Private professional colleges perform without infrastructure! Monday, Jul 9 2012 

Education Minister P. K. Abdu Rabb

Education Minister P. K. Abdu Rabb

If Education Minister P. K. Abdu Rabb is to be believed, all self-financing professional colleges in the State are functioning well. He has told the Assembly so in a written answer on Monday.  The only problem was that some of them lacked infrastructure. None asked how colleges without infrastructure could function well.  Could the students be given practical training without labs? Could they learn without a good library? Should not the colleges have hostels?  (Even the self-financing colleges run by government agencies do not have these facilities).

The High Court has identified as many as one and a half dozen private engineering colleges as under-performing in 2009-12 besides several Self-financing Engineering Colleges under the Institute of Human Resources Development (IHRD). The pass percentage in many of these colleges was low. (However, the parents, who push their wards into engineering colleges even if they don’t have the aptitude or ability to learn, should also be blamed here). Many did not have qualified teachers appointed with tenure.  The practice of appointing teachers on daily wages is a bane of the higher education system. (It was only last month that their remuneration of was increased to decent levels, though their monthly earnings would still be about Rs. 20000 only).

When private self-financing colleges were sanctioned liberally, it was said that the under-performing ones will fall by the wayside. This has not happened with the aspirations of parents and students seeing no limits. They hope for things that are not achievable and the colleges without administrative and teaching infrastructure or teachers make hay while the sun shines.

All kinds of people and organisations, some with dubious past, have entered the self-financing education sector. It is high time that the government insisted on enforcement of strict norms for their functioning. No college without the required facilities and qualified teachers should be allowed to function. The minimum marks for admissions should be raised to prevent the tragedy of mass failures of students.

Show cause notice issued by AICTE to colleges

Entrance examination toppers as heroes Thursday, May 24 2012 


Society should have its heroes. So, it may not surprise us when newspapers in the State flashed photos and reports about the toppers in the entrance examination for professional courses in the State.

However, are they real heroes?  Despite their preservation and hard work, nine out of ten of the toppers had won their positions after spending an additional year preparing for the examinations. In fact, they can be said to have wasted a year in pursuit of something that is no real learning. So, why celebrate the winners?

Moreover, those he won top ranks after spending a year exclusively for preparing for the entrance examinations could not be termed as toppers over those who have written the examinations immediately after passing the higher secondary courses.

We have already abolished ranks for the SSLC examinations. It is high time that we stopped playing up the entrance results which did not even mean the earning of an academic qualification or distinction. If at all anybody is to be congratulated, it is Vishnu Prasad who completed his Plus Two this year.


Terrorist threat against Sonia Gandhi and quality of education. Sunday, Nov 2 2008 

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

The police recently arrested an engineering student from Kochi (Kerala) for sending an email message to President of India  threatening Congress president Sonia Gandhi and bomb blasts in Kochi and Delhi.

The accused was a B. Tech. student of Cochin University of Science and Technology, and the incident points to poor quality of education in our universities not to speak of colleges.

The boy had sent the email not with the intention of killing anybody but to take revenge on a girl who had rejected his love.

He did not know that his email could easily be traced to him. Though he is a B. Tech student, he seems not to have even preliminary knowledge of how the Internet works- the system of protocols and things like header information and logs. If he had known that, he would not have taken the risk of sending an email in such a silly manner. It is also clear that he does not know anything about proxy servers and the like which makes tracing of messages difficult. (In this case, use of proxy servers would have only delayed the investigation. As the threat is against a VIP, even those running proxy servers abroad would disclose the logs. )

mailThe student had used an email id he had created with personal information about his girl friend. He thought that the police would go after the girl when they find out the name and account details.  Apparently, he did not have a good appreciation of timestamps appearing on the emails. (The headers have information about the path taken by the message from server to server with time stamp). Otherwise, he would have known the police would check where the girl was at the time of sending the message. (And probably where he was; even if they had not traced him using the Internet protocol address of the sending machine).

All these point to the fact that the students are not learning even basics of Internet technology in their classes. Even if they do, it is only theory that they fail to connect to their applications. It is high time that we revamped our education system. Not only engineering students, but other students too should have basic knowledge about the working of the Internet. This would save them from committing foolish crimes. (Unless the courts are lenient, the student could attract a sentence of up to ten years in prison.) More than that, it could help to save them from identity thieves, scamsters behind the Nigerian email scam and other scams, spoofing and much more. And the police would not have to go after inconsequential threats.