EDUCATION TRIBUNE Tuesday, February 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India

‘Academitis’ killing intellect
By Rajesh Sharma
igging into the foundational rationale of academic refresher courses, one may run into layers. There is the advertised layer, and then there are the others. The advertised layer can be sighted in statements of objectives: acquaintance with the latest developments in one’s area of teaching; review of one’s teaching practices; an opportunity to think laterally; re-motivation etc.

Should students evaluate teachers?
By Kulwinder Sandhu
andit Jawaharlal Nehru said a university stands for humanism, tolerance, reason, adventure, ideas and search for truth. Perhaps, he had in his mind learned professors working and not the huge buildings or beautiful gardens in the campus.

Studies abroad: are there any government scholarships for SC/ST students?

Admission deadline

Why do we say that?
By hook or by crook




Academitis’ killing intellect
By Rajesh Sharma

Digging into the foundational rationale of academic refresher courses, one may run into layers. There is the advertised layer, and then there are the others. The advertised layer can be sighted in statements of objectives: acquaintance with the latest developments in one’s area of teaching; review of one’s teaching practices; an opportunity to think laterally; re-motivation etc.

Corrupted beyond recovery by excessive academic abuse, the word “refresh” has finally given up the ghost. The spirit has departed, and the letters hang dank and withered like leaves. The primary specific implication that as a teacher I need refreshing is simply too painful. It hurts vanity. Not that modesty is absent, but it sure isn’t spilling over either.

Often then, a refresher course is received as a paid holiday in a sanatorium, a time to doze and booze, with its compulsory regimen of indoctrination — the forced ingestion of a handful of ill-digested intellectual fads normally thrown up the moment the dispenser has turned his back. Only after you have attended a refresher course can you comprehend how seriously and chronically most teachers are afflicted by an obscure allergy to professional refreshing. And the nasty environment, getting nastier by the day, only aggravates the affliction.

At a recent course, one of my colleagues tearfully begged the course coordinator to be delivered from “this academitis”. The poor woman, who had just concluded her inspirational discourse on the virtues of academic refresher courses, smiled and smiled and looked utterly disconsolate. No one before had voiced his apprehensions about the course so prematurely and boorishly. It was inauspicious.

She nonetheless rose to the occasion like a veteran and peered into every abashed eye. With the silence that followed, an unholy alliance was negotiated, signed and sealed. All agreed to suffer together, to lend one another their shoulder to cry on. It would be a pure sacrifice, with no priest!

And so time began to drag. Superlative poverty of intellect and pedagogy moved arrogantly in a procession of overdone pageants. Mediocrity reigned supreme to be officially archived as excellence. One decade of compulsory academic refresher courses has spawned a school of resource persons among whom the majority have been devoutly parroting the same discourses to consecutive groups of participants year after year. Even the introductory fumes and concluding whimpers are at times indistinguishable.

A retired professor, after gratefully suffering a prolonged introduction as “an internationally renowned authority on Shakespeare,” read out a paper that he claimed was his very recent work. During lunch, the participant put their heads together and mutually confirmed that he had made the claim for the same paper a year before and at different staff college. Another resource person, having taken it into his head that college teachers needed a diet of grammar, chirpily spent three hours reading clauses from a book and copying them on the blackboard. His marvelous resourcefulness was only surpassed a few days later by another who, giving cheaply tuneful readings from his shoddy translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets, endeavoured hard to elicit a few words of gushing praise from the ladies.

What he achieved, instead, was clear universal disapproval, nay, disgust, so that in the following session he conveniently abandoned what he had set out to do and proceeded with an impromptu sermon on the contemporary meaning of dharma. In a shining display of metaphysical wit he gravely described the Constitution as one of the sacred shastras and exhorted us to shape our lives in deference to this timeless book.

Not all persons, though, turn into muscle-flexing and foul-mouthed porters under the load of learning. Indeed, they become lighter and brighter. The best resource persons were clearly those who didn’t derive their weight from the label of “resource person”, who didn’t try to be seen as possessing any special knowledge but felt, like children feel, that they had found something exciting and ought to share it — a sense of discovery, an exploratory outlook, an aesthetic transaction, even a few moments of frank, honest conversation.

They were, obviously, few; but they were the persons who could have got better audiences and yet had come to talk to us. They had not stooped to earn money, nor climbed atop a shaking pole to dance to someone’s tune and shout down at others. And they did not ferociously defend their perceptions like poor fanatics who have nothing more to hang on to.

