Not by rote alone
Rajiv Shukla
T the height of the controversy over NCERT reforms last year, a rabid reformist, liberated and emancipated lady school principal cited an experiment carried out on Class V students of a nursery school to condemn rote learning.

Groping in the dark tunnel of guides
Inderdeep Thapar
T all started when I was busy purchasing a book and a group of university students descended into the shop and asked for guides for Masters classes. I was perplexed. Guides at Masters level? On further inquiry, Mr Vishaal Arora, owner of the shop revealed that the sales of the guides had jacked up in recent years while those of texts had plummeted.

Not by rote alone
Rajiv Shukla

AT the height of the controversy over NCERT reforms last year, a rabid reformist, liberated and emancipated lady school principal cited an experiment carried out on Class V students of a nursery school to condemn rote learning.

She said the students, huddled in a spacious hall, were asked the following question:

"An Army bus holds 36 soldiers. If 1,128 soldiers are to be transported to their training camp, how many buses would be needed?"

Seventy per cent of the students who took the test did the long division and did it correctly. The following are the answers the students gave to the questions "how many buses are needed?"

29% said... "31and remainder 12"; 18% said "31" and just 23% gave the correct answer- 32". About 30% of children played safe — they just did not, or could not, answer.

I discovered a strong case to plead for the rote learning system in her own argument. I cited the example of those 30% children who played safe and did not attempt or could not do the question. To drive home my point I narrated an episode, or a mishap, that happened with me 15 years ago when my kids were in nursery.

The school where my kids studied (one in Class V and the other in Class III) was pretty far off from our home and we had the school bus to pick them up. The bus, invariably took a zigzag route as it had to pick up several others on the way. Naturally it covered the 15-minute drive in an hour, picking and dropping children all over the city.

One unfortunate day the school principal rang us up in the afternoon to inform us that the bus driver has fallen ill and requested us to pick up the kids. Jittery wife phoned me in the office huffing and puffing ordering me to pick up the kids on my way back home for lunch. When I reached the school my kid’s bus mates said that they had already left for home. Shocked, I rushed back home frantically looking for them all the way. They hadn’t reached home.

Time passed by as we waited for them. By 4 pm our house was in turmoil with my aged mom and kid’s grandma sobbing in muffled voice in one room and my wife frantically ringing up all friends and neighbours. I then decided to inform the police and my wailing wife accompanied me to the nearby police station.

Just them my aged father came running to the police station with a bizarre look — a bewitching mix of shock and ecstasy. "Withdraw the FIR. The kids have arrived," he said. We rushed back home and found the kids with wearied look, sun-burnt faces, sweating profusely.

Asked for the delay, they said they had been walking all the way. The poor souls had, by rote learning, learnt the school-bus route — the long and circuitous one — and so they decided to walk it down.

They did not hire a rickshaw because they didn’t have money and second because mom and grandma had been cautioning them time and again not to go with strangers. They walked 16 km to reach home. The following morning I informed the school principal about the episode, who in turn patted the kids for their courage during the school’s morning prayer meeting, but teased them for not having learnt the shorter route which was just a little over 4 km.


Groping in the dark tunnel of guides
Inderdeep Thapar

IT all started when I was busy purchasing a book and a group of university students descended into the shop and asked for guides for Masters classes. I was perplexed. Guides at Masters level? On further inquiry, Mr Vishaal Arora, owner of the shop revealed that the sales of the guides had jacked up in recent years while those of texts had plummeted.

Guides on the papers of languages, Mathematics and Commerce were especially popular. It became essential to talk to the students for a few years back when I was pursuing my Masters there were no guides on the scene.

Rajesh Awla, a student pursuing Masters in languages explained: "Notes given by teachers are difficult and, frankly, many are not there because of missed lectures so the guides coupled with correspondence notes suffice for examination purposes."

Questioned about the availability of reference books in the library, Anita, another student declared. "They are ample but sitting in the library to make notes is tedious. It is nothing new. We have been consulting guides in college as well and they are pretty okay". "An average 50 per cent can be managed with guides at the Masters level", explained Vikram Singh, "which is respectable".

