Does age 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬 Intelligence?

Being Intelligent doesn’t mean that the beliefs a person has, will reflect his/ her intelligence. Moreover, Belief is independent of Intelligence. Intelligence may or may not lead people to be more or less believers in weird things. But it might enable people to better defend beliefs in weird things that they started believing in for reasons other than intelligence. This is what I can infer from the recent statement of Mr. Satyapal singh on Theory of evolution and its validity.

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we can believe in something without thinking but we should not believe in Just anything after thinking, i.e. using our own intelligence. we need to think to believe. For that matter, it is primarily intelligence that separates us from the apes and other species of animals.
Therefore, we need to have a sound method to validate our own beliefs periodically. We  need to challenge, contradict and debate these beliefs and present evidences in support of our beliefs. But in absence of such method, these irrational, untested weird beliefs somewhat sink deeper into our ideology, the core of what we believe about life and such fundamental issues. Perhaps that is how dogma evolves! and even seemingly intelligent people fall for it. A belief becomes a dogma or set of conclusions that never gets questioned or not allowed to question. Further, this founded irrationality or dogma takes shape of an ideology/ belief that becomes immune to change.
When such individuals accumulate further knowledge, their ideology and theory becomes ever more well-founded. They develop a sort of confirmation bias as they only refer and/or read what they have come to believe in not the other side. They don’t indulge in open debates, they keep seeing the world from their age old lenses no matter how novel the new information is. This leads to stagnation of intelligence – a dark age.
Thousands of year ago there was a different India. Much liberal, much diverse and much open to new ideas. This was the age where the intelligent Indian had methods to debate and discuss their belief. Sadly we have lost that tradition. not just the tradition i.e process, we have also lost the method i.e. technique. If the oldies and conservatives want to review anything from ancient India they should revive that tradition of debate and discussion.
At present, there is a lot of fear and misunderstanding among the Indians. Fear particularly caused by caste and religion. Sadly there is absolutely no way to dispell this fear because none of the leaders is using his/her intelligence, rather they indulge in glorifying the past as it is without discussing the processes involved. Their arguments stink with ideologies shaped by dogma rather than their intelligence as a result mostly their age fails to represent wisdom.
This trend is worrisome, dangerous and disastrous. Particularly in the context of 21st century’s rapidly changing and rapidly evolving societies. Particularly in politics and governance, we cannot expect such leaders to design policies for the future generation, they are bound to drag us into their version of past. We need to be cognizant of the fact that ignorance and superstition can spread if they gain too much currency, and this can lead to both personal and political disasters. The only way out can be shaped by clear thinking. We need to defend and educate about the art of argumentation, questioning and clear thinking, that will be a real tribute to our ancestors, and a testimony to a fact that we humans are really intelligent beings!

Education sector : What has changed?

[Updated : January 2018]

In India, the Education is treated as a noble occupation on ‘no-profit-no-loss’ basis. This fact is reiterated by the Hon. Supreme court in various Judgments. Thus, those who establish and manage any educational institutions are not expected to indulge in profiteering or commercialize this noble activity. With respective to this objective, the court did not give complete freedom to the educational institutions in respect of right to admit the students and also with regard to fixation of fee.

But all is not well in education. The education sector is treated as noble occupation so as to prevent any concentration of knowledge, and keep opportunity to education open to all. But the reality is far different and there is obvious concentration of knowledge. The rural, urban divide has widen further. Further, In India we politicize everything, and education is not exception to it. Education that was suppose to liberate our mind, well we have corrupted the tool itself.

Rather than going philosophical in the beginning let me present some facts based on few dimensions ranging from basic literacy to academic research and job market. In 2009 I wrote my first post on this topic – 14 facts about Indian education system and a remedy Today I am going to revisit the topic, raise some questions and update the data.

1. Basic Literacy – Quality Vs Quantity

FACT: In India, a person aged 7 years and above who can both read and write with understanding in any language is considered as literate. This puts Indian literacy at 74.04%.

Is this sense of literacy good enough?

According to ASER report, in 2016 a quarter of all children in standard 8 in rural India were unable to real standard 2 level text and unable to solve a 3 digit by 1 digit division problem.

In 2017, ASER assessed age group of 14 to 18. They found that  About 25% of this age group still cannot read basic text fluently in their own language.  More than half struggle with division (3 digit by 1 digit) problems. Only 43% were able to do such problems correctly.
(source)

#ASER report takes sample from rural India, the statistics for Urban area will be different. sadly i did not come across any NGO who has published report on it.

2.  Teaching quality 

FACT: As on March 2016, 5 lakh sanctioned teaching posts are vacant country-wide. (source)

Even with the right to education, The quality of school education hasn’t improved. A recent study found that in rural north India on an average day, there is no teaching activity in about half” of the primary schools.

Interpretation: 

In the age of specialization, paradoxically, even today there is no formal training for the technical education teachers! While the teachers in schools and colleges once in while goes on strike to get their entitled monthly pays! leading to serious consequences like delays in results. (source)

No wonder hardly anyone aspires to be a teacher and it is viewed as one of the last resorts of ’employment’. Teaching should be an activity filled with passion, devotion and creativity sadly today it is filled with apathy, ignorance and business as usual sense.

3. Enrollment in education

Gross Enrollment Ratios: it means Proportion of students enroll for higher education after passing from a lower level. i.e. How many students enroll for 11th after passing 10th and so on.

The GER at elementary school level is about 97% which subsequently reduces to 25% till the child reaches higher education.

(GER) at the Secondary (Classes IX-X) and Senior Secondary (Classes XI- XII) levels are 62.7% and 35.9%, respectively leading to a combined GER for Class IX-XII at a considerably low 49.3% . (source) I.e. About 1/2 drops out.