Unfortunately, even they showed little inclination to engage with the most pressing issues of living and teaching today. How easily the academic life castrates the intellect. Intellectual adulthood gets reduced to sucking the confectionery of shop-lifted theories and licking the walls of ivory towers. They will cheerfully discuss the techniques of teaching language and literature, but are not prepared to question whether what we do in the classrooms makes much sense and whether what we are doing is really the best we can among our students. It is a dreadful barrenness; questions are simply not being conceived.

Ideally, the academic staff colleges should be the places where we can bring together what we have learnt from teaching in the classrooms and then find out what best we can do in order to help the students do their best. With the expertise and the fruits of research made available by the resource persons, we can attempt to devise better educational practices. What happens, instead, is that the refresher courses are reduced to sentences to be undergone in order to earn a promotion in grades. Non-monetary benefits are extremely rare and derive strictly from personal transmission on the one end and receptivity on the other.

By a fair estimate, the refresher courses for college and university teachers in India consume Rs 100 million annually. Since the institution has entrenched itself into the system that survives chiefly on inertia, there is no evidence of any inclination to examine either its efficiency or its usefulness.


Should students evaluate teachers?
By Kulwinder Sandhu

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said a university stands for humanism, tolerance, reason, adventure, ideas and search for truth. Perhaps, he had in his mind learned professors working and not the huge buildings or beautiful gardens in the campus.

But today, most academicians who have turned administrators, have begun to treat teachers as teaching machines and feel that the standard of teaching has come down. Having this kind of a perception with a negative cognitive process, they come forward to recommend various ethics, evaluation methods and pay structures.

The process of teaching at the higher level is more complex and many more innovative methods of teaching have come into existence. No teacher can ever give a guarantee that the learner will be provided with a specific job in the future. The teacher has to use all his patience and talent to teach ‘those’ students. Under these circumstances, the committee appointed for recommending pay aspects to the teachers seem more concerned in prescribing codes and ‘ethics’ to teachers, than doing the assigned job of recommending pay structure.

Evaluation is the process, whereby the work done by an employee is assessed by a competent person, who has experience in that specific field. Normally in the offices, clerks get promotion by passing tests or move to a higher cadre by seniority. Promotion, which provides higher responsibility, require passing of tests or examinations.

But time-bound advancements, which do not provide higher authority or responsibility, are purely provided by seniority within the specific period. Time-bound advancements are not stitched with any additional code or tests. It is a pity that teachers who are treated as ‘royal professionals’ are not given any authority.

A time-bound promotion of a collector is not governed by the opinion survey conducted among the general public; a career advancement of a police officer is not related to the assessment collected among the people in his jurisdiction. The selection grade or a special grade of a Telecom Officer is not bound by the opinion collected from telephone subscribers; the promotion of a bank manager is not determined by the evaluation report of all the customers of that bank.

Now, the teachers are asked to be evaluated by the taught. The so-called ‘educational advisors’ feel the declining trend in the field of education and are very anxious to prescribe the evaluation of teachers by their students. They do not know the ground realities and the impact of the evaluation of the teachers by the taught. The behaviour of the learner, who is in the age of adolescence cannot, be predicted. Top


Studies abroad: are there any government scholarships for SC/ST students?

Q Is it true that airlines charge a hefty fee for recruiting pilots?

Ramneek Dulara

A Sure. some airlines do. Particularly if they are recruiting trainee pilots for flying advanced aircrafts.

For instance, Indian Airlines (IA) estimates the total cost of training at roughly Rs. 18.5 lakhs for Jr. Trainee Pilots and Rs. 14.5 lakh for Sr. Trainee Pilots.

But don’t worry. This "hefty" amount will be recovered from you on only after your placement as First Officer in IA in 60 equal monthly instalments.

Moreover, selected candidates who have the requisite CPL, and Flight Radio Operator’s Licence, Instrument Rating on Multi-engine Aircrafts etc. are required to execute a bond to complete the training satisfactorily and serve the airlines initially for a period of at least 10 years on being absorbed as Second Officer and subsequently as First Officer.

Of course you will be paid a stipend of Rs. 8,000/- p.m. during the training and will be confirmed in the pay scale of Rs. 6200 - 8025 plus generous perks.

Q Having actively participated in plays at school and college, I would like to take up acting as a career. But how will I survive in the meanwhile? Delhi is an expensive city and I have no godfather there. Should I just take up a job and forget about the whole thing?

