Archive for March, 2009

Admission without GATE in IISc

March 12, 2009

  It is sad to know that IISc has removed GATE as admission criteria. I agree with Prof. Giridhar    that a better move could have been inviting student with lower GATE score for interviews. It seems to me that present decision of IISc is one coming out of negative mindset. They are assuming that not many people will apply for PhD anyway. What if too many people apply? How is IISc going to filter out candidates? How is IISc going to compare BE marks from two different universities, when standard of education vary widely inside India? Suppose a rejected candidate goes to media and court saying that he was discriminated because of factor X (be it caste/religion/gender), how IISc will defend its decision? I was once told by a Prof. from USA  that a major job of GRE is to filter out candidate and have a legal defense against lawsuits. I believe GATE was serving similar purpose so far. By removing all objective criteria IISc is inviting too many legal complications in future. One bigger danger of this move will be too much importance to undergrad marks. This would have been a good thing if marking was above the board in Indian undergrad education. Unfortunately this is not the case in most of engineering institutions outside IIT trademark. For example, I got admission in IISc, IITB, IITK because of my high GATE score (+high marks in interview in IITB) but my undergrad rank was 36/40. In our undergrad days, we were clearly warned by our Profs that if we do certain things (which has no link to education), they will make sure that we will get bad grades.

 Another  related issue  is how we are going to judge the quality of  examination process in different universities? For example, some of the  universities might be giving too easy or too difficult question paper at the undergrad level. This can make a fare comparison impossible.  Suppose a student from a university with a good standard has obtained only 75% marks, while another one from a bad place has 95% marks. It  is  obvious that  during the interview,  any Prof. will prefer  student with 75% marks.     Now suppose the student with 95% marks goes to media/court claiming bias because of some X factor, how is IISc going to respond? 

Finally, with such a move IISc might be setting precedence for lower rank universities to ignore objective criteria in admission process.  I am not sure what kind of chaos will happen after a substantial number of  universities in India will declare that they know how to chose PhD student  without  a  minimum cutoff.

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Magic seeds of Life

March 9, 2009

Aptly said by Naipaul in Magic seeds

“It is  wrong to have an ideal view of the world. That’s where the mischief starts. That’s where everything starts unravelling.”

  May be one can extend this quote as

 It is  wrong to have  any kind of expectations  from other people. That’s where the mischief starts. That’s where every relationship starts unravelling.