Thursday, 31 May 2012

honesty and effectiveness

In our country we have smart clever and intelligent dishonest people. Then there are the honest, but not very effective people. There are of course, foolish and dishonest people.
Where are the smart, intelligent, caring and honest people ?

The clever dishonest people are too many to enumerate and also, I might get sued for defamation.

There is Anna Hazare, who could have done so much if he had better understanding of things in general, and constitution-governance-politics in particular. In short, if he had been a 'thinking' man
There is Gen Singh who could have quietly done a cleanup of the army if he had been more clever/savvy/ cunning or whatever the right word is. He could have made a precisely targeted strike and routed the enemy.

But where is an example of a caring, intelligent and effective honest man in some position of considerable power, who has achieved some cleanup action?






Monday, 28 May 2012

research in colleges.

A couple of months back, I had given a talk to my colleagues on plagiarism. I am not an expert on this subject, but I do know more than my audience.
The college management had decided a few years back to honour and reward anyone who published a book or a research paper. Every Sept 5th, we have a ceremony to honour these lecturers. This led to a race for publishing textbooks and research papers. Most of the books are cut-paste jobs (literally). Hence the talk.
During the interaction after the talk, one of my colleagues, who had registered for her PhD, told me that her research guide admonished her and told her not to write her own stuff. He told her she must re-search what is already there and present that. This is the view of most research guides who cater to this UGC-driven race for PhD.
In the talk, I also managed to get in edgewise, my two bits worth about experimental data ...importance of reproducibility...since many have published papers based on experiments done once only.
However, I doubt if I have made much difference to the existing culture, but have probably made myself unpopular.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The cartoon

Many school or even college kids are literal. They do not 'get' satire, metaphors, analogies..etc. That has been my experience. There are exceptions, but this is generally true.
The 'debate' in the parliament about a cartoon in a textbook makes me believe that not having a cartoon is more important to the MPs than poverty alleviation, food security,education reform, or other such issues since these issues are not debated with equal vigor.
Many upholders of freedom of speech have been outraged and ask "So, are we staring at the demise of the Political Cartoon? No future Shankars, Abus and R K Laxmans?" But no one is objecting to cartoons in newspapers. I believe such cartoons are perfectly fine for a magazine or newspaper, but are out of place in a school textbook. I agree with the objections, not to the cartoon itself, but to its inclusion in a textbook.
However, is this such an earth-shaking problem to cause such a hooha? Now they are reviewing all textbooks!


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Intermediate examinations in AP

This year, the Intermediate II year result led to a lot of disappointment with many (31%) failing in Physics. The AP Board of Intermediate has advised students to study from the textbooks prescribed by them and not the material given by the 'corporate colleges'.
Students are upset because the questions asked in the exam are not from previous question papers that form the question bank. That is why many failed and even those who passed, did so with less marks than they expected.
The BIE says that the questions are from the prescribed textbook and NOT outside the syllabus. They have threatened that next year, other subjects will have similar questions.
There will be a re exam on the 16th May.
That is education in AP!

When I was a child, festivals were fun. They were about good food, perhaps new clothes, some token praying (from the kids' point of vie...