In 2009, Just one out of nine children finishing school joined a college. In 2017 the ratio has improved to 25.2%. i.e. one in 4 student in looking forward to take a degree/ diploma course.

In 2016-17, the (GER) for Higher Education in India has increased to 25.2% according to a report released by Ministry of Human resource development. Tamil Nadu tops in country with 46.9 per cent gross enrollment ratio. Thus in terms of quantity we have leaped forward.

 4. Investment on Education.

According to census 2011 data, About 28% of Indian population falls in the age bracket of 0-14. And 41% of India’s population is below the age of 20.

Unfortunately, the government spending on Education is on decline since 2013-14. It was 4.57% in 2013-14, it declined to 3.65% in 2016-17. With Inflation of 5-6% in account, The spending has declined in real terms as well.

Although, It will be unjust to blame a government of developing country out-rightly as the resources are scarce and government has to trade-off certain priorities. But how can you justify trade-off in education? after all its people that must matter the most and democracy explicitly asks for informed opinion, thus making education a topmost priority. How an informed opinion will be shaped if the mind is unable to process the information?

5. The plethora of Institution

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According to government data, India has whopping 38498 colleges!

As per   (THE) World University Rankings 2018, None of Indian colleges made into the top 250 institutes. And only IISC Bangalore and IIT Mumbai made into the top 500 institutes.

How many of these colleges are learning from the premiere institute? or try to establish any point of contact/ experience exchange? answer mostly is none, because of arrogance of university administration who are in love with their age old rules and bureaucracy and don’t allow such ‘defiance’. However, today thanks to internet students can indulge in such defiance, provided information is available on the web and someone to guide them in accessing such information.

(Feel free to read the university act and AICTE act to feel the rigidity of these institutions in terms of learning methods)

6. Quality of education : Output/ Outcome

About a decade ago, ASSCoM-McKinsey study showed that only one out of Ten Indian students with degrees in humanities and one out of four engineering graduates are employable.

There are about 6,214 engineering and technology institutions which are enrolling 2.9 million students. In 2016-17 Aspiring Minds, conducted an employability-focused study based on 150,000 engineering students who graduated in 2013. They find that As many as 97 per cent of graduating engineers were looking for jobs either in software engineering or core engineering.

However, only 3 per cent had suitable skills to be employed in software or product market, and only 7 per cent were able to handle core engineering tasks.

Why would an IT company hire this burden when IT sector itself is facing tough times? clearly there is a need of mind-shift. The administration at universities and colleges need to take cognizance of the fact that – the college curriculum is outdated and new learning opportunities are available at MOOCs such as coursera.org and udemy.com. But that altruist behavior of going one step beyond prescribed job duty is largely lacking in our culture.

7. Pupil- Teacher ratio

Pupil-qualified teacher ratio :Average number of pupils per qualified teacher at a given level of education. less students per teacher implies better teacher-student interaction, a mentoring role which is hardly executed by the teacher.

According to The All India Council for Technical Education the ratio should be 20:1 i.e. one teacher per 20 students. This ratio till last year  (2016-17) was 15 students per one teacher. (The AISHE report indicates this ratio at an average of 22!)
The The University Grant Commission has recommended this ratio for Under Graduate programmes  1:15 in the media and mass communication departments, while the ratio should be 1:30 for social sciences and 1:25 for the science stream.

The regulators – UGC and AICTE don’t talk in same ratios, while reality indicates a different ratio all together. I hope you can see the chaos!

What is the significance? The most significant question in this regard is – What is the UTILITY of maintaining this ratio and does college administration knows it? do they train their teachers? every parent need to ask this question to the principle before admitting their child to a college. (sum up point no. 5 and 6, and relate with this point.)

8. Quality of education : Input.

On an average most Indian universities revise their curricula only once in five to 10 years but even then they get defeated in both letter and spirit. The disconnect is glaring in engineering and technical courses where teachers never undergoes any formal training regarding teaching. Even if a teacher learns such skill, he is bound by rigid curriculum designed by university and AICTE.

Fortunately, and finally there is a ray of hope. As per news, AICTE chairman is mulling over introducing the social sciences and humanities in the technical education. This is a much welcome step, however, who is going to teach it and how it will be taught? that question remains unanswered.

We need the students to learn the art of reasoning and argumentation. There is a chance of bringing synergy among the erstwhile ignored social sciences, humanities and the binary technical education.

9. Syndicate of education mafia.

Over-regulation by the government and a multiplicity of agencies have seen higher education stagnate and corruption become institutionalized.

FACT: In India, 77.8% Colleges are privately managed and  20.1% of the Colleges are having enrollment less than 100 and only 4.1% Colleges have enrollment more than 3000.

(source – The AISHE report 2016-17, page no. 6)

The institutions which have less than 30 percent enrollment for five consecutive year will be asked to stop their operation from 2018. Accordingly, AICTE is going to shut down 300 Engineering colleges and another 500 are under scanner of Ministry of human resource and development.

How this unplanned mushrooming of engineering colleges developed?

There is a sophisticated cartel operational in Indian education sector. The level of corruption has also touched even the higher judiciary. There is a case in supreme court related with Prasad Education Trust’s medical college. In the CBI inquiry, it is revealed that even highest judiciary is also involved in this bribery case.

years After the dismantling the corrupt institution – Medical council of India, that looked after medical education in India, The government and medical fraternity is yet to resolve the impasse. As of 2018, Restructuring the Medical Council of India to eliminate corruption NITI Aayog have proposed replacing the compromised MCI with a new National Medical Commission (NMC), outlined in a draft Bill known as the National Medical Commission Bill of 2016. (source)

At least Healthcare should be a sensitive issue in India, but the apathy towards the regulation of this sector shows how low the government evaluates human life in India.

