Monday, April 14, 2008

Elite institute of technology

Monday, April 14, 2008

The last few days, nearly everyone has updated their blogs and nearly all the editorials contain the same topic. After all no institution in India features mores in various forms of media than the prestigious IIT.

Content wise, it all been heard and everyone has almost taken sides. Yet this caught my eye. It’s an open editorial by one Aditya Jha, the global branding guru of Infosys Technologies, who also once in a while writes for outlook magazine. This time he chose the Indian Express to express his views. And quite interesting ones too.
While talking about the establishment of the hazaar new IIT that are going to be set up in various parts of the country, he says
The newly set up IITs are going to provide the HRD ministry with the democratic votes and moral position in an enlarged IIT Council, like Canada and Bermuda did to Dalmiya, that will drive one regressive law after another to finally reduce the original “big 5” IITs to a totally hopeless and supine position.
This strange analogy might still make sense to some but will this?

In a country of a billion people, what’s wrong with 10000 IIT-ians passing out each year? To begin with, it blows apart the core value of brand IIT: super brains.
Or this
Brilliance is elitist. There is a difference between brilliance and above average. The IIT entrance exam, the JEE, was designed to shock and awe and separate the brilliant from the above average. There is a difference between JEE rank 500 and 50,000.

If we end up producing 50,000 IIT-ians every year, we would, most certainly, be killing brand IIT.
For someone who has actually spent four years in IIT, one would expect that Mr Jha would know that all people who get through JEE are not exceptional or alternatively framed, everyone who missed out on the JEE isn’t really below average. Especially with the current pattern of the examination where questions are multiple choice, the JEE has certainly become an easier exam from the dreaded mains where the cut offs would be quite low.

Please let me clarify my point here lest someone points it out to me later. What I mean is that although its no surprise that IITians are quite smarter than the average lot (and some of them are really brilliant, I mean way above the rest of the lot), this in no way means that every IITian is “brilliant” or “super-human” as he claims to be.

If read carefully one can see that this isn’t a vent against allowing the OBC/SC/ST into the institution based on their caste or their past, but it’s a rant against diluting the IIT brand by allowing more people to gain access to it.According to Mr Jha, IIT should remain that hot blonde who can never be approached, the Holy Grail that can never be found, the horizon that can never be reached. By allowing more IIT’s to be built we’re merely destroying its sanctity.

Later he goes on to claim

Brand IIT is not about IITs; it’s about IIT-ians. And, mostly, it is about undergraduate IIT-ians at that. People who have done M-Tech from IITs always feel discriminated against. Since they never cracked the JEE, there’s no way they will be accepted into the tribe.

For his sake, I hope his boss doesn’t read this.

A quick look at the comments section of the article and one can gauge the agitation of the crowd upon seeing something like this.And he also acts cheeky by putting something like this in the article.
An IIT-ian friend of mine once went out for an arranged date with an air hostess in Hong Kong. As the music changed gears, the air hostess kept asking him to dance with her and my friend kept declining with a polite, “I can’t do the twist/disco/cha-cha-cha.” Finally, the air hostess lost her cool and is reported to have demanded, “What? You can’t even do the Can-Can? What can you do?”

To which, the proud IIT-ian responded, “I can do second order partial differential equations; can you?”

Now as Confused so brilliantly put it, how is this relevant? Seriously, how does solving PDE really make you super smart. For all I know, the IITian probably gave up an opportunity to score.

I don’t think Mr Jha read his post all over once before sending it to the Indian Express. Seriously I understand that one should be proud of one's alma mater, but seriously dude...


Crossposted on Mutiny.in

11 comments:

Abhijeet

someone tell that git that every engineering student knows how to solve a second order PDE (we bitsians also know random shit about DNA, alleles and the likes :P ). I suppose this kind of irresponsible and immature commentary has put Mr. Jha's fraternity of super-intellectuals to shame...

ARVIND THATIKONDA

too good dude...especially the PDE one

rishabh

@abhijit: i am sure it has. He should obviously know better. Its ok to feel pround about your institution but what he is doing is just annoying. and lame.

arvind: Yes I know!!

sap

the IITian and blond joke is good! do u know the IITian and frig princess one?

Sushant Chandak

These Superbrains need just one piece of advice:GROW UP.

rishabh

@sap: throw some light please.

@chandak: Atleast this one does. He could have framed his article in a much beter way

sap

An IIT graduate — so the story goes — is walking near a pond one day when a frog speaks to him. ''Kiss me,'' it says, ''and i will turn into a beautiful princess.'' The IITian does a double-take, turns back to check if he has heard right, and sure enough, the frog repeats itself: ''Kiss me and i will turn into a beautiful princess.'' He looks thoughtfully at the frog, picks it up and puts it into his pocket. A plaintive wail soon emerges: ''Kiss me and i will turn into a beautiful princess.'' He ignores it and walks on. Soon the frog asks, ''Aren't you going to kiss me?'' The IIT guy stops, pulls the frog out of his pocket, and replies matter-of-factly: ''I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend. But a talking frog is cool.''


This is the joke i am talking abt.

rishabh

@sap:
Oh, I think I heard that somewhere

Atharva Poundarik

1) '...every IITian is “brilliant” or “super-human” as he claims to be...';
I don't!

2) 'Since they never cracked the JEE, there’s no way they will be accepted into the tribe'; True without a doubt! There can be NO comparison between the avg. intelligence of a B.Tech. and an M.Tech.

3) Brand IIT is not only about brains; it's about performance under pressure. By increasing seats/IITs all you're doing is relaxing that threshold which does dilute the quality that eventually comes out!

Atharva

rishabh

Hey Atharva,

See the point I was trying to make through my post is that Mr Jha being a brand ambassador of a huge company should present his institution in a better light than this. Would you want this man representing your institution, ranting the way he is? Seriously?

You guys are good, agreed. But what's with the ego man?

The average intelligence of the M Tech people as you say isn't high, but its not like they're come through an easy way. Many of the M-Tech seats get taken away anyways, coz they conveniently given away as dual degrees through JEE. I am not comparing GATE to JEE. Though the last couple of JEE papers weren't of any cosmic standards, seriously speaking, its the people giving it that make the paper tough.

Now to your biggest point Brand Dilution.

If you look at any big university abroad, they cater to around 10-15K, now I understand that our colleges lack those finds and facilities, but all I am saying is that quality education shouldn't be denied to people under the pretense that it will dilute education.
With the quotas, the competitions will only get, tougher, in such a case, you need to increase the seats in order to maintain the so called standard of the IIT's.

I am sure that allowing another 3000-4000 candidates through JEE will not dilute its standard, for I fail to believe that a nation of a billion churning out millions of enginers every year an only have couple of hundred bright minds.
Certainly not.

Atharva Poundarik

1) Yes, most IITians are egoists and you can't blame them for that; blame the society.

2) It is not only about increasing the number of seats! The problem arises when this increase isn't taken care of by an increase in the number of good faculty members and infrastructure. The privileges (like timely use of facilities, low student-faculty ratio) that a few students share now have to be divided even more.

3) 'With the quotas, the competitions will only get, tougher,..'; I sincerely doubt that. More than half of these beneficiaries flunk in more than half of their courses; forget about contributing to their environment intellectually in a non-academic way. With their cut-off already relaxed to a third of the regular category a further relaxation only spells doom for the wonderful campus culture that we learn most from.

 
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