I decided to get to the root of the malady. Shikha, a BA-1 student explained: "The curriculum in colleges is entirely different from those in schools. When we take up guides we get a fair idea of the format, the required length of the answers and though 60 per cent is not enough which we manage to get through the guides, yet considering the availability of time and the vast syllabus they are not bad."

Maninder, another undergraduate explained: "The teachers do help us by giving us notes and we do read the textbooks, at least once, but with guides around things are much simpler as they are in the question, answer form."

Kamaljit questions: "What is wrong in consulting guides? Our teachers in school taught us from a guide. It was only during one of the sports meet where students from different schools converge that we came to know that the recommended books for boards were NCERT, otherwise we always thought the guides were the recommended ones."

Mrs Harjit Kaur, professor in a local college explains: "The guide culture has become all-pervading and has spread its tentacles in all streams of education and at all levels. It is entirely debasing for the development of intelligence of the child as the need to learn more disappears. The purpose of teaching languages is that the child should develop expression just as the purpose of maths is mental exercise. Both get lost in the tunnel of guides. Guides are successful because most children do graduation out of compulsion for a degree rather than a direction. If they had greater avenues then each would have chosen a course according to his choice and interest in it would have spurred them to learn more."

Yashpal, another professor of English, spoke of the despair of trying to teach Keats to children for whom English is a "foreign" language as their rural roots familiarise them with this language rather late. "For such children guides are the only way out."

Few pertinent questions spring up:

a) What is the purpose of our educational system? Getting decent marks? It is neither creating skilled individuals nor giving them a passport to lucrative jobs. The worst is that it is not even making them probe. A child who has come to believe that all he has to do is to study one book to get decent marks will never go beyond that. More horrific is the board system which questions from prescribed books alone.

Twenty years back our teachers encouraged us to read as many reference books as possible so that one could answer the questions which though connected with the syllabus were asked in such a way that they made us scratch our heads.

A whole generation is thus into "manufactured intelligence" which will eventually clog the spirit of inquiry.

b) Why is the syllabus so vast that an intensive study by the child becomes a pain in the neck? Fewer topics requiring divergent viewpoints by different authors would encourage the analytical bent, besides making the concept clearer.

c) Why are term papers requiring research and carrying marks which are to be included in the grand total not introduced as part of the learning process? Writing of term papers requires an in-depth study and will encourage the child to go to the library or sit on the internet.

d) Why should the teachers dictate their age-old notes rather than letting the child use his brain and effort. She can recommend books. Otherwise as they say give a coin and make him a beggar for life.

e) Most important why school education should not be uniform so that the handicap of "foreign languages" should vanish altogether and the child’s dependence on guides disappear.

f) Last, why cannot the teachers believe that they are on a mission to create thinking, bright individuals and not simply there to finish the syllabus? There are a few exceptions but teaching has become like any other job, to be done and got over with.




Apr 30 National Plant Protection Training Institute, Rajendra Nagar, Hyderabad 500030 (Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine & Storage, GoI)

PG Diploma in Plant Protection

Eligibility (elig): B.Agri (regd with Employment Exch)

Application Form (appln f): Send on paper with name, DoB, Nativity, Add (with pincode), pp photo, etc to the Additional PPA-cum-Director at above add.

Armed Forces

Indian Air Force, PO Box 11807, New Delhi 110010

Airman in Group ‘Y’ Trades

Elig: Matric (50%) with pass marks in Eng. DoB: 1 Aug ‘85-1 Jan ‘89

Selection (selectn): Written Test (Aug/ Sep), Phys fitness test, Interview, med exam.

Details: Employment News (21-27 Feb).

Performing Arts

Mar 26 National Film Archive of India, Law College Rd, Pune 411004

Summer Course in Film Appreciation (May 17 June 12)

Elig: Teachers, film society organisers/ critics/ journalists/ researchers/ Govt Officials handling films and others interested in film studies. Age: 18 yr. (on 1 July ‘03).