10. Ray of Hope : MOOCs.

Distance enrollment constitute 11.45% of the total enrollment in higher education, of which 55% are female students.  However, these courses lack vitality of a full time course mainly due to lack of direct guidance or dialogue from qualified teacher. The distance educations need to go online MOOC mode.

Online education industry will be a $1.96 billion industry by 2021 according to a research conducted by KPMG, along with with insights from Google search.

The government is considering to allow 15% universities to offer online degrees. These courses/ degrees will be of non technical nature (excluding engineering and medical). Universities accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and rated A+ will be allowed to offer such courses. The rules in that regard will be notified by first quarter of 2018.

Apart from these formal channels, emerging MOOCs in India are Byju’s that focuses on academic learning while websites like neostencil, talentsprint focuses on competitive exams.

11. Education and value of life.

India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29, according to a 2012 Lancet report, which illustrated the need for urgent interventions.

According to National Crime Records Bureau, 2403, 2646 and 2413 suicides were committed due to failure in examination in the country during 2014-2016. This should be a shocking revelation. However, even today most of the colleges don’t have any professional psychiatric to council the students. Further, the teachers themselves lack any understanding of millennial psyche.

The colleges of humanities and that of Technical education need to conduct workshops together to share their field of knowledge. This exchange will create win-win situation, the technical students will learn about complexities of life, while the Humanities students will learn about scientific thinking, positivism and practical aspect of technology. Who knows perhaps we will get out Durkheim analyzing stress and depression in our youth.

12. Education abroad

An HSBC report, ‘Value of Education, Higher and Higher’, shows the number of Indian parents wanting their children to study abroad has jumped from 47% in 2016 to 62% in 2017. (link)
While. Indian higher education budget is of Rs 30,000 cr;  Indian students spend Rs 44,000 cr in just US. (link)

Indian students now spend $7 billion to go abroad and study in foreign universities because of the poor quality of education at home. Yet the government drags  it feet over permitting foreign universities to set up shop in India. Where in same cost we can successfully implement and run around 10 more IITs.

But this doesn’t concern current Indian government as it has put on hold the plan to let in foreign universities. Rather, it is going to focus on building domestic world class universities! (source)

13. Status of Research and Development : Beyond academics into future.

  • A national survey on the status of research and development in the country has shown that the gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) has more than tripled from Rs. 24,117 crore to Rs. 85,326 crore in the decade from 2004-05 to 2014-15. and it crossed the Rs. One lakh crore mark in 2016-17 reaching up to Rs. 1,04,864 crore.
  • The Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy, 2013 envisages increasing R&D expenditure (from current level of 0.88%) to 2% of GDP with enhanced participation of private sector through policy and reform processes. But India is stuck to the level of 0.88%  since past few years.
  • Government participation in R & D is around 55% which is highest compared to mere 7% in UK and 37% in mexico. Though India topped the list with regard to the government’s participation in R&D, it hit the bottom in terms of participation of institutions of higher education.
  • The share of institutions of higher education in R&D in the other countries varied from 7% in China to 40 % in Canada, as compared to India’s a mere 4%.
  • 81.3% of R&D expenditures incurred by central government sources came from just eight major scientific agencies :
  1. Defence Research and Development Organisation  – 37.8%
  2. Department of Space (16.6%),
  3. Department of Atomic Energy (11.6%),
  4. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (11.4 %),
  5. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (9.5%),
  6. Department of Science and Technology (7.7%),
  7. Department of Biotechnology (2.9%)
  8. Indian Council of Medical Research (2.4%)

During 2015-16 46,904 patents were filed. Out of them, 28 per cent or 13,066 were filed by Indian residents. As per WIPO report 2016, India is ranked 10th in terms of resident patent filing activity.

Implication : The government is largest contributor to R & D but with the government funds comes government red tapes! This is also restricted by trade off that government needs to make such as expenditure on a moon mission 2018 and expenditure on weather forecast system. There is a need of increasing private participation in R & D.

The wisdom or aspiration often flows from R & D, the quality of research further motivates students and other aspirants to endeavor into a field of knowledge. For this to happen, there is need of establishing dialogue. Unfortunately this perspective is not widely shared among University administration. Its like modern caste system – An IITan will get R n D exposure while the Mumbai university student will stay with dead syllabus.

14. Education and Jobs – the conclusion.

More than half of the country’s population is young i.e. Up to 30 years of age. Almost 18% per cent of them or 31,50,31,984 are between the ages of 18 and 24. If they are equipped with both knowledge and skills, they could drive India’s entrepreneurial and Competitive spirit and make it into global power.

Implication : keeping that in view The government of India has appointed Dr. Kasturirangan committee to frame the New Education Policy (NEP) that will be operational from 2020. it will be critical to focus on teachers and teacher education to ensure quality education. Also, any education policy henceforth must establish a rapport with future rather than romantic relation with past. Educators need to stimulate intellectual debates and reestablish the argumentative traditions of ancient India, perhaps the only worth quality to inherit from the past.

The present government has established ministry of skills to stimulate and promote skills based education instead of illusion of having an engineering degree. The skill based training coupled with government’s focus on manufacturing sector can create more jobs for youth. However, at present jobs are not visible as expected and India is going through a paradoxical phase – Jobless growth.