Aniket Nirula, Chandigarh

A If you are so passionate about acting, it need not be an "either-or" situation. Genuine talent needs no godfather. It has way of asserting itself sooner or later provided you are ready to work hard at it.

Obviously, you need to work to be able to survive in a city like Delhi. Take up any reasonably well paying job that comes your way. Delhi provides ample opportunities to dabble in amateur theatre. Which is what you should be concentrating on at this stage.

Just visit the Mandi House area (the veritable hot-bed of Delhi theatre): Sri Ram Centre, Kamani Auditorium, NSD, LTG etc and scan their notice boards. You will find a number of theatre groups (we have some excellent ones in Delhi) announcing their plays and audition notices. Contact them to find out about auditioning for their forthcoming productions.

All said and done, its’ difficult to earn your bread and butter from theatre alone. Although acting on the small screen (TV) is more remunerative, you’ve got to be damn good. And working with a good theatre group will give you the necessary grounding and confidence. Having a job on the side will provide the necessary cushion. So go ahead and give it a serious try. And don’t forget to send me a pass when your first production hits the stage. Remember: Nothing ventured, nothing winned!

Q I’m in Class XII. Could you please tell me about the institutions offering BE/BTech in Biomedical Engineering or Industrial Biotechnology?

Tapan Baruah, Ludhiana

A Biomedical Science and Technology is an interdisciplinary field that bridges life sciences and engineering. The course includes study of biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, biotech principles of design, materials science, biomechanics and life sciences.

A Bioengineer or a Biomedical Engineer applies mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and evaluation of biological and health systems and products such as instrumentation, diagnostic aids, life-support systems, medical info systems, artificial organs, prosthetics and orthotic devices, health management and health care delivery systems.

The following institutions offer BE/BTech in Biomedical Engineering or Industrial Biotechnology:

* University College of Engineering (autonomous, affiliated to Osmania Univ), Hyderabad 500007. Course: Biomedical Engineering.

* KLE Society’s College of Engineering & Technology (affiliated to Visveswaraiah Technological Univ), Udyambagh, Belgaum 590008. Course: Biomedical Engineering.

* Manipal Institute of Technology (affiliated to Visveswaraiah Technological Univ), Manipal 576119. Course: Biomedical Engineering.

* Model Engineering College (affiliated to Cochin Univ of Science & Tech), BMC PO Thrikkakara, Ernakulam 682021. Course: Biomedical Engineering.

* Dwarkadas J Sanghvi College of Engineering (affiliated to Univ of Mumbai), Plot No. U-15, JVPD Scheme, Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai 400056. Course: Biomedical Engineering.

* Mahatma Gandhi Mission’s College of Engineering & Technology (affiliated to Univ of Mumbai), AE Junction of NH4 and Sion-Panvel Expressway, Kamothe, Navi Mumbai 410209. Course: Biomedical Engineering.

* Thadomal Shahani Engineering College (affiliated to Univ of Mumbai), PG Kher Road, TPS III, Off Linking Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400050. Course: Biomedical Engineering.

* Anna University, Sardar Patel Road, Guindy, Chennai 600025. Course: Industrial Biotechnology.

* Bharathidasan Institute of Engineering & Technology (affiliated to Bharathidasan Univ), Tiruchirappalli 620024. Course: Bioengineering & Technology.

* The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721302. Course: 51/2-year Integrated MTech (Biotech). Eligibility: Pass in 10+2 with PCMB. Selection is through IIT-JEE.

Q I have completed graduation. Could you please tell me about the universities in and around Delhi offering LLB for those with below 50% aggregate in graduation?

Dev Prakash, Delhi

A The following universities offer LLB courses for those with below 50% aggregate in graduation. However, do crosscheck with concerned institutions to be doubly sure.

* Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra 136119, Haryana.

* Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak 124001, Haryana.

* Himachal Pradesh University, Summer Hill, Shimla 171005.

* University of Allahabad, Allahabad 211002, U.P.

* Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, U.P.

* Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kalyanpur, Kanpur 208024, U.P.

* University of Lucknow, Badshah Bagh, Lucknow 226007, U.P.

* Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur 342001, Rajasthan.

* Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University, Ajmer 305001, Rajasthan.

* University of Rajasthan, Gandhi Nagar, Jaipur 302004.

Q I am a graduate working as a store assistant in a private company. Can you please suggest a correspondence course in Materials Management?

