Friday, May 22, 2009

Why Indians don’t invent stuff?

Wright brothers… Henry Ford...Steve Jobs…Bill Gates…Names that are synonymous with creating new products and novel ideas. People who have influenced and changed the way we live in current times… People who created trends more than trends creating them!!

When I was a kid I used to look eagerly into the list of inventors in the year book hoping to find some Indian names in the long list sprinkled with western names and to my disappointment I rarely found any each time …

Now looking back I wonder ….Why are Indians simply not creators or inventors…Are we a people good only at re-engineering or reverse engineering? Are we proficient only at following instructions from others? Are we good only at adapting existing ideas and tailoring them to Indian needs? Does it surprise you that very few Indians come up with something original or something that changes our lives….Now I know we invented the zero and all that…But really??

Of late, I receive forwards about some Indian whizkid in the university of Stanford/ Harvard/ MIT creating something extraordinarily futuristic or one of them keeping the listeners spell bound in appreciation at one of those TED talks…They are inventors of own making and excelling in ‘American’ universities or research institutes….Creators of innovative ideas that capture the present day technology gurus!!

The answer definitely points to our education system…We might be good at maths...our kids might memorize the multiplication tables at the age of 5 …our kids might know all the chemistry formulas…our kids might spell “competitiveness” before they enter school…. but all those glorious statistics pales in front of the creative endeavors our students indulge in…Rather the creativity was never encouraged during the formative years of a child’s education. In our system it’s all about the marks…all about the ranks…a mad rush to climb a ladder!

I am not sure how many of you feel the same way…But I believe our education system has become passé….A system which needs to be revamped extensively and shed its current emphasis on text book learning and memorizing capabilities…We are not allowed to think or challenge or reason with current science…How many students do get a chance to visit an industry in their school life…? How many students in our schools are encouraged to choose a vocation of their choice? How many schools give a child the chance to explore ideas of their own…? We have educators who plan our education policies which still rely on systems which are relics of the past!!

Our schools would do a lot good if they have a dedicated session for children to identify their interests and inculcate passion in them to explore areas which are truly their vocation…When a friend of mine told me that in Germany after school the students, the teachers and the parents have a meeting where they collectively help in identifying the career a child aspires to do, I wished we had such a method in place. Our colleges should encourage and reward innovative thinking besides the sessional marks or attendance…Simply the focus of our education system is on meeting cosmetic targets rather than real knowledge…I must admit myself as a product of such a system …

It also would need lot of changes in our teaching methodology…Probably our stress on competition is resulting in creation of half baked graduates….I remember the engineering entrance coaching days when everything was about short fixes, formulae memorizing techniques and very little stress on core science concepts….lab experiments would be a cliché if you think instead of experiments it was more of adjusting results to standards…Our engineering labs in college have machines older than 30 years and yet give the same graphs over the years…Ever wondered about wear and tear?

Its easy to say that Indian IT guys are dominating the world…Quite a lot of it is exaggerated. We merely have the numbers and at the end of the day we are in service industry…We are not product creators like Google or Apple…Great economies run on the backbone of strong product strengths…Just like cars are for Germany, Electronics are for Japan and arms for Americans (bad choice I know) there is an inherent core competency of these economies…Our IT strength has so far been service oriented and our product strengths are not definitely best in the world….when the Chinese are exporting cranes and heavy machinery we are still sticking to export of Banana chips and Mangoes…We export our steel to china and they make products out of it and make the margins…We are still the supplier of raw materials to the world and others are raking in the benefit..

As years pass by and the economy move forward breaking the shackles of recession we might progress with an impressive GDP growth. But I believe probably we would end up as a near developed economy which would be the World’s own human service provider. It would be frivolous to assume that we would one day stand among the most developed countries in the world with our current education system. That would need more than factory made children trained to memorize stuff and whose creative original ideas are nipped in the bud. I wonder whether our education planners are sitting comfy in the comfy stories of some Indian kid winning the spelling bee contest and thinking all is fine.