Summing up :  Education, Health and basic policing should be the fundamental utility and backbones of a developing society. Sadly not only they are overburdened in India, they are on verge of breakdown. This collapse will not make any immediate sound, it will be silent collapse which will eventually destroy the youth and then the society as whole. To prevent this, a prompt corrective action is needed.

In the wake of globalization and network governance, it is high time that government must wake-up to the reality that education has been commercialized a long ago. Perhaps government knows it, after all who owns these plethora of mushrooming colleges? pinpointing the problem is equally hard to finding solution to the mess of education sector in our country.

But one day it will change. Slowly and incrementally, as people will start demanding what they deserve. The regulators will use their authority in right spirit like the recent crackdown on deemed universities. We are a democratic country and as George Bernard Shaw has pointed out, Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” if we think we deserve better, we need to raise such issue more often, only then change is possible.

Till then, our education sector is dead, like John snow. Lots of hopes, aspirations and potential but dead and not going anywhere and ”Melisandre” is not in north yet to resurrect it.
(Ps: you need to know Game of thrones to understand analogy)

Our Culture, Us and mutual evolution – Part 2

back to Now  –

let’s relate Part 1 with our ancestors, our grandparents generation and then our parents’ generation and then us, since we are talking of culture and it is all about cumulative effect.

Our grandparents belonged to an era when resources where ‘scarcity’ and ‘collectivism’ values where stronger if not strongest. it was an orthodox culture with little air of change. ‘castism’ i.e. social distances were much visible in terms of social hierarchy so they were very cautious of that aspect. For them stability was crucial and so was social acceptability and since towns were small and mobility was limited, people knew each other. So  he old norms were followed without scrutiny, an era of intellectual materialism. ofcourse there were attempts to purify those norms social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Jyotiba Fule were some of the activists.

Simultaneously as per the patriarchal cultural norms girls where liability and boys were an asset. The women had an influence of existing norms. There was no internet or telephone – the spread of ideas was extremely limited, education was limited and so the new perspectives. The girls were married at an early age- mostly child marriage. And then there was this big size family of at-least 8! but they did it because there was uncertainty of life and no planning, as it was not ‘problem’ for them then, survival was only intention given the large child and maternal mortality rate prevalent then. (need of stability) As it was an emerging family it had huge constraint of resources, too many mouths to feed. The parents were busy in the basic activities of gathering food and providing shelter.

The children (our parents) where observing this and learned this as their culture. (the habits coming from sharing and scarcity are even visible sometimes). The children(i.e. our parents) were good at sharing of resources living within what was available. There was creativity but its focus and much emphasis was on survival of the stability. For them courage was to stand tall in the existing society and achieve their acceptability. There was no scope to challenge the believe system.

there was another peculiar event that was taking place i.e. for these emerging families the model of best family was that of ‘Bramhins’ which was the highest family in social hierarchy. but they had their secret norms inside family and what was visible for outsides was just pick of iceberg. this tendency of following and trying to be like upper caste is known as “sanskitization”, which is even prevalent now. This ‘superficial’ following on their norms muddled the cultural norms of overall society, prevalence of more intellectual materialism.

Then came our parents’ generation. (Post teenage) Castism was considerably reduced at least in practice but there was fear. They were just empowered to establish their identity as they were educated. however, there was still that fear of social acceptability, lack of creativity, lack of critical thinking and tendency to accepting things as they as since ‘it’s just the way to do the stuff!’.

There was flow of ideas from books, but there was no support for the challenger – the fight was still on for survival. The women where first seen as liability on father and then on elder brother – continuation of old trend. Also, the culture said respect the elders so there was this feeling of great gratitude! And love for each other.

the women were thankful to their brother and they were married to random person chosen by their brother or father, they had to accept it coz that was the norm and social acceptability,

(do listen to this song later: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOZBB53lGTk)

and that’s how even our mother’s got married.

Again rating the parameters, i.e. stability, freedom, acceptability, etc.  there was certainty about life- each had a good job. Flow of information was still limited, but there was some scientific approach. The social norms where relaxed and culture was put open for introspection. But the structure of society was still patriarchal and male had all rights to take decisions, no democracy in family (even today it is presidential democracy with veto power at father). The female had accepted this norm for the stability of family and never thought of this as problem. Thus there was no thinking about other situation than what was going on.

They (mothers) had accepted the double work of job n looking after family as part of their life for the sake of stability, they lacked any time to think and reflect about their situation it was a strict tough routine for them. Out of box thinking rarely spur in such context.

even in some families the husband was beating or abusing their wife but the women didn’t knew other way because sadly even husband beating was a norm! not a problem for society, A part of deal called marriage. (disturbing it is but its ‘prescribed’ in the books of religious!!!)

the female were alert but helpless as they lacked any social structure support as the structure itself were male dominated, both physically and ideologically. They couldn’t challenge those norms as they feared that doing so might escalate the matter and the life of divorcee was not worth living! they even lacked financial autonomy. By then, meaning of courage was not in fighting but in surviving, survival mode made them defensive and reactive but to change they needed to be assertive and proactive, they didn’t understand that because their own interest was not their priority, as it was bombarded to them – marriage and family i.e. their 2nd life! they didn’t thought about what other aspect of life meant and how to get there.

Besides they choose to be defensive because of us, their children, to give us better future stability was necessary. they made us their source of inspiration. The women tried to find their peace of mind in their children, they invested all their emotions in their child, in this the ‘hurt mothers’ became over protective for the child… forgetting that anything in excess is bad even if it’s good.

Our generation was free from the scourge of castism, it was open for ideas, because our parents had created a better world for us to explore. we were set free to mingle with cross society, exploring various sub-cultural norms. There was scientific education and internet at our teenage to shape our ideas. Our family size was limited so there was abundance of resources and we had plenty of time to explore. And there was one big source of ideas the Television; we were so engrossed in it all. our parents where happy because they felt grateful that they could give their child so much that they didn’t had in first place.

