We recently had IBM visit our campus to recruit candidates for their call centre. We were glad that 22 of our students were selected. It also underscored the fact that regular course study was taking a beating and aptitude /logical reasoning and basic intelligence is the requirement of the day. The next big question is whether we are going to find good teachers to train young minds or are we going to make do with those who were left behind and could not land good job? At least 13 of the selected candidates were science students 8 from the Biology stream and 5 from the Maths group. The choice was unmistakably fair and these were the best the college had to offer. It was not as if the company settled for the best among the bad lot. Some of these girls had made it to Wipro also and the company did not select a single candidate from another college in town. Some of our students are doing their masters from another local college and the best among them were also selected. This brings up the next question. If young minds are going to be lured into taking lucrative jobs in multinationals where the course they’ve studied is not being put to use is it not time we revised and restructured the course?
I remember a batch we had 2 years back. The final year students would attend classes only on the days they had practicals. After the practical class was over they would excuse themselves to go to the canteen and vanish from there. We had a kind of counseling session with them but at the end of it was they who counseled us in their own way. They were all either attending coaching classes for MBA admission or taking lessons in Computer centres. They saw no future in our outdated syllabus and they took admission in our college since a degree was the minimum requirement for an IT job, a bank PO’s post or for admission to an MBA program. I felt certain that their results would suffer and tried to reason that some companies did not even let second divisioners apply for a job.
“We can manage madam” was the reply. “this is only a repetition of what we learnt in 12th standard and we have no intention of doing our masters or going in for research.”
The fact that struck me odd was that the girls who were vocal were also the most focused and they all managed to get a first class. They are pursuing their studies in reputed institutes outside the state where campus selection ensures that they land good jobs.
My friend and colleague Dr. K. Shukla made a very pertinent observation. She went to attend a pre registration seminar in the PG department of Botany with a candidate who wanted to do research under her. The Post Graduate students seemed to be a disinterested lot with no quest for knowledge and seemed to be there just because they had no better option. She remembered her own days as student in the same department and rued the fact that lack of motivation had perhaps led to such a situation.
My experience as a novice was very encouraging. We did not have an honors course then but pass course students showed a keen interest that delighted us. Their depth of knowledge was amazing. One could not misinform them and get away with it. We’d have animated discussions about the evolutionary trends of living organisms and try to find the affiliations among different groups. I did my masters around that time and I was greatly helped by my interaction with these students since teaching was the best way to learn. Our first Honors batch produced excellent results with 7 out of 8 students securing a first division. I don’t remember them ever missing a class. Many of them got married and their daughters and nieces are now our students. The priorities of the present generation have changed in keeping with times. My only regret is that we already have a dearth of good teachers in Physics and Mathematics. Soon good Biology teachers may also disappear from the scene and when it happens what is going to be the future of the teaching profession? I am not in a position to comment on Arts and Commerce students but I guess it is the same there too.Or am I perhaps over reacting?
My next post will deal with a lighter side of my teaching experience. Do forgive this rather serious post. Couldn't help it.