Sandeep Yadav, Faridabad

A A diploma in Materials Management is offered through correspondence at the following institutions:

* Annamalai University, Directorate of Distance Education, Annamalai Nagar 608002. Duration: 1-year. Eligibility: Graduation.

* Cochin University of Science & Technology, Cochin 682022. Duration: 2 years. Eligibility: Graduation.

* Punjabi University, Patiala 147002. Duration: 2 years. Eligibility: Graduation with work experience.

* Indian Institute of Materials Management, 406, Kaliandas Udyog Bhavan, Century Bazar Lane, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400025. Eligibility: Graduation.

* Indian Institute of Materials Management, 247, Raheja Arcade, Koramangala, Bangalore 560095. Duration: 3 years. Eligibility: Graduation (55% aggregate) with 2-year work experience in materials-related areas.

* Institute of Management Technology, Raj Nagar, Hapur Road, Post Box 137, Ghaziabad 201001. Duration: 1-year. Eligibility: Graduation.

* Institute of Personnel Management & Industrial Relations, SCO 268, Sector 35-D, Chandigarh 160022. Duration: 1-year. Eligibility: 10+2.

Pervin Malhotra, tribune’s career expert, answers all your career queries.

Q I am a graduate belonging to the reserved category. I am keen on pursuing my higher studies abroad. Are there any government scholarships for SC/ST students?

Sanjay Kumar, Panchkula

A The Government of India has taken a series of initiatives for the educational empowerment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students. These include reviving their earlier scheme for studying overseas. The National Overseas Scholarship for scheduled castes, tribes and `nomadic’ and `semi-nomadic’ communities has been revived after a gap of nearly three years. The scheme will benefit 30 such students who wish to pursue higher studies abroad in science and technology.

For further information contact: Section Officer (SCD-V), M/o Social Justice & Empowerment, Room No. 240, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi 110001.



Admission deadline

Armed Forces

Feb 26 Indian Air Force, Central Airmen Selection Board, Post Box No. 11807, New Delhi-110 010.


Airman in Technical (Matric) Trades

Elig: Matriculation or equiv (60%) with English, Maths & Science

Age: Born bet: 1 Aug ‘82-1 Jun ‘85.

Appln Format: Employment News: 27 Jan-2 Feb.


Feb 28 Indian Airlines Ltd., Airlines House, 113, Gurudwara Rakabganj Rd, New Delhi 110001.

Senior Trainee Pilots

Tainee Pilots

Elig: (1): 10+2. BSc (PCM) or (H) OR DGCA Approved Flight Despatcher or Flight Navigation OR Flight Engg Licence preferred with following Technical Certificates valid on 15 Feb: CPL; Flight Radio Telephone Operator’s Licence; COP/RTR; Medical; Jet endorsement (500 hours) (750 Hours preferred) on 5750 Kg aircraf; Instrument rating on Multi-engine aircraft.

(2): Same as (1) with following Technical Certificates valid on 15 Feb: CPL; Flight Radio Telephone Operator’s Licence; COP/RTR; Medical; Instrument rating on multi-engine aircraft; Multi-engine land: with min 25 hrs.

Age: (1 & 2): 30 yrs (SC/ST: 35 yrs; OBC: 33 yrs) on 1 Jan, 2001.

Selction: (1) & (2): Written test followed by GD & Interview

Details & Appln Format: See leading newspapers.

Civil Services

Feb 26 Union Public Service Commission, Post Bag No. 2, Dholpur House, New Delhi-110 001.


Engineering Services Examination, 2001.




Electronics & Telecommunication

Exam: 16 June at various centres.

Appl F: Available at designated Head Post Office/Post Offices all over India.

Elig, D Info & Syllabus: Employment News: 27 Jan-2 Feb.


Mar 02 Sinhgad Instt. of Management (Affil to: Univ of Pune), 44/1, Vadgaon (Budruk), Off Sinhgad Road, Pune 411041

Ph: 020-4356592

Master’s in:

Computer Applications (MCA) (3 yrs)

Computer Management (MCM) (2 yrs)

Personnel Management (MPM) (2 yrs)

Elig: (1): Bachelor’s degree (50%) (with Maths at +2) (Reserved Category from Maha: 45%)

(2): Bachelor’s degree (45% agg) (Reserved Category from Maha: 40%)

(3): Bachelor’s degree (50% agg) OR Bachelor’s degree with 2 yr work experience.