We didn’t bothered about it, neither we bothered to help our mother when we were kid, we took it for granted as there was no uncertainty. We also accepted a norm to get out of room when any fight between any elder members was going on… never thought why to do so. (That’s how norms work) besides your opinion never mattered as you were child. (Color of hair not merit of idea that mattered)

even the mothers didn’t told us their story because by now they had developed new habits of accommodation.

Compared to our generation, we never feel need of accommodation, our knowledge was greatly shared between friends so the problems, resources and ideas. Then there was torrent of ideas as internet and mobile arrived, our world turned into a global village. We came in contact with the western values based on Individualism – freedom, liberality, rationality. And a funny thing happened.

Because of collectivism we had a strong family base a strong social support system that we took for granted. Then came this individualism mostly from movies and Internet. we thought this is a good way because it was ‘new’ and following our curiosity we accepted these views with their explanation. Meanwhile, ironically, the educated western societies adopted the collectivism values to build a strong social structure and stable family. they took the values keeping aside identities. they tried to made best from both societies.

This confluence of culture is intense right now. the mistake we are doing is we are not emphasizing or exploring our own good cultural values we are blindly declaring many of our good habits and accepting the western values (without evaluation) just by looking at western lifestyle. we are not learning.

Today things have changed drastically. The government is standing for rights of women. Human rights movement is vigilant. There are NGOs and civil societies ready to help and people know the effects of wrong doing. society has accepted need of change so there is deterrence. this has wiped away the superficial norms but the sticky norms, one which deals with self image still persists. one of them is status. is in our society nothing matters more than status. That is true in our family too. such sticky norms take the most time to change so we must wait, there is no point in fighting against it.

The women in our family are not proactive they are not assertive yet and the fathers cannot give up their domination psyche overnight it’s another sticky norm. both men and women have reached statuesque agreement and stability. And after we, their children becoming independent they don’t find point in defining new stability, they are okay with it, but that hurts us.

this is my observation and understanding of situation.

conclusion:

i don’t think its worth now changing the oldies unless its harming our present and future and they are open to such change. we should not try to model their world in our ideals. as individual they have right to live their life as they want so we must accept it and monitor it proactively, but if we think something is wrong we should express our opinion rationally, proactively, in clear language without being emotional.

fighting with cultural norm is challenging, if you want to do it – get out of all cultural structure, but if you want to live within them, accept them and induce small small changes- tipping point is triggered with such small changes and right opportunity. wait for it.

there is an old Chinese saying, “wisdom can be acquired in 3 ways, first by  experience which is the bitterest. Second by imitation which is the easiest. Third is by reflection which is the noblest.” We try to learn things by first 2 ways but hardly use the third because the art of reflection asks for giving up all help thoughts, belief and judgment. It asks us to evaluate them impersonally.

anyways, lets enjoy what we have today. The past must not haunt present if present is hurting be assertive, if culture is not allowing you to do so, if it’s a sticky norm, you must accommodate and adapt accordingly, fighting will only hurt you. besides the problem in fighting with stupid is they ultimately drag you to their level, so it’s better to evade that situation creatively. Know their norms and be proactive, once you win heart, you can softly expand your views and win back your freedom.

finally, its a know fact that perfection does not exist and with that we must accept our culture with all its faults n extremes. its our so we must fix it. the purification process is going on and we should look at it cautiously.

4. Calculated RISK of opportunity

previous article: The essence of engineering and technology 

“There is much in the world to make us afraid.

There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid”.

~Frederick W. Cropp

Risk is a most interesting part of life and a characteristic of the youth! If directed in proper way the risk can be managed without any sort of hazard. Fear is always associated with the risk, it’s an interesting feeling some people fear the ‘fear’ and restrain themselves from the challenges, While some embrace their fears and achieve greatest success in their life. What make them successful is they take calculated risks by believing in their self rather than just following adhoc methods. It is these ‘calculated risks’ which converts the hazardous risks into opportunities and hence success.

watch the following video, its not explicitly related with technology but the  implicit message is more important… to DARE.

Complexity and risks are inherent in the technology, so rather than staying away from it and being dependent on somebody else, one should run towards it just like shown in video. The complexity, risk and fear are inherent part of engineering and technology one should accept this eternal truth and just go for it with scientific temper.

Remember in technology if your logic is correct based on scientific fact, nothing can go wrong as long as you are working with scientific temper. Your calculated risk in such cases will always turn as risk of opportunity making your experiment a fruitful event.

The Risk in general terms…

To be expert in techworld you need to be more practical than just cramming the theory. In fact it’s not at all difficult to execute most of the part of theory into practice. A lot of risk is obviously inherent in all these activities but you should be always ready to accept these risks. In plain English ‘risk is likelihood of occurrence of a hazardous event and the consequences associated with it, like some injury or financial damage. Risk is of two type risk of failure and risk of opportunity. There is something known as calculate risk. Risk is calculated, when you know what you are doing and you can predict possible consequences based on your observations and previous knowledge. A risk is called as  risk of failure when the risk in the project becomes reality and causes catastrophic effects on the project, that is failure. In most of the cases Risk becomes reality due to ignorance and unawareness. It is possible to control every risk if we adopt a proper strategy to deal with it.

when you accept a new endeavor or a project, always some sort of risk is associated with it. You recognize the risk involve in the project and you still carry your activity and you successfully achieve the result managing all the risks cautiously then the risk in such cases is called as risk of opportunity. it is called as opportunity since such risk not only boosts your confidence but also motivates you to pursue next level in your work, opening new doors of possibilities. ‘Nothing succeeds like success’ just like that. this also increases your credibility in the society and between your colleagues.

