Sunday, September 6, 2009


The source for this post is actually an inscription,that I found at one of the walls of Sir M.Visweswaraya Institute of Technology (MVIT),Bangalore.Had been there for the DRDO test.I took a piece of paper and noted it down,there only.

It reads so...(And it was real sad that this gem of a thought was painted there with quite a few spell-errors).

A University is essentially a co-operation of teachers and students and the relation between the two is of a sacred character.A University is not a mere information shop,it's a place where a man's intellect,will and emotions are disciplined.The university is a sanctuary of the intellectual life of the country and pursuit of knowledge is the soul of the university.Magnificent buildings and equipments are no substitute for the great teacher.


How true !!! and the last line captivated me,so much.

As our country's education infrastructure is under a wonderful phase of development with lots of IITs,NITs and BITS-Pilani campuses,India is facing a real dearth of good teachers.I have one of my friends who is lecturing at a college for Bachelors degree students with a Bachelor's degree.

Let's churn out some statistics ...

The UN Rao committee has pointed out that India had a huge shortage of teachers for engineering. For instance in 2000-01, Indian engineering institutions required Total 60,970 teachers, broken down into: 8,710 professors, 17,420 readers and 34,840 lecturers.
In terms of professional qualifications, what was required were 26,130 Ph Ds and 34,840 M Techs.
What was available however, were 5,862 Ph Ds and 11,035 MTech’s.

That's a shortfall of around 70 per cent, a figure that's more than doubled over the decade. So one can imagine the quality of students being churned out.

Premier Institutions like IITs have a huge number of unfilled faculty positions and I myself have some experiences of being taught by teachers with a Bachelor's degree.A real saddening state and whenever I realise myself,being short technically,my mind would start blaming the teachers I had at my college.Yeah...we can dismiss this one as mere escapism of a lazy student who hasn't done his classwork and learning at college.

But what,then is the role of a teacher at the University ?

Dr.S.Radhakrishnan,again comes to our rescue...

* The teacher's duty is not only to acquaint the students, with the subjects and the subject matter, principles and generalization, but also to inculcate in them a sense of research and habit of free and impartial judgement.

* It is the main duty of the teachers to inculcate interest in his pupil for the subject, which he teaches. A teacher who is not aware of the latest development or advancement and who does not have independent thinking and ideas about his duties cannot infuse the desire of love for truth in his pupil.

The teachers,nowadays fail in their attempt to teach and explain the subject matter satisfactorily,leave apart the research sense and all that.A teacher need not necessarily explain all the syllabus to his students but he should be able to ignite the minds of his students,inculcate passion towards the subject and more importantly,he should be potent enough to inspire his wards.On a saddening note,none of the above are happening at the modern day engineering class-rooms.

IITs and other premier engineering Institutes are having a good number of experienced professors but there is a visible shortage of second rung of good professors.Over the next decade,it may not be a wonder if there's a exponential drop in the quality of student output from our universities.

So...Where do we fall short ?

In a nation which had iconic professors like Dr.S.Radhakrishnan, Sir.C.V.Raman, Prof.Satish Dhawan and the likes, why is this trauma ??

I would like to share a few thoughts on this regard...

1) Research Infrastructure at the University campuses

Have a look at the university websites of premier grad schools like Stanford, Berkeley or any top US university...You are sure to hit a considerable number of Indian professors there.After spending years on a Doctorate,which science-inclined person will be ready to work in a Indian university,which has sub-standard research facilities and infrastructure.Everybody has got to be selfish someways and nobody wants to ruin their careers.Except the IITs and IISc,how many universities in India have a decent device fabrication laboratory in their campuses.So,our brains drain into the west and in-turn our creamy student layer also ends up there,leaving behind a big hole in our education and knowledge setup.

Absence of good professors at the universities will create a sub-standard student community and this becomes a vicious circle.Over 90% of the students complete their coursework and graduate from the college without (any...yeah ANY)understanding of say..Automata theory,Quantum mechanics or Semiconductor device physics.

