Frustration, frustration and frustration - Story of State Colleges in India

Today was our Summer Project viva day and overall it went good for me. Although I was suppose to give viva on Sat, but that just didn’t happened as I was kicked out  and insulted from my respective teachers for “not wearing formal clothes”. That’s very  sad. I am not taking it personally but I am just pointing out the level of education and overall mentality in state college education system. I am not saying quality is low or teachers are poor or something like that. I personally feel we have very good teachers overall but it’s just whole system which is screwed up badly and causing problems for just everyone including teachers too.

Today, I gave my viva in so called “formal clothes” and it went good. Now question here is - why really formal clothes?
Or is that’s the only thing which makes one look professional? On sat I was in clothes I own, today I was in clothes taken on “request” from someone.
It’s all about  “system” and mentality of that system. And really funny thing was when my presentation ended, my question to a very good teacher of mine was Sir any questions? His reply was - “No, very good presentation”. I felt happy to hear those words from him - since he’s one of very good teachers in our college and I have lot of respect for him. But next, he called me and pointed out (so called) “mistakes” in my file. Now to clarify - (I attest it with 100% confidence) that there was NO technical glitch or mistake in file but it was all about “Standard ways” Vs “Non-Standard ways”.

My file was rejected for following reasons:

  1. I underlined headings (and I was not supposed to be) (why?)
  2. I had bit of free spaces here and there (and no one is humble enough to ignore!) :)
  3. I wrote title of images on top, rather then bottom
  4. I wrote title of images but did not name those as image 1.1, 1.2 etc (Does that matters?)

Despite of these (so called as) mistakes anyone can read my file well, and can understand it well. And I can also “claim” to be one of probably 3-4 students out of 60 students who created whole file, whole project, whole presentation by hand (rather then copying). He knew that well, still file rejected. Fix fonts, fix underlines and print again.

I just wonder why people are seriously looking at things which DOESN’T NOT MATTER and completely ignoring things which matter a LOT. I spent considerable amount of time in looking into whole system and looking at the core issue. I was surprised to find it’s not about any teacher or say group of teachers who are causing problem, but it’s about whole system. Infact one of madam sitting in same lab later agreed to me saying “in our time we did in formal manner, we were forced to that, and same we expect from you”. This reminds me very old thought of Hindu culture where “discipline” is more about living life in uncomfortable hard manner for just nothing but to maintain a system. Like e.g it was discipline not to look into eyes of elders, it was discipline not to ever question judgement of someone senior in family, it was discipline to just keep things like way they are going even if someone has a better solution out to that. It is sad that education system in India carried over that “discipline as stick” rule to impose meaningless things rather then focusing on bringing innovation in young minds.

I can technically challenge all these rules like say:

  1. Why wear formal clothes? Any single logical point? We are into “technical education” rather then say MBA or any such stream. I have seen Mr Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho coming in shorts in Office and working. I have seen how people dress up at Google. Overall, about clothes all I can say is - they should be comfortable and next, should look decent. Full stop beyond those points.
  2. What’s the WHOLE point in printed presentation? I am sure here college will claim that it’s a “Kurukshetra University” demand but again WHAT’s THE POINT in having hard copies and wasting more paper? Next, we organize a “Save trees day” and pass message to save trees by making funny paintings ON PAPER. Completely meaningless but no one (in top management) seems bold enough to challenge it and get it fixed. Or may be it’s about economy? :) Well, yeah small computer shops printing these projects are making quite a bit (as I have seen myself). They did asked us for soft copy on CD, which should be enough.
  3. Why so much of negative trashing questions to students? I have myself seen our respective teachers putting SERIOUSLY HARD EFFORT to find “mistakes” in presentation despite of fact it was first presentation at this level for 3rd year students. No one tried to boast moral, no one tried to ignore mistakes, no one tried to just let one “convey” their message. Surely, I can’t deny of fact that many students were poor in preparation but I am saying there were enough cases where student knew 90% of his subject and isn’t that’s a good number? For rest of 10% part, student had no clear idea. Why to dig more and more of 10% and prove him/her as plain dumb when they are not? (Happened to many of my friends)

But alas, this is not teachers problem, it’s just whole system. I myself know many good teachers who get very bad treatment from students and vice versa as in my case! :)

Clearly chicken-egg game

One or a group of student insult a teacher for some reason or whatever, teacher gets supper irritated with everyone and keeps on trashing everyone. And eventually old students start giving out their frustration on new teachers and cycle continues. No one gains anything from it, but just more and more frustration and loss of time & energy. :(

I still don’t have any solution to break this chicken - egg series, just suffering like few other “decent” students. All I can think off right now is - be more respectful and humble even with teachers who are not behaving in good manner and eventually break their anger & frustration with more and more respect & love.

Reminds me of this scene from very motivating movie “Accepted”.

Wish, people around me - not just teachers but students too, and almost everyone becomes more humble, loving, forgiving - and world would be such a nice place.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave your comments below.