As our politicians and media praise the Nano for example and though no offence intended inspite of the revolution that it would bring to the average person in general I feel it would be farcical to rest on such laurels…Even if we can’t, we need to encourage the next generation to think new…to invent stuff which can make our country an incubator of new products and trends…When multi-national companies set shop in India with their R&D centers I wonder how much benefit our country is eliciting out of it...The system indeed needs drastic changes which unfortunately is brushed aside under the carpet of “everything is fine so far” belief…. The system needs to change the complacency we silently encourage in our kids…I hope someone is listening…

32 comments:

Nona said...

You are right! We are followers and not innovators. But I think the mad rush for ranks/grades can be found everywhere. At the same time, we do lack proper career guidance and counseling.

Even the R&D centers in India, we are only prototyping on the design built by someone else. I have not seen any true blue product company from India yet (You can correct me if I'm wrong).

We do excel in making complementary products (add-ons) on a existing product.

Sakshi said...

Yeah you are right we are always the raw material supplier be it even in the IT sector that India is so proud of now..Hope the future generation ripens a bit :)

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Firstly, I think you are very limited in your temporal view. All the inventors you mention at the start and subsequent achievements you deal with are within the past 110 years.

Secondly, most of the inventions are of a scientific nature.

Without these two contraints, India has invented much. Every outfit of every culture in India is an invention that is uniquely Indian. The zillion varieties of clothes, the shoes, the bangles, the nose ring, the toe ring, the numerous other jewelry, the 'lota' (a type of tumbler), the 'shoulder pai' (shoulder bag), the earthern pot and many such inventions. What more do you expect to be invented from a land of farmers ruled by kings?

But I'm quite sure the issue you intended to address was the lack of scientific inventions. The answer lies in education. However, it is not so much in our system of education as when we started having a formalised system of education. The most significant progress in science, discovery and inventions have happened in the West after the era of systematic and formal education began. Whatever may be the flaws of such a schooling system as was existent, it was precisely the Christian emphasis on schooling that ultimately led to the flowering of indepdendent and rational thought that eventually not only led to great scientific and engineering progress but also to questioning to a great extent the very dogma of the Christian system that led to this tradition. It is indeed that foundation of formal schooling, initiated by the Christians of the West, that has spread to the east, including to nations such as India, and ultimately led to a glut of scientific minds in the late 20th and 21st centuries even in our country! There has been much contribution by India to technological progress (If you observe, the recent past is not an era of grand individual scientific inventions. The inventions are mostly by communities of people for which the head of the group might be popular, that's all.). However, I concede that there is more contributed by Indians brought up and/or spending time outside our country than those within it(on a per capita basis). This I attribute to the fact that inventions and discoveries(discoveries more so than inventions) require a certain amount of aristocracy. Serious pursuit of scientific and technological progress cannot happen in an atmosphere of daily strife and the struggle for survival. It requires the creation of an environment that leaves the thinkers free of other daily worries and able to contemplate ideas. Hence, this progress is deeply intertwined with economic progress and you'll see our research and technological progress advance as we grow economically.

Another case in point that the education with its emphasis on rote learning isn't really the fundamental cause of anything catastrophic is that it is this very rigid schooling structure that existed in Britain for nearly 500 years and still led to a spawning of scientific minds by that tiny island nation. Whether you concede it or not, although the evaluation of merit is rote based, the process of rational thought is still inculcated during the process of teaching and imbibing.

Prasoon said...

Well, I believe that you hit the nail in the head. Very rightly said. We need an education system revamp and the sooner it is done, the better it shall be for the nation. but then again, we all know how and why these things won't happen anytime soon.

Nice write!

Dhanya said...

Is it really a problem with the education system? Then why are multinational companies hooking all the IITians and IIMians?

Bindhu Unny said...

“Our engineering labs in college have machines older than 30 years“ - I remember staring at a broken down submerged arc welding machine and imagining how it worked!

Our schooling system encourages mugging up the lessons instead of original thoughts. But I guess it'll change albeit only after many more years. Minor changes in attitude are taking place already, I believe. :-)

Philip said...

