Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Whats wrong with JU?

From today's Telegraph - JU (as in Jadavpur University - my Alma mater) administration claims -

"Most of our courses meet international academic standards. We must be more ambitious and target students from the US and Europe."

Are you kidding me?

JU would be JU -

As long as "sem" would just mean the final examination in student lingo.
If you ask anyone on campus "sem kobe?" (roughly translated as - when is the semester starting?) the invariable answer would be the end term exam dates.

As long as browsing the catalogue would be closest to the books a student can get in the library.

As long as the computers are there for display only - students wont be trusted enough to let them use those.

As long as the they believe in "every student is born equal" so should be taking the same courses.

As long as the departmental web pages use the same bland template with an alphabetic listing of faculties names.
A name is just a name unless there is other relevant information!

As long as the administrative guy you want to meet would not be "in his seat" or "busy" sipping tea and gossiping.

As long as research means recycling other people's results - at least for a majority.

As long as political affiliation would be the main criteria in recruiting.

Undergrad education in JU is good - in fact we had one of the best undergrad Physics program in the country - which placed students in top institutes/ universities all over the country and abroad - and Engineering was second only to IIT's. Its not that students in US on an average are much brighter - on the contray they are not. But until one has a fair idea about the education system in US or Europe - how flexible it is and how much respect students get - these claims are simply audacious!


tuktuki said...

just a minor clarification, JU is following the semester system since the last two years. So, semester exams would involve internal assessments, mid-terms, and end terms et all for any student since all of the above carry some weightage as far as their GPA is concerned. And students are equally concerned about all of those exams that have to be taken.

dipthought said...

Thats probably true for humanities - which I am afraid I dont know much about - since I left JU in 2003.

But for Engineering/Science - which have been follwing what I would call a pseudo-"semester system" for years now - continuous evaluations or mid term examinations with sufficient weightage are just a myth - everything boils down to the end sem examinations - thats why "sem" starts and ends with that exam in student mindset!


In engineering we have had the sem system for long...but even then the admin's claim of meeting "international academic standards" is quite a stretch. Principally because, as you point out, the woeful technological infra-structure.

In 1999 (I dont know if this has changed), at 5:00 right when in the middle of coding, a message would come from the server:---Systm shutting down in 2 minutes....). WTF ! In the Comp Sc department, all machines are shut off at 5 in the afternoon like government clerks.....pathetic !

tuktuki said...

another clarification please, nope, computers do not shut down at 5 pm anymore, didn't know they did that in the first place...of course, i speak from my experience in the humanities in the post 1999 time period.

dipthought said...

Thanks Arnab for pointing it out.
Forget JU - in a premiere research institute like Saha Inst of Nuclear Physics had student computers shutting off at 6 pm.And add to that JU library closes at 8 pm.The basic problem is they dont trust the students enough - and until they do that, students wont feel responsible either.And the irony is - I have seen non teaching employees treating students with much better respect in some of the so called not so progressive states!

Debashree - may be things are slightly different in humanities -that is actually nice - but they did not look that impressive in the rest of the campus even in last December.Its less about the available facilities than the mindset.