Sunday, June 17, 2012

Changes in IITJEE will add pressure on students

For thousands of students (including me) aspiring to become engineers, its a chaotic moment for them. With barely 10 months to go for the JEE, students are still in dark clouds regarding the new pattern of IITJEE. The recent stories developing around the new pattern of joint entrance examination literally gives us nightmare, and its quite obvious when our future are at at stake.

Nowadays, most of our chats revolve around those developments. Today our facebook status revolve around new pattern of JEE. Every morning I browse through newspapers just to find stories related to the new pattern of JEE. Well its not just my story, every friend and other thousands of to-be engineers have story to share.

IITJEE is one of the crucial examination in the lives of students. In fact, it decides the future of students. Being one of the toughest exams, students leave no stone unturned to get into IITs. But this year, students are bewildered regarding the new pattern of JEE. We students are suffering the tussle between the government and the IITs. The sudden changes in JEE pattern on would affect us. Its easy to implement changes on paper but its impossible for students to adapt themselves according to the new pattern in such a short period. Mr Kapil Sibal believes that new pattern would put down pressure from students. But unfortunately Mr. Sibal fails to understand that sudden change would affect students appearing for JEE in 2013.

We have been under rigorous training to crack JEE for last couple of years and all of a sudden you are changing the pattern. Is it fair Mr. Sibal?

Mr. Sibal dreams to put an end to coaching and tutorial classes. But if thinks that including board marks in JEE will eliminate 40 billion industry then he must think again. Inclusion of board marks would, in fact, encourage coaching institutes. Moreover it also contradicts the aim of the change; it will add up more pressure on students.

As the present scenario is concerned, the syllabus of JEE and board syllabus differs a lot. So, just reading textbooks surely won't work for the JEE. Coaching classes comes to rescue. They guide students for the preparation of JEE syllabus along with other competitive examinations. Without coaching & tutorial classes, its very hard (though not impossible) to get into IIT. As a consequence, coaching industry has turned into 4000cr business.

To make sure that coaching classes find their way to graveyards, its necessary to change the syllabus. Today, JEE paper lack the aptitude part. In fact, coaching institutes mostly focuses on solving tougher problems mechanically, rather than building concepts. Adding aptitude section would surely give a blow to coaching industry.

I personally believe that the present system needs several changes to pick the best minds into the best institutes but the changes should be incorporated gradually. Changing the pattern all of a sudden would create chaos among students and also add pressure on them. I hope that the crisis would soon find a solution which would benefit the education system and gradually help students to show up their potential.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Welcome to the World of eBooks

Technology has changed the definition of knowledge sharing. From bulky hardbacks to ebooks, the journey has been short, but phenomenal and still has a long way to go.

Kindle by Amazon 


Do you remember when you last turned the pages of Encyclopedia Britannica, kept inside the dusty shelves of the library? Well, if you don’t, then curse the advent of Internet technology which has made those books a matter of past. Let me come to the point. Last month, the publisher of Britannica has finally decided to end the printed version of the encyclopedia after 240 years of publication! Instead, Britannica will provide online version to its readers. Britannica wont die, but will get a makeover from bulky hardcover to sleek screen of your tablet or post PC (courtesy: Tim Cook) devices.

In the age of internet, hardbacks and paperbacks are losing their share in the publishing sector. The rise of broadband technology has given a complete makeover to the definition of sharing knowledge. Today, its not limited to dozens of books in your shelves, but, literally, knowledge doesn’t have boundaries.

It all started with wikipedia in 2001 where knowledge comes free to everybody. But the major revolution came with the invention of ebook. From the birth of kindle to the rise of tablets, the journey has been short, but phenomenal and still has a long way ahead. 

Ebook is a boon for book lovers (like me). I can carry thousands of titles in a 1cm thick tablet or an ebook reader. You name it and the title gets delivered to your device in seconds. My dad would have to spend a day to search a book throughout the books stores of the town. But today it’s just a click away! You name it and its there.

Ebook market in India is still an infant. Undoubtedly, it has immense potential, but hasn’t been utilized to its fullest. Truly speaking, Indians aren’t ready to switch over digital books than traditional books. My school principal would curse the ebook technology (he believes reading ebook loses charm of reading). And this mentality keeps domestic publishers away from ebooks. Consequently, the prices of ebook are much higher. In fact you would have to spend more to buy an ebooks than a hard copy. For instance, you could get (with little bargain) a paperback edition of Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Revolution 2020’ in Rs 100. But if you wish to buy a kindle version, you would have to spend $8.99 (Rs. 450)! And that’s too with limited titles available in the stock. You would hardly find books in vernacular languages.

According to an estimate by Gigaom Pro, U.S. e-book marketplace is $2 billion and is believed to exceed $5 billion by 2016. Though ebook market is flourishing in western countries, Indian ebook market needs a boost. Fortunately, several domestic players are showing interest in ebook industry and have come up with few options for ebook lovers. But still, ebook industry in India has a long way to go.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday(s)

I took my cell phone to wish my friend on his birthday, perhaps the 17th. He picked my call and paused for few seconds, bewildered, and replied, “Oh thanks...but today its just the official one, my real birthday was three months back.” I too went bewildered, and tried to figure out the difference between ‘official’ and ‘real’ birthday.

Well, my friend is not the only man on the earth (or better in India) who lives in confusion when to celebrate his birthday. Infact, a huge population celebrate their birthdays on two different days – one on the day mentioned on their passports and voter Ids and second, on the day they actually set their feet on earth.
But how it happens? As per the prevailing laws in the country, the date mentioned on the class X board marksheet/ admitcard is considered as the original date of birth. Every official statement accepts it as original DOB. Even passports, ration cards and voter ids are issued against it.
However, the date mentioned on the matrix certificate is, infact, never verified. Actually, the date is fixed by the parents during the admission of the child to the school. While admission, parents are required to submit an avidivit in order to verify the age of the child. But the avidivit is issued blindfoldedly, without verifying. As a consequence, parents decide the date according to their convinience and requirement.

So what they do so? They do so with a hope that their child could spend few extra months on his job even when his biological age has crossed the retirement level. But is it fair to change ones original age just to earn few extra penny? Certainly not. In fact, it is a social crime and an another form of corruption. Literally, corruption begins with birth of a child.

Under Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, government has made it mandatory for the parents to register their child’s birth within three weeks at their nearest municipal or panchayat.  However the birth certificate issued by the authority is merely a piece of paper and never put to use. As a consequence, commiting the social crime is literally child’s play.

So, what can be done? Firstly, the school management, where the crime begins, must be responsible. They should verify the date mentioned in the avidivit with the date on the birth certificate issued by the municipal. Moreover, the authorities issuing the avidivit should also verify the age before issuing .

But the best way to deal with the crime is using technology. In the era of computers and ipads, most of the municipals (atleast) are connected to WWW. So, the birth certificate should be uploaded to the web so that it can be verified later by the concerned agencies.

Changing your official date of birth cannot alter your biological age, neither can it increase your life expectancy.  Moreover, by changing your child’s DOB, you are actually introducing your child into the world of corruption.