Indian educational system is to blame to a large extent. The competition to get ahead of all others is so unhealthy and intense that once you get ahead, you have no energy/interest to do something innovative.

We teach our kids mathematics, but do not teach them to love mathematics.

Newbie Mommy said...

I concur. Completely and truly.

Brilliant post.
~B

scorpiogenius said...

The educational system is messed up, all right, and its in a big way contributing to the lack of innovation. Our students mug up things without knowing what it is...

On R&D front, the financial allocation to the tasks also influence the outcome of innovations. What is the role of our universities, except for conducting exams and issuing certificates??? Compare our technical universities to the likes of the Ivy League ones, where R&D plays a crucial role.

I remember my Physics professor once whinging about the red tapes in our Univ. system. If they wanted to conduct an experiment then it has to get approved by 10 depts in the University HQ and Secretariat, so it will be minimum 6 months before they get 25% of the needed funds.. So, they have to 'invent' from vacuum..

So as it is, except for Defense & Space research, our authorities are a kind of indifferent to research activities in other fields.

Praveen said...

we are products of the 'engineering else medicine' generation...During the last decade, the kids who passed out of school dint have any choice but to somehow pass the entrance and join either of the 2...
many creative minds died at the end of school in the mad rush to get a medicine or engineering seat..
yes, our education system killed many a creative minds

Amal Bose said...

i agree.. i think its the problem with our education system

Jennifer said...

You have bought up a lot of intriguing subjects....

I agree the educational system in India can use updates, as an American who lived in India and studied my Master's in social work there, I was surprised how many subjects, even on sociology in a country with a billion, did not have sociology texts or more than that, theories relevant to the Indian situation. Of course, learning 'western social theory' was easy for me, but it wasn't what I wanted to come to India to learn... I guess I got that in the field...

Taking this a step further, it is easy to say, change the educational system. I say that here in America too... so many updates need to be made. We are also sheep here- any student who learns too fast, too slow or creatively is often stifled...so innovation, even here can be challenging in school, in college and at work. It is true it may be easier here (in US) as someone said that everyday survival is not such an issue in America, we have a little easier life. But India is quickly improviing....

But, this has to be a whole societal change. For instance, how many parents (in India) will allow their kids to go for any career of their choice? Why? It's hard to make a good living outside those careers for most people. How many students would challenge their parents or be independent thinkers in creating or deciding on college majors/careers, especially if their parents and extended family are 'forcing' them to the 'tried and true' economical paths to success (engineering, computers, etc)? This being said, profs and even employers in America may prefer Indian students/graduates in these positions because they do do well in academics and also because of this very fact- not questioning authority/elders. Yes, I am not saying every Indian does not question, but that is a stereotype had here. It's better to employ a drone clone, a person who comes in does the job, gets the paycheck and goes home quietly, rather than a person who wants to challenge daily routines and innovate. And that's not to say plenty of American born Americans are not drone clones, I coined the term here back about 15 years ago. At that time I told people I wanted to live and study in India, and they asked, 'Wouldn't it just be easier to do what your parents want you to do and what the rest of your friends and peers are doing?" To that I asked "For whom would this be easier? Me or all others?"

Today I saw a funny commercial on TV here in America. The tag line was 'we put the NO in inNOvation!'. On those lines see this youtube video recreating barriers to innovation at NASA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_424YskAfew

Thanks for sharing this article!

mathew said...

@Nona
“we do lack proper career guidance and counseling.”
That is a core problem of our education system…esp in the school level there is absolute lack of guidance on which stream to choose after high school…
I think R&D centers in India are doing good..but still for many of em working there it is restricted by lack of funds and international collaboration….

@Sakshi
We cannot deny that Indian IT industry has bought a vast improvement in the standard of living…infact the very instance I am blogging is one such effect….Only wish that the entire next generation don’t fall into a trap of believing “that’s where I should be!”

@Karthik
First of all..thanks a lot for the wonderful long comment…it gave a lot of insights…but I don’t completely agree to the points in conjunction to this post….The post is not about why we are in current situation..the post is about why we should change!!