Written Test: (1, 2 & 3): 4 Mar followed by GD & PI. ATMA-(AIMS) qualified exempted from written test.

Appln F: Send Rs. 450/- by DD favouring "Sinhgad Instt. of Management" payable at Pune or Rs. 400/- in cash at counter.


Feb 19 SP Jain Institute of Mgt & Research, Munshi Nagar, Dadabhai Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai 400058

Ph: 022-6237454 / 0396 / 2401. E-mail:

PG Programme in Family Managed Business (18 mths)

Appln F: Send by e-mail or contact: Prof Parimal Merchant/Dr Anita.

Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, PO Gurukula Kangri, Hardwar 249404, UP.

Apr 07 1) MBA (2 yrs)

Apr 30 2) MBF (2 yrs)

3) MBE (2 yrs)

Elig: For (1-3): Graduate TDC (50%) (SC/ST/GKV Grads: 45%)

Age: 20-yrs on 30 Sept.

Appln F: Send Rs. 140/- ((Sponsored/NRI: Rs. 280/-) by DD favouring "Registrar, Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Hardwar" before Apr 20 to the above add. In cash at counter: Rs. 100/- (Sponsored/NRI: Rs. 200/-)

For MBA send to: (Boys): Principal, College of Management Studies at the above add. (Girls): Kanya Gurukul Mahavidyalaya, 47, Sewak Ashram Rd, Dehradun.


Indian Instt. of Science, Bangalore-560 012.

Research Programmes

a) Regular: 1. Science Faculty - PhD

2. Engineering Faculty - PhD & MSc (Engg).

b) Integrated PhD: Biological Sc, Chemical Sc, Physical Sc. & Mathematical Sc

c) External Registration Programme: For candidates sponsored by R & D Organisations/Industry only.

Masters Degree Programmes:

1. ME (11/2 yrs): Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Computer Sc & Engg, Electrical, High Voltage, Mechanical, Metallurgy, Microelectronics, Signal Processing, Systems Science & Automation, Telecomm, Internet Science & Engineering

MTech: (11/2 yrs): Instrumentation, Satellite Tech & Appln, Electronics Design & Tech, Computational Sc.

MDes (2 yrs): Product Design & Engineering.

Appln F: Send Rs. 450/- (SC/ST: Rs. 200/-, attach cert) by DD favourng "Registrar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore" with 2 self-add stickers, stating qualifications and choice of programme to the Assistant Registrar, Admissions Unit at the above add.

At counter: Rs. 450/- (Cash) from following Canara Bank branches:

1) DS Market, Amritsar;

2) Sector 17C, Chandigarh;

3) Residency Rd, Srinagar;

Candidates of Extrnal Registration Programme to write directly to the Asst. Registrar, Admissions Unit at above add along with a DD for Rs. 1,100/- favouring "Registrar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore"

Mar 30 Indian Statistical Instt., 203, B. T. Road, Calcutta-700 035.


BStat (Hons) (3 yrs)

BMaths (Hons) (3 yrs)

MStat (2 yrs)

MS in Quantitative Eco (2 yrs)

MTech in Computer Sc (2 yrs)

MTech in Quality, Reliability & Op. Res (2 yrs)

Jr. Research Fellowships in:

Stats/Maths, Economics, Linguistics, Demography, Comp & Commn Sc, Discrete Maths & Theoretical Comp Sc, Phy & Applied Maths, Anthropology, Sociology, Lib & Info Sc

Associateship in Documentation & Info Sc (2 yrs)

Entrance Test: 13 May.

Appln F: Send Rs. 250/- by DD favouring "Indian Statistical Instt." payable at Calcutta (proper) to the Dean of Studies at above address before 9 Mar. At counter: (cash/DD) from:

1) ISI, 7, SJS Sansanwal Marg, New Delhi 110016

2) ISI, 110, Nelson Manickam Rd, Aminjikarai, Chennai 600029

3) ISI, 8th Mile, Mysore Rd, RV College Post, B’lore 560059.

— CARING (Career Information & Guidance), New DelhiTop



Why do we say that?
By hook or by crook

People who achieve something by hook or by crook do so by strenuous efforts against the odds. The saying originates from the time King William Rufus of England was killed by an arrow in a hunting accident 800 years ago. A peasant who took the body from the forest to the nearest town was rewarded by being allowed to take away any wood he could collect from the woodland provided he used only the laborious means of a shepherd’s crook and a billhook. He persevered, and won a valuable right by doing so.Top