Converting a Risk into Success.

To understand above theory let’s put together it in practice with following video clips, again it is not directly related with the technology. But you can easily relate it with what i want to convey, ‘converting risk of failure into risk of opportunity and hence success’.

the clip is from movie Shaolin Soccer. The clips are from hindi translated version of the movie. There are 2 clips, in first part the actress is shown as  a chef in a small hotel where she cooks pastries using her special kunfu-skills. Watch how she uses her talent,

in next part when the team`s goal keeper suffers from injury and the team has no replacement, the actress turn in to the game as replacement player, Despite of the fact she has never played a single game of football. what happen next is this article is all about.

let me help you to relate the concept, in this scenario the ball is most crucial and volatile aspect of the game. If it enters in her goal post then for her team it is failure, but if it is in opponents goal post then it is success. Considering what had happened with previous keeper, standing in front of the ball was a risk, risk of injury. considering that she was playing her first football game there was also risk involved in she acting as goal keeper. overall there were two risks of failure- risk of injury and risk of scoring goal. but in spite of all this she accepted the challenge and stood to defend the goalpost.  when the opponent player got hold on the ball she kept faith in her skills and by using then she converted the catastrophic impact of ball into a mild attack and hence prevented the goal. Then she got full command on the ball using her skills again. i.e. she converted the risk of failure into risk of opportunity; an opportunity to score goal on opponent. With teamwork finally her team did score the goal and emerge as the winner of the game.

Life is all about this: identifying your skills, having faith in it and using them when the situation demands. Risk is muddled up by the fear factor, just overcome your fear, perceive the problem at its root, just be yourself and deal with the problem… you are bound to be successful. So to convert a ‘risk of failure’ into ‘risk of opportunity’ followed by ‘success’ you need to understand the system, know your skills, identifying your mentors and have faith in all.

If you have seen the video cautiously then you will notice that the girl uses her kung-fu skills as situation demands,  for cooking, for mixing the flour, for catching the pot, and finally while playing football. that’s what optimization, flexibility and adaptation is all about. Just like that you too can relate your skills like reading, dancing, singing etc. with your study, play and even while working in techworld. (if not exactly the skills at least the side products, confidence being one of them.)

  • Technology is for all

Let me clear something about the technology world, it is not like that this area is a privilege of someone or you need to be gifted or something like that, neither it is fact that this is male chauvinistic field. Infact girls can also do equally well if they believe in their selves. As per my observation its natural female tendency to be on safe side and tendency to restrain from the risk factor and hence complexity of technology. girls should look to break this ‘illusion of control‘.

You should be always ready to take risks in this field, not just calculated but sometimes risk as it is without prior knowledge of the activity. in any case the experiment fails then you should have a mitigation strategy to bring the system back to normal.

What drives the engine of progress in the world of technology is your anxiety, patience and never giving up attitude- ‘A real warrior never quits’. (watch kung-fu panda, it is one of my favorite movie)  all of these driving agents needs engineering spirit as their driver, vision of the engineer. as discussed in the article, essence of engineering and technology the two aspects, engineering and technology are interrelated and complies each other.

  • Illusion of control

Illusion of control is anything that holds you back from taking an action just because you think you are not worth of doing it. the concrete wall of assumption in which  you  try to enclose most volatile thing in the world… your mind. Problems, mistakes, fear all of these lies in your perception- illusion of control,

‘your problem is not actually your problem, your reaction to the problem is actually your problem’.

Therefore you must let go the illusion of the control to achieve the greatest success, what you truly deserve. To break the illusion of control  you must break the wall and be open to accept the truth. your own mistake will help you a lot, learning from history is very crucial aspect of our life, one who learns from own mistakes as well as others mistakes achieves the heights in less duration with less pain. (Hard work is inherent part of success so I say less pain (: )

Remember the last glory you achieved and keep in mind that you have done this before and now you are going to achieve it again. It really works but just don’t give up at all, you will be successful.

  • Learning from the mistakes…
“One of the greatest and most comforting truths is that when one door closes,
another door opens, but often we look so long and regretfully upon the closed door
that we do not see the one that open for us.”

 

Your passion for the work that’s all matters, success is just matter of time, because in life no body ask how badly you fail but they always look upon how you stood up after falling. This is the most important lesson your should always remember in your failures, don’t keep crying after being fail, as failure is also relative term and momentary truth. It doesn’t mean that you are not going to achieve it ever but just not at that time.

In such situation you should analyze the system to check which risk became reality and if there was something unexpected factor which caused the damage. Learning from the mistake is what I call this. Learning from the mistakes and avoiding repetition of mistakes is crucial aspect of engineering and technology education. One irony is that you are always open to do new mistakes, as most of the discoveries are accidental not intentional. But it’s also very important to learn from the mistakes each time.

learning from the mistakes involve taking note of own mistakes as well as listening to the advice of your mentor or experienced person to reduce risk. It also include learning lesson from others mistakes. This activity helps in self criticism and acts as barrier in yourself and the evil of ego.

  • Help yourself

While working you should always try to do things on your own based on some guidelines. It can be based on your previous knowledge or guide lines from manual or blog. If you came across any difficulty try to solve it using Google and if that also don’t work, ask your trusted guide. A guide can be anyone, topper of your class, your subject teacher or any teacher, your friend. Just make sure that he actually knows about the technology about which you are going to ask.

to get clear cut idea how it works just check out the following flowchart. the flowchart is how we people learn any new software, i have learn photoshop just like that!

trust me technology is this simple, your patience, endurance, anxiety and logic that’s all it take!