2) The Information Technology Boom

IT's arrival in the 90s has gradually inculcated a sense of negligence and carelessness in the learning patterns of the student community.Learn Java,code in .NET and do something creative in Photoshop and you end up with a real job that's gonna offer you more than 35k per month.Why to take pains with your coursework...why to understand turbines and gears,Diodes and opamps,Automata and Turing machine.This is a dangerous trend that has already infiltrated the colleges and universities.This way,a lot of people graduate out from college with a very little technical knowledge in their chosen program of study.Simulators and programming languages have really eaten up the valuable teaching,learning and experimentation time,where real knowledge transfer and acquisition will happen.The will and skill to contribute to science and teaching is seemingly absent in even,the top rankers of the university.

So...Somebody might ask...we know all this young man...Got any solution ??
And my answer will be NO.If a 23 year old can provide solutions for these problems of mammoth magnitude,then why is Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam still trying to put forward his dreams of India being all-potent in 2020.

I will take this oppurtunity to thank and gratify some of my teachers who inspired me,all these years.

Mr.Sivakumar - Taught Biology at school - Taught the art and life behind Amoeba and Mammalian heart with astounding ease.
Mr.SAR Arumugam - Taught Physics at school - Spoke Kalam,Universe,Stars and Big-bang theory in an inspiring manner.
Miss.Manimegalai - Taught English grammar - she developed an intuitive way of writing error-free sentences,in me.
Prof.Raghunath Behera - Chemistry at University - he always stresses the research aptitude and scientific temper - Most respectable person in my college life.

A real less Number of people...considering 19 years of learning...Thats the state of affairs.


  1. nice post.....
    The bit about the shortage of proper research facilities is quite true......
    I have probably gained more knowledge during my first month at NUS compared to my entire thesis period of abt 6 mths at BITS!!!

  2. You hit the nail Gokul!.One solution i ve always thought is this.If every student spends equal time at home and at school then isn't it as much a duty of the parents,as it is for the school teacher,to imbibe the right ways to assimilate knowledge and apply the same.I feel if we,not parents yet,start spreading the word and make sure it really does reach our target audience,I'm sure we ve done half the job.The other half lies in making people realise the seriousness of this problem.

    It will be great if teachers also get good recognition when they put their heart and soul into teaching,rather,moulding their students like they were their own children.That is another hole, I think,that needs to be addressed.

    Also the point that you make about the growing tendency to look at the ITs as a lucrative career option,though not wrong,is a valid factor that plays early in a college student's mind if not carefully nurtured.

    Gr8 job Lugo!.I feel like making a list of all teachers who've inspired me right from school.:)


  3. Nice article lugo. But as always words don't take us far enough. Rather than complaining and listing solutions, I feel its more important to be a part of the solution. Though there was a lack of facilities at BITS, there were still facilities which were unexplored by many of us till we graduated. Its the willingness to work that makes people different. IF someones ready to do something, no matter what, there are always opportunities. Its for those who whine and pine, no matter what, nothing will be enough.

    And btw, how come you missed Ranjan Dey?? I am surprised.

  4. Bharath,Prithvi and Chandru ... Thanks for ur comments...

    Ofcourse, parents are the first teachers for any child but the point that is focussed here is the technical knowledge and scientific curiosity.Parents contribute in the emotional learning aspects.They are supposed to provide the right atmosphere and emotional strength to their children,which most parents do these days.

    And recognition for teachers...I completely agree..Teachers,who are the sculptors of the society aren't seen and recognised,with the importance that they deserve.

    And IT thing..the point I discussed here is not my personal imagination,but a conclusion that I arrived at after speaking to a couple of my school friends,actually.They state it cool,that they have been benchedat their companies and when questioned about electronics or mechanical, the steadfast reply that you get is, "I have just escaped them,You want me to fall into it all over again ??".I am not blaming anybody but such is the attitude,we people develop during the course of our engg studies.

    And,I am very happy to have kindled your nostalgic sense...

    Keep following...

  5. @ Chandru ...

    I agree...
    Its the half-empty and half-full story.

    Yeah,But I realise the skipped oppurtunities,now.As you enter the college as a raw material,you need some kind of processing and polishing to recognise and identify you, which can be provided,only by the Institution.That ignition can be achieved only by good teaching and able mentoring.For example,there was a DSP lab-kit and PSoC stuff in the Electronics lab,but no one went near it(except LOP fellas and you have a fair idea of the LOPs being done here) because there's absolutely no one to atleast introduce you to the kits.

    And,Yeah there are self-motivated chaps but exceptions will never be examples.

    And,Ranjan is a great teacher, Undoubtable but I never had a personal stint with him.So...Possibly he didn't come up to my mind when I was writing this.

  6. Good post lugo.

    Our society always likes people who sacrifice. But the question is whether the person who is actually sacrificing is liking it. In the current scenario, to be a good teacher you need to SACRIFICE. To be a good teacher, you need to work more than what you are paid for. (Working more than what you are paid for is a sacrifice). Only if you have a passion in a field, you will be willing to work more in that field although you are paid less.

    The problem just boils up to MONEY & RECOGNITION. A B.E graduate, will earn 30K if he is with the IT industry. If he goes for teaching, he will be paid 8K. Everyone should accept the fact that money is definitely important in life. No one wants to work for free. In this scenario, how will there be an inclination towards teaching? A person might be a great teacher but he would not choose it as his profession since he knows he wont be paid well and he would not get the recognition he deserves. Very few people take teaching as a passion. For many teachers, teaching has become their profession since it was forced on them or they did not have any other choice.

    The "good teachers" which you have mentioned are people who really had a great passion to teach and they were not bothered about money.

    Last time when I went to campus I had a small personal chat with DMK and BMD.

    DMK had a great passion towards teaching. After his M.Tech, he joined the industry and in six months he got a promotion to a very high post since he was simply too good in the field. But at that time, he resigned his job, went to do his PhD & became lecturer. For this, you need passion for teaching. No normal human will leave a job(in which he is doing great) and become a lecturer unless he has the passion to do it.

    I was asking BMD if he is really happy with his job. His answer was simple. If I go to the industry now, I will be earning more than twice as much as what I am earning now. But I wont get the job satisfaction that I get over here. This is passion towards teaching. I would definitely say both these profs are really good at teaching.

    But how many of us will actually be willing to do this. I sure many other people sitting in the industry have the ability to teach very well. But the drive to make them teach is not there since you don't get the money & recognition.

    I am not giving any solution here. I just feel this could be the reason for not having many good teachers in India.

  7. Well I would like to share few questions which came to my mind when i thought about our teachers!

    1)Should we respect a teacher even if u dont understand what he/she teaches?

    I have had many experiences where in I realized that once u start respecting them, and put in a bit more effort, they seem to sound sense when they teach!

    2)What is there in the "degree" of your teacher!

    I know many teachers with a BE. degree who are better than few PHD.s

    3)How many of us would like it, if a teacher gives hell a lot of assignments because he/she thinks that it will help u in understanding the things better?

    I have seen a pilani student feeling bad for how much he/she hated a prof. who used to give lot of assignments, when he/she realized that those had actually helped him/her in the industry.

    4)"Those who CAN, DO!
    Those who CAN't, TEACH!"
    I heard it in some movie! This left me thinking, whether u can blame some1, who has gone to work in the field of his specilaisation, instead of teaching.

    Very squandered thoughts!:)
    Not to prove any1 wrong! :P

  8. good one buddy.....I would also add a few of my thoughts on this....I had seen a prof @ NIT patna(if i am not wrong) whose doing his BE, ME & PHD from IIT, STAN & MARYLAND rly had come back to do some good to the country....I am sure 99.9% of india would not know him and i am sure he would had been much more useful to the world in general had he been working in some foreign university....We, as a nation, tend to disrespect ourselves and suspect that something is wrong with this guy...otherwise why the hell is he going to come back leaving aside all the great fortune that he cud have made in us....We have to change from grass root level