Sunday, September 09, 2012

Recruiters scrapping aptitude tests – A good sign?

(This is something that I wrote long back...but never got it published anywhere. So, just posting it here. )

Science educators across the country have been discussing the need to improve the Indian educational standards, particularly calling attention to the “pattern recognition” type of training in the current educational system1.  Researchers have been calling the need to inculcate ‘irreverence’ in science education2, 3. However, it is not only the educational and research institutes that play a role in setting the standards of the graduates. Students’ motivation to learn, apply and achieve are, in part, inspired from the recruiters. Particularly with the engineering colleges, majority of the students aim to get placed in the IT companies. Thus the IT companies, or any other recruiting company for that matter, play an important role in setting the standards as to what to expect from graduates. In this line, the aptitude tests that these recruiting companies conduct as a form of screening the potential candidates has been helping to set the necessary levels of ‘thinking’ that a graduate should possess. Whether these aptitude tests are indeed up to the standards is a question of separate debate and discussion though.  The recent news article that appeared in Hindu ( shows a policy change towards what recruiting companies want from students. The news article says that the companies are looking for “consistent performers”. A consistent performer from our current educational system is one who has successfully been able to recognize patterns among words and numbers and was able to reproduce it effectively without error in exams. Moreover, this initiative is also a bias against the ‘late bloomers’. There can be no reason to discriminate the late bloomers against ‘consistent performers’. Such initiatives do not facilitate the goals that educators and researchers are aiming to set up. Recruiting companies should realize their role in education and devise recruiting strategies based on discussions and views from educators and researchers. With a long-term vision, recruiting companies along with academicians can, and have the ability, to transform Indian educational system and hence the society as a whole. 


1.            Mohanan, K.P. (2010) Entrance examinations for science and technology. Curr. Sci. 99:1321.
2.            Mashelkar, R.A. (2010) Irreverence and indian science. Science. 328:547.
3.            Balaram, P. (2010) Irreverence and advancement. Curr. Sci. 98:1155-1156.

A misconception

A major misconception that I am currently seeing is that people, in general, think that those in the teaching profession know "everything".

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


The days are new, fresh and lively. Music sounds more euphonic. The stillness of silence is enjoyable. The stillness in the air brings ecstasy. Six years now. And my mind is not preoccupied only now. Maybe this is what is called peace. :-) 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Uniform Syllabus

I was wondering if in UG colleges we were told/helped realize the relevance and the interconnect of each modules we study. My guess would be everyone would say no. Unlike in PG programmes, students in UG programmes (engineering) do not have much flexibility in choosing modules. The modules and its contents are decided by an "expert" committee which are then "handed down" to faculty members. Since it is a "handed down" structure, I doubt if the faculty members would ever know why a particular chapter was included in the syllabus, or why it was not - without which (s)he cannot pass on the intended purpose. While the goal of having uniform education is laudable, I think it has such practical constraints which severely impact the quality. (Of course, this is relevant to the TN situation...not sure how it applies elsewhere.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

India Rising

Check out the latest issue of science for an exclusive interview with the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Singh. (Click here for the interview and here news focus.)
What really captured my attention was this statement of his:
"unless one is optimistic, one is overwhelmed by the dimension of the development task that we have to accomplish"
 And check out what he has to say on the nuclear energy issue as well! 

Friday, February 10, 2012


Fear gripped the bones during Math classes in the primary/high school. Algebra and Muliplication tables - Oh Man! How do we remember all those formula and numbers? But there seems to be new and easy ways of understanding/learning these! Check out the videos below.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Longest Straw

Am sure each one of us wrote this definition for 2 marks in one of our examinations:

The movement of a liquid along the surface of a solid caused by the attraction of molecules of the liquid to the molecules of the solid is called capillary action.
(Am sure many of us used solid and liquid interchangeably.)

Honestly, how many of us were able to fully grasp the importance of this phenomena? There of course were several examples cited in the text book and some of them that I recall are oil rising in the wick, drying towels, transpiration in plans. Although these examples were supposed to enhance our understanding, the million dollar question is whether it enhanced understanding or increased the burden of memorising.

When I came across the below video, I could immediately understand and appreciate what a capillary force is...and all the examples I memorized made sense! So, what is the difference? Why couldn't I grasp and appreciate capillarity from the book as much as I did after watching the video? The primary reason, I think, is because here (video) they have used a practical day-to-day activity to explain the concept. Further, the practical way of explaining, that is showing it "in action" further interests and keeps the mind involved unlike the bookish texts.

Let us think and create more such videos!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Forever Dependent?

Are we going to be forever-dependent on others? When are we going to harness our own potential and be self-dependent?

The above news irritates me.