So all along this article I want to say that, risk is inherent part of technical education and rather than fearing it, one should accept it as a challenge and just go for it based on own logic and past experience if any. Learning process should be on going while doing any project. The doors of technology are open for such persons only and are independent of any other factor.

conclusion:

i know that this article was a bit of heavy so i am writing this part separately,

  1. always have faith in yourself in your skills. never underestimate yourself.
  2. have faith in your mentors, teachers and technology. respect them.
  3. success and failure are momentary truths so don’t get over exited by success and depressed by failure. enjoy it n learn from both.
  4. never repeat your mistake, although you are free to do new mistakes but learning  lesson from it is most important. (this doesn’t mean your work should be error prone (; )
  5. don’t run away from the problems and difficulty, just go for it with scientific temper and test the fruits success that you truly deserve.
  6. ‘an original is hard to find but easy to recognize’: know your skills sharpen them with help of your mentors, role model but never loose your originality. don’t discard yourself, be more of it.
  7. ‘opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work’. don’t run away from the work, optimize it for your benefits. your assignments are just another form of opportunity, have you ever thought of it in this way?
  8. ‘keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadows’. (follow the above 7 steps and you will never regret for what you are and what you are doing)

in the next article i have tried to introduced you with the world of open source. open source is something which cannot be told what it is one has to be there to feel it. (just kidding, this blog is also part of open source.) nevermind! check out the next part of article, open source true essence of freedom.

This article is dedicated to one of my favorite teacher and friend Ms. priya nagwekar, who imparted above mentioned skills in me n all my friends during our academics, by concealing the complexity of engineering management stuff in general terms.

2. The essence of Engineering and technology

previous article: the inconvenient truth about engineering

Engineering As defined by Wikipedia, ‘Engineering is the discipline, art and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize solutions to the needs of society’.

In plain English engineering is ‘what the engineers do’. Or in today’s context at least what they are supposed to do.(It’s very risky to say what engineers do is engineering! That’s why I am writing this post)

Definition defines engineering perfectly that’s beauty of Wikipedia! So engineering is about the application of skills of individual or the persons associated with the work. As engineering students it is your duty to acquire these values during the four years course and impart these engineering skills in yourself. The skills and expected transitions associated with it are discussed in the next part of this article.

Someone might tell you that such skills are inborn or something like, that but let me promise you it’s a C.R.A.P. and just ignore any such advice. Every person has some skills and you also have some.  its just that you might not be aware of it and in this course of engineering you are supposed to discover them. all you need is a good teacher. It’s a good teacher who helps the students to direct these verities of skills into the skills required for engineering. (just like a converter!). So it’s a matter of good teacher and it’s your duty to look for such good teacher and follow guidelines issued by him. All you have to believe in your teacher n yourself with a scientific temper.

Scientific temper as defined by Wikipedia, ‘Scientific temper describes an attitude which involves the application of logic and the avoidance of bias and rigid ideas’. While working with scientific temper you should be always open to the new ideas even if it threatens your current believed system. Discussion, argument and analysis are vital parts of scientific temper. Elements of fairness, equality and democracy are built into it.  This temper gets developed as per your anxiety. This is inherent part of engineering and technology.

Let me give you small example as how scientific temper may work, all of you use mobile phones and send 100s of SMS daily but have you ever wonder why SMS is limited by 160 characters only? 160 is not in power of 2 (2^(any whole number) != 160)which means it’s not data compression size which limits the SMS size! Then what it might be? Thinking in such way for our daily activity is what the scientific temper all about.

There are more values which reflects the true spirit of engineering but for that aid of technology is needed so I have discussed it separately in last part of this article.

As a professional engineer or engineering student you should always remember that, true essence of engineering lies in your daily behavior, it lies in how we treat the people, how you handle the situation. This is what makes the difference between other fields people and engineers. ‘Creating plan with cool mind and executing it with full zest is what defines the true engineering spirit’. the engineering advantage really works and you gotta feel the power of knowledge, it’s amazing.

The essence of Technology

Technology as defined by Wikipedia,Technology is the usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization’. In plain English It is an application of science to solve problems. Technology comes from necessity. You have a problem to solve, so you invent the solution. You must use technology or innovate new technology to solve the problem.

Since the invention of wheel, probably the first machine technology has changed life of human radically, and engineers have evolved the technology based on their innovations.  Most technology is to defer labor, reduce human efforts and to make life of human simpler. Therefore while thinking of technology your approach should be in this way only: to make life simple.

Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering. Although engineering and technology overlap most of the times, there is very subtle difference between technology and engineering which is discussed in next section.

The true essence of technology lies in its complexity, risks and never giving up attitude. Complexity and risks are inherent in the technology.  The complexity and risk have something more integrated with it and I have discussed it separately in the article ‘calculated risk of opportunity’ :- the basic strategy to work with technology successfully. Rather than staying away from the complexity and risks and being dependent on somebody else to do these jobs, one should go for it with proper planning. Your never giving up attitude and patience helps you greatly in all these activity.

Engineering science and technology are interrelated and interdependent phenomenon and complies each other. So let us discuss them together to get most of from it.

The essence of Engineering and technology

Technology always helps or results in productivity and marketing while engineering is all about the skills required to achieve it. In the language of IT, engineering is more of software aspect while technology is the hardware aspect. Engineering is about the ethics and skills while working or solving a problem and technology is application of science with help of engineering skills for innovations. So science technology and  engineering are actually inseparable things and one should pursue them as a single entity.

How to do it? well read all further part of this article.