Appln F: Send in prescribed format with Rs 200/- by crossed DD favouring "Administrative Officer, NFAI, Pune" to the Director at above add.

Details: Website.


Mar 26 University of Delhi, F/o Technology, Mechanical Engineering Block, Old Delhi College of Engineering Bldg, Kashmere Gate, Delhi 110006

Combined Entrance Exam 2004

(For BE at DCE & NSIT)

Elig: 10+2 (PCM, 60%). Age: 17 yrs (on 1 Oct)

Exam: 30 May.

Appln F: Send Rs 475/- by DD fvg "Registrar, Delhi University, Delhi" drawn on SBI, Service Br, New Delhi (Code: 7687) to the Asstt Registrar at above add by 12 Mar. Write name, add & ph no on reverse of DD. At counter: Rs.400/- (cash) at DU, DCE & NSIT.


Apr 15 Hidayatullah National Law University, HNLU Bhavan, Civil Lines, Raipur 492001 (CG)

BA/ BSc LLB (5 yrs)

Elig: 10+2 (50%). Age: Below 20 yrs (on 1 July).

Test: Entrance Test (15 May)

Appln F: Send 1000/- by DD fvg "The Registrar, Hidayatullah Law University, Raipur (CG)", payable at Raipur.

Details: Website.


Mar 25 Institute of Rail Transport, Room No 17, Rail Bhavan, Raisina Rd, New Delhi 110001

Diploma in Transport Eco & Mgt (1-yr, Dist, Hind/Eng)

Elig: Bachelor’s degree in any subj/ Diploma in Engg.

Appln F: Send Rs 50/- by DD favouring "IRT" payable at New Delhi with stamped (Rs 15/-), self-add env (11" x 5") to the above add. Write your name & add on reverse of DD.

Details: Employment News (21-27 Feb).

Mass Comm

Apr 23 Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, JNU Campus, New Delhi 110067

PG Dip:

1) Journalism (Eng)

2) Journalism (Hin)

3) Radio & TV Journalism

4) Journalism (Oriya)

5) Advertising & PR

(1,2,3 & 5 at Del; 1 & 4 also at Dhenkanal, Orrisa)

Elig: Bachelor’s deg. Dob: 1 Aug’79 or later.

Selectn: Entrance Exam (3rd wk of May) & Interview (1st wk of Jul).

Appln F: Send Rs 250/- by DD fvg "IIMC, New Delhi", drawn on a schdld bank with self-add, stamped (Rs 25/-) env (27 x 17 cms) to above add by Apr 8/ d’load from web.

Details: Employment News (21-27 Feb).


Mar 31 Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, 5th Mile, Tadong, Gangtok

MBBS Elig: 10+2 (PCB; 50%)

Selectn: Entrance Test (UGET 2004) to be conducted by MAHE, Manipal.

Appln F: Send Rs 250/- by DD fvg "Sikkim Manipal Institiute of Medical Sciences", payable at Gangtok to above add/ d’load from website.


Apr 15 B D Bangur Endowment Educational Scholarships (Kolkata/ Mumbai)

Scholarships for Higher Studies Abroad

(For Students pursuing Masters/ Doctoral Courses in Sc, Engg, Humanities, Med, Bus Admin and other professional areas.

Elig: Bachelor’s Degree. (I Div); Age: 19 to 30 yrs:

Appln F: Send bio-data outlining academic achievements, copies of marks sheets, admission letter (if available), attested copy of proof of date of birth, details of existing financial support with self-add, stamped (Rs. 8/-) envelope (15x25cm) to the offices of the Endowment C/o Graphite India Ltd., 31, Chowringhee Road, Kolkata-700016. OR C/o Carbon Everflow Ltd, Bakhtawar (2nd Floor), Nariman Point, Mumbai-400021 by Mar 15.


