone is hence "subtly coerced to be eager" to get into an engineering college. People had and have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

Now, what happens to the (college) business, when so many seats are vacant, in spite of liberal marks encouraging students? All is not lost for those who have invested in such engineering colleges - because they are connected & they can think and work hard to make further (deceitful?) changes. These changes will be again from purely business angle - with no two-hoots given for the students, families, society or nation. More about this, especially, a nice misleading business idea, suggested by our friend from college days, in the next post.

1 comment:

  1. There are some good things happening. In order to encourage people to get into Science, IISc now has a undergraduate program catering to the pure sciences. But then again, it is a question mark whether these programs will entice the people who are capable and motivated to pursue them as the careers.