To get better idea about engineering technology and all, check out following diagram,

Confused? Don’t be, As I said you earlier complexity is inherent part of technology! So just give away this illusion of control that technology is difficult or complex and believe me after some time you will find these things simple and in fact you will also learn to talk and write with such complexity. How to break this illusion of control is discussed in the article, ‘calculated risk of opportunity‘.

You find this confusing since you are not familiar with it.  you haven’t read enough technical stuff, infact it largely depends on your habits, I don’t know how often you read something knowledgeable not fiction. So reading is most essential part of learning, you don’t have to be reading like arts students, 1000s pages book… no not at all, technology is not that difficult either, unlike history or politics students where each concept largely differs from other and not necessarily happen for a good reason, in tech world things are always related and happen for a certain reason to make things better. So if you study something about mobile OS then you can always relate this with computer OS, if you study layered architecture in networking then yes you can always relate it with all other layered architecture.

All you need to push up your anxiety and greed to next level for search of knowledge and will to know things: how stuff works.

In next article 12 transitions from academic to corporate life i have discussed the skills required for engineering and after that , i have discussed about the risk and complexity of technology in the article, calculated risk of opportunity. you can read either of article first. the articles are framed based on the diagram shown on this post, however going with the sequence is always recommended.

The essence of engineering

Engineering As defined by Wikipedia, ‘Engineering is the discipline, art and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize solutions to the needs of society’.

In plain English engineering is what the engineers do. Or in today’s context at least what they are supposed to do.(It’s very risky to say what engineers do is engineering! That’s why I am writing this post)

Definition defines engineering perfectly that’s beauty of Wikipedia! So engineering is about the application of skills of individual or the persons associated with the work. As engineering students it is your duty to acquire these values during the four years course and impart these engineering skills in yourself. The skills and expected transitions associated with it are discussed in the next part of this article. Someone might tell you that such skills are inborn or something like, that but let me promise you it’s a C.R.A.P. and just ignore any such advice. Every person has some skills, you are also having that.  It’s a good teacher who helps the students to direct these verities of skills possessed by individual into the skills required for engineering. You know just a converter. So it’s a matter of good teacher and it’s your duty to look for such good teacher and follow guidelines issued by him. All you have to believe in your teacher n yourself with a scientific temper.

Scientific temper as defined by Wikipedia,< ‘Scientific temper describes an attitude which involves the application of logic and the avoidance of bias and rigid ideas’. While working with scientific temper you should be always open to the new ideas even if it threatens your current believed system. Discussion, argument and analysis are vital parts of scientific temper. Elements of fairness, equality and democracy are built into it.  This temper gets developed as per your anxiety. This is inherent part of engineering and technology.

Let me give you small example of scientific temper, all of you use mobile phones and send 100s of SMS daily but have you ever wonder why SMS is limited by 160 characters only? 160 is not in power of 2 which means it’s not data compression size which limits the SMS size! Then what it might be? Thinking in such way for our daily activity is what the scientific temper all about.

There are more values which reflects the true spirit of engineering but for that aid of technology is needed so I have discussed it separately in last part of this article.

As a professional engineer or engineering student you should always remember that, true essence of engineering lies in your daily behavior, it lies in how we treat the people, how you handle the situation. This is what makes the difference between other fields people and engineers. ‘Creating plan with and executing it with full zest is what defines the true engineering spirit’. the engineering advantage really works and you gotta feel the power of knowledge, it’s amazing.

The essence of Technology

Technology as defined by Wikipedia,Technology is the usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization’. In plain English It is an application of science to solve problems. Technology comes from necessity. You have a problem to solve so you invent the solution. You must use technology or innovation to solve it. So trial and error until you succeeds. Most technology is to defer labor, reduce human efforts and to make life of human simpler.

Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering. Although engineering and technology overlap most of the times, there is very subtle difference between technology and engineering which is discussed in next section.

The true essence of technology lies in its complexity, risks and never giving up attitude. Complexity and risks are inherent in the technology.  The complexity and risk have something more integrated with it and I have discussed it separately in ………… basic strategy to tackle technology successfully. Rather than staying away from the complexity and risks and being dependant on somebody else to do these jobs, one should go for it with proper planning. Your never giving up attitude and patience helps you greatly in all these activity.

Engineering science and technology are interrelated and interdependent phenomenon and complies each other. So let us discuss them together to get most of from it.

The essence of Engineering and technology

Technology always helps or results in productivity and marketing while engineering is all about the skills required to achieve it. In the language of IT, engineering is more of software aspect while technology is the hardware aspect. Engineering is about the ethics and skills while working or solving a problem and technology is application of science with help of engineering skills for innovations. So science technology and  engineering are actually inseparable things and one should pursue them as a single entity. How to so it? well read all further part of this article.

To get better idea about engineering technology and all

Confused? Don’t be, As I said you earlier complexity is inherent part of technology! So just give away this illusion of control that technology is difficult or complex and believe me after some time you will find these things simple and infact you will also learn to talk and write with such complexity. How to break this illusion of control is discussed in the article, ……………..

You find this confusing since you are not familiar with it.  you haven’t read enough technical stuff, infact it largely depends on your habits, I don’t know how often you read something knowledgeable not fiction. So reading is most essential part of learning, you don’t have to be reading like arts students, 1000s pages book… no not at all, technology is not that difficult either, unlike history or politics students where each concept largely differs from other and not necessarily happen for a good reason, in tech world things are always related and happen for a certain reason to make things better. So if you study something about mobile OS then ye you can always relate this with computer OS, if you study layered architecture in networking then yes you can always relate it with all other layered architecture.