July 31, 2010

I NO Longer WANT to be an Engineer

(The very first post turned out to be a Super blog rather than a mini one, as promised. Well, sorry, but I had strong opinions on this one..) 

First an excerpt from my friend's email.. 
To tell u the truth ! sometyms it's kind of frustrating to think one self as an engineer specially wen u have a university as gud (take it the other way) as mine. "6Th semester ends in just 1 n 1/2 months".how does that sound for tomorrow's times of india headline? but there is some respite , atleast from now onwards our course will be on time..but still i would say, whats the point of doing engineering like that?? i mean there has to be someone who should take responsibility..i mean, do we Indians even know the meaning of word" accountability?? any way, i won't bother u much ! since u are free..i'm giving u an open chance to air your views on this. 
Sounds familiar? Well, to me it felt like someone took my thoughts there and wrote it as his. When I started my B.Tech. I had a lot of hopes.. Hope that I will be a better person after 4 years. Hope that I will not only be getting a degree and a job but also knowledge and confidence.. Hope that I won't just be a B.Tech but a Computer Engineer.. After all I chose Computer Science..

3 years have passed since then. While I am still confident of getting a degree and a job in an year. But all the hopes that I had from the college and from the engineering education have been brutally shattered (sorry, if you don't like the metaphors but I don't have better words to explain how I feel).. 

I thought I will be doing innovative work, learning new technologies, building things that I could be proud and other be envious of, being in company of professors that are a master of their subjects... But, here I am today, doing the same old rot learning that I specialized in, back at school. Whats path3tic is that now, I can't even do that properly. Grades are getting lower and lower by each semester, dragging down the confidence as well. 

Last semester I had a real scare in an exam. I had 2 real bad experiences which I won't want to have ever again in my life. I got to know, how it felt like going completely blank in an exam. How it felt like not being sure if you are going to get in even 50%. 

Alright, so who is at fault here.. Me?
  • Me, because I refused to study the subject just because I didn't like it and didn't know how was that going to help me anywhere in the future. 
  • Me, who didn't regularly attend that particular subject's classes because the teacher not only couldn't generate any interest in the subject but also seemed a bit rude to me. 
  • Me, who thought of passing yet another exam by just cramming the notes a day before the exam... Well if you also feel so, then, sorry I don't agree with you. 
I feel that a student should be given a right not to study any subject (say Maths) if he knows that he isn't exactly cut-out for it, and can better utilize his time making 3D models. If later, he will feel Maths has importance in his life, then he will automatically strive to learn it, as the need arises. 

I also feel that one should be given freedom not to attend any class if he/she doesn't . I mean, whats the use of torturing him/her for an hour when he/she is not interested to study that subject. Will having 70+% attendance going to insure good grades and more importantly attained knowledge? 

A counter-point that's given is that if there is no barrier of attendance then nobody is going to attend classes and there will be no difference in between a regular and a distance education college. 
Well, I disagree.. What I have seen is that, if the teacher is brilliant and can motivate students then the class is not going to be empty. Pupil come not to mark attendance but to actually learn something. They respect the teacher and automatically behave. And those who don't have any interests in studies, aren't going to attend classes, whether the minimum attendance is 70 or 90%... 

I am still to figure out..
  • Why do we need to study 6 subjects in 3 months (excluding practicals) and why do we have to keep our files well maintained even-though they are going to be trashed at the end of the semester?
  • Why do we have to spend half of the semester duration writing exams? 
  • What are we actually going to learn in a 3 months (or in my friend's case in 1.5 months!) semester with books that seem more history than technology, teachers that seem more concerned with how the student looks or behaves in the class rather than what he/she is learning and a education system that wants to squeeze in every little thing to learn in 4 years time without even checking the ground reality and taking the problems of the learners into account.

    • Can't we instead choose 3 subjects out 6 every semester and study them properly rather than juggling with all of them?
    • Can't we spend more time doing practicals than copying practical work?
    • Can't we go into exams with an assurance that our hard work will be rewarded with proportionate grades, and we won't get more or less marks than we deserve?

But hey, who am I to ask these questions. Just an ordinary student, who wasn't even smart enough to get into an IIT (as if IITians are the brightest blokes in this country). 

So, at last, to the question that my friend asked, I would say sorry my friend, there is no accountability in most part of engineering education in India. Their idea is that you can become an engineer only if you pass all the subjects they have prescribed and they will ensure that you get to sit for each of those exams (after all, you have paid money to them!). Now, whether you learn anything or not is not their responsibility. 

And yes, you have the right to remain silent in this matter.. Thank you very much.

PS: I dream of one day becoming the Education Minister of India and recognize the Engineering education and Engineer as a profession. They are no better than unskilled labors... And also, upgrade all diploma holders to degree holders so that they stop feeling inferior.