Monday, February 14, 2011

Futile effort it was

Three years post IIT I can say IIT didn't match our requirements academically and the jobs that we are pursuing these days are totally mismatched with the curriculum IIT had. We rarely use the complex engineering intellect that we are asked to showcase in our exams for the IIT. If the market demands that students develop a much more broad based approach towards pursuing their career paths so be it. We have to ensure the best and the most recognized institutes don't get too rigid with the courses and guidance they provide. Agreed institutes like IIT are meant mostly for engineering but we should not forget that these are the only world class univs that we have in India. The whole point is IIT sucks the brightest from the society so it has a responsibility to get the best out the best students that it has been able to exploit. The student themselves get attracted to the best opportunities so IITs have to ensure that they receive world class education and should not worry too much even if they have to move away from the regular engineering stuff. If somebody is interested in finance let me pursue financial engineering, maths, CS etc courses, if somebody is interested in sales/analytics give him the relevant optionals and so on and so forth. True there will be a lot of debate of what the role of IIT is but the fact of the matter is if they waste their precious college time in unnecessary irrelevant departmental core subjects which they are anyways going to leave behind them in the future give them the stuff they need they want they require. But for that to happen we need professors who understand this, IIT alumni to shape up the process of reform, students to be more responsible and the industries should play their part too.
I realize the above when I work in a global team and at the age of 25 I compare myself with people in my team of similar ages but from different backgrounds and different parts of the world. I find myself wanting in front of them not because of my competency but the education system that I've been a part of. The limited exposure and lack of choices in our curriculum, the lack of practicality in the education we impart at crucial stages in student's life, the lack of understanding and planning of the career paths among students. We have to change the way it is right now at the undergrad level atleast. IITs have to take initiatives. We have to link what the industry requires, what the students should know and what we teach at our premier colleges or otherwise we would be found wanting competing at the global level.
The experience in the corporate world has made me realize how unimportant the courses were that I pursued all along, how irrelevant and time-wasting process it was, why fighting for grades wasn't the best option. Its disappointing to say that it was all a futile aimless exercise just to keep things the way they are. Its a wasted effort of so many years, its painful, stressful and of no use. India has to go a long way for me till its education adds meaning to lives.