Mar 26 Central Drug Research Institute, Chattar Manzil Palace, PO Box 173, Lucknow 226001

PhD (at CDRI leading to PhD from JNU) in:

Molec & Struc Biol (incld Molecular Gen), Microbiol, Parasite & Gen Immunol, Biotech Drug Metabolism, Biochem, Macro Molec & Struc Biol, Drug Delivery Sys & Pharmaco-kinetics, Molec Endocrinol, Pharmacol & Physiol, Med/Bio-organic Chem.

Elig: CSIR-NET exam in any br of Sc. Age: Below 28 yrs

Details: Employment News (21-27 Feb)/ website.

Apr 2 Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067

Combined Biotech Entrance Exam (CEEB) 2004-05:

MSc (Biotech)

MSc (Agri)/ MVSc/ MVSc (Biotech)

MTech (Biotech)

Exam: 18 May.

Elig: For 1: Bachelor’s deg (Phys/ Biol/ Agri/ Vet & Fishery Sc, Pharma/ Engg/ Tech)/ BSc (Physician Asst Course)/ MBBS/ BDS (55% agg)

For 2: Refer to notification.

For 3: BE/BTech (Chem/ Biochem /Indl Biotech/Leather Tech/ Bioengg/ Biotech/ Biomed Engg); BPharm; MSc (Life Sc/ Biotech/ Bot/ Zool/ Biochem/ Microbiol/ Genetics/ BioPhys/ Microbial Genetics/ Bioinfo); 60 %

Appln F: Send Rs 160/- by DD fvg "Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi", payable at New Delhi to the Deputy Registrar (CEEB) at above add, with unstamped, self-add env (28 x 20 cm) stating name of program applied for by 31 Mar.

Details: Employment News (21-27 Feb).


Feb 29 Maharshi Dayanand University, Directorate of Distance Education, Rohtak 124001

MCA (Also lateral entry to 2nd/ 3rd yrs)


MSc (Comp Sc)



Details: Contact above add/ nearest study centre.

`A0Apr 7 Cochin University of Science & Technology, Kochi 682022 (Ker)

First Degree Progms: BTech: (Civil Engg/ Comp Sc & Engg/ Elect & Electron Engg/ Electron & Comm Engg/ IT/ Mech Engg/ Fire & Safety); Polymer Sc & Rubber Tech; Instru; Naval Archi & Ship Bldg; 5-yr Integrated MSc (Photonics)

Second Degree Prog: LLB

PG Progs: LLM/ MA/ MBA (FT/PT)/ MBE/ MCA/ MIB/ MSc (App Chem/ Biotech/ Electron Sc/ Environ Tech/ Hydrochem/ Indl Fisheries/ Marine Biol/ Marine Geol/ Marine Geophysics/ Maths/ Meteorol/ Oceanography/ Stats/ Phys)

MTech Progs:

Atmospheric Sc/ Comp Aided Structural Analysis & Des/ Comp & Info Sc/ Electron/ Engg Stats/ Indsl Catalysis/ Ocean Tech/ Opto-Electron & Laser Tech/ Polymer Tech/ Software Engg.


MA Translation (Ger/ Rus)

Cert (PT): Ger/ Rus/Jap/ Fr

Dips: Functional Arabic/ Ger/ Rus/Jap/ Fr

Integrated Dips: Ger/ Rus/Jap/ Fr

PG Dip: Communicative Eng/Translation, Admin Drafting & Reporting in Hindi/ Coir Tech.

MPhil Progs: Appl Eco/ Chem/ Chem Oceanography/ Commerce/ Hindi/ Life Sc/ Photonics/ Phy).

ME By Res (FT/PT)

PhD Progs

Lateral Entry to BTech Progs

Elig: For 1: CAT Regn; For 3-11: DAT Regn.

Details: Website.

Mody Institute of Education & Research (Deemed Univ), Lakshmangarh, Sikar 332311 (Raj)

1) BE/ BTech (Electron & Comm Engg/ Comp Sc & Engg/ IT) and BArch (5 yrs) at various RECs

2) MCA

3) MBA

Elig: For 1: AIEEE ’04

For 2: AIMCET ’04

For 3: MAT (AIMA)

Details: Website.

Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING (, New Delhi Email: Details: