Saturday, December 13, 2008

Faculty perceptions of university education in India


The IISc Centenary Conference kicks off this afternoon with speeches by Prof. C.N.R. Rao and former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

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Professor [A.H.], head of electro-technical department found, “the main weakness of the university science graduate is his entire ignorance of mechanical engineering and lack of workshop experience. As regards the work done by students during the session, it was found that not one of them was sufficiently well-trained, either as regards to actual knowledge of the theory of the subject or practical acquaintance with the method of measurement.” Echoing his observations, Professor [N.R.], who had four students in his applied chemistry department, makes a stinging remark on Indian education system [...].

“These students possess to a more or less greater extent, one peculiarity, which I attribute to the system under which they have studied, in which the passing of examination appears to have been the main object of University life. I refer to the fact that the students have rather an experience of learning than real knowledge itself...”

It's interesting how (some) faculty perceptions have remained stubbornly static for nearly 100 years!