Thursday, January 27, 2022
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Indian students are politically active & socially mindful to demand their rights

Jawaharlal Nehru University students met a panel of HRD ministry officials, days after the clashes with Delhi Police personnel, and told the officials about the brutal police action. Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) office-bearers were given enough time by HRD ministry officials, the students spoke at length about the Vice-Chancellor of the university being unavailable and unresponsive to their needs. The JNU students have been protesting for over three weeks against a draft hostel manual, which has provisions for hostel fee hike, dress code and curfew timings. The HRD Ministry had constituted the three-member committee to recommend ways to restore normal functioning of the JNU. Amid of JNU row, IIT aspirants held a protest at Jantar Mantar to protest against the 900 per cent hike in fees for M. Tech courses announced by the council of IITs last week. The protest organised under the aegis of All India Engineering Student Council has demanded revocation of the M. Tech fee hike. The agitators said that a sudden hike like this is not at all acceptable and the students lack clarity regarding their future due to job crisis in the country.

It is also seen as an excess burden on the serious students, which count to 50 per cent of the total admitted students, who say the government cannot be ignorant towards those who want to pursue their career through M. Tech. The primary advantage an IITian has over foreign graduates or MBA’s from IIMs is that they start their career with little or no education loan. This gives them flexibility to choose careers.  Low paying core-engineering jobs, unconventional paths like startups or a PHD. But now they have to start with a burden of Rs 8-10 lakhs to begin with. And by the time they graduate, it will become Rs 12-15 lakhs. This means more pressure to get a job quickly, whether it is aligned with your long terms goals or not. Before getting into whether we should charge the student such a premium amount or not, we should look at whether he will be getting anything worth Rs 2 lakhs per annum.

After 2 years of rigorous hard work and probably spending a fortune on coaching institutes, a student assumes that he will be studying in a world-class institute that will inspire his intellectual mind, help him learn skills and improve his standard of living. But when he comes to the place, he gets to know the reality. The best institute for engineering in India is not good enough. The professors lack presentation/teaching skills and the course structure is outdated. The institute fails to develop a spark in the student’s mind. The student further gets to know from his seniors that his field of study doesn’t have jobs and it is better to learn Coding/data analytics /finance or go for a MBA. His motivation to study is killed. He knows that companies will hire him only for his Analytical and communication skills and his field of study has nothing to do with his career. It is then only the matter of surviving the courses and graduating out of the institute for him.

Hostel rooms are small, about 100 sqft and in first two years you might have double occupancy in such a small room. Shared bathroom and toilets, no need to mention how clean they are. Lab facilities are not up to the mark, 30-35 people learning the operation of lathe machine at a time. Only 5-6 of them can see the entire operation. Rest just passes the time and this is the case with most Labs.

Professors are not even half as good as they are supposed to be. Professors lack teaching skills/Presentation skills. Grading system is not conducive to learning.

M.Tech and B. Tech term projects are joke. All in all it is not a world-class technical education. Instead of teaching Matlab , Pro-E and Ansys, they are still teaching how to draw bond graphs. Little industry exposure, few tie-ups with foreign universities and practically no student exchange programs. Only thing good is high-speed Internet connection, which enables people to learn everything by themselves. But IIT graduates get hefty packages, why do they need subsidised education? First of all, let us know IIT graduates start with salaries between 6 to 9 lakhs. It is higher than other graduates but not exceptional.

Those who get higher salaries go to coding related jobs (not necessary CS department only). These guys are self-learned. Institute has little role to play in teaching them. Be it learning new Coding Language/Algorithms or learning new software, they do it themselves. They are successful only because of their hard work and institute has no right to brag about their salaries and expect higher fees. The only thing institute provide them is IIT tag and Internet connection, period. Other high paying companies come for finance, analyst, and data analytics roles. They take students for their analytical skills not for what they learned here. So the idea that IITians get high paying job because of the subsidised education is wrong. When you read in newspapers about IITians making a driver less car or Humanoid robots, it is mostly student-initiated project. Funded by their own parents or some partners found through their own contacts. Institute does nothing. Rat race for high paying jobs has increased. We might probably see more suicides. Core engineering sector will be neglected. People willing to go for a Ph. D might work for a mediocre job to pay their student loans. Liability is not a good thing for a budding entrepreneur. Those who were supposed to bring change will more likely become corporate slaves. People especially youth has too much expectations from Modi government, but somehow there is constant attack on universities in the form of fees hike, hostel rent hike or involving political interest by creating unrest. The youth of our country is future of our nation and it’s high time that the government needs to address their problems without crippling universities.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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