And well regarding the comment..

I agree two of the people I mentioned are not newbie’s…but the gist of the post is not about the era which they changed…that was an example to put across the point!!

The list of inventions or products you have mentioned are not big revenue generators which exactly is my point….Do you make more money selling a Computer or a shoulder bag?

“It is indeed that foundation of formal schooling, initiated by the Christians of the West, that has spread to the east, including to nations such as India, and ultimately led to a glut of scientific minds in the late 20th and 21st centuries even in our country!”

Again this is not my point….Probably they instigated a formalized education system which we have copied….But do we realize that the education system itself has evolved in the west over the past 50 years and ours are still stuck in a time machine for probably a decade or so??

“Hence, this progress is deeply intertwined with economic progress and you'll see our research and technological progress advance as we grow economically.”

This economic growth which you talk about here needs the change I am talking about….Our economic growth is heavily dependant on the demands of the outside world…Even the bell weather IT industry has to beg for projects in times of recession….the jobs which would eventually go to the cheapest place in the world…Whereas the economies I have mentioned (even if they are bearing the brunt now), the rest of the world cannot live without them…they make stuff we consume…

“Whether you concede it or not, although the evaluation of merit is rote based, the process of rational thought is still inculcated during the process of teaching and imbibing.


I am not conceding here…coz you are talking about some elite institutes...but looking at the bigger picture I have second thoughts about most educational institutes in our country about how much rational thinking is promoted…You must see how the sprouting entrance coaching institutes teach children…infact the schools are much better!!

@Prasoon
Thanks…I so agree that education system revamp is essential…I hope the new govt have a some better HRD minister!!

@Dhanya
Well I am not sure about IIM’s…but talking of IIT’s …its like…
They are the place where the cream of the country joins…and the facilities are better off than usual engineering institutes…but the faith multinationl companies have in them is sheerly due to the fact that the best study there and not coz the facilities out there are world class…the IITians are brilliant more coz of their own making than the institute’s….Thats what I think…I wish if some IITian could shed light into it..

mathew said...

@Bindhu
Aah…you should visit my college in that case…we have machines which now command a premium antique value!!

@ Philip
That’s a downside of it….The stress is on mass production of graduates…rather than quality….

“We teach our kids mathematics, but do not teach them to love mathematics.”
So so true!!!

@ Newbie Mommy
Thanks..and thanks for dropping by!! :)

@scorpiogenius
I must say am guilty of it as well…and am not proud of it…
I know many indians who are doing Ph.D in Germany…and the passion with which they do it really astounding…They are so focused about it…

“except for Defense & Space research, our authorities are a kind of indifferent to research activities in other fields.”

You got it partly wrong there…Space research..YES..but defense research..they are a white elephant…have heard about the mediocrity from the horse’s mouth itself…

@ Praveen
That’s how my generation grew up..I don’t know how the school students now think about career prospects….
“education system killed many a creative minds” yeah that happens in all societies…partly due to the system and to a extent due to lack of commitment from the student itself…

@Amal
Thanks… :)

@Jennifer
Thanks a lot for the inputs…Appreciate your and Karthik’s effort in giving so much insight…

I must guess that you might have had difficulty adjusting to the way of evaluation as done in India…It would be interesting to know if you feel there are any positives about the Indian education system in comparison to the western approach…

Every day survival is a problem in India…and the way India is progressing is different…we prefer to build 10 average roads than one world class road….its the same with education….We try to build as many schools as possible for education to be accessible to the villages….But at the same time it is necessary to upgrade the quality of these schools….

The reasons why students don’t opt for a different career is exactly the ones you mentioned….For vast majority of us the choice of education stream is determined by the pay package which it delivers…career streams are market driven….But that the same everywhere…even in west it’s the engineers who get paid more...and yet people don’t really go seek for it as passionately here…

That’s an interesting insight about why American employers prefer Indians…Being working in Germany I have felt exactly opposite here coz Germans don’t challenge orders…and Indians like to ask..;-P

“'Wouldn't it just be easier to do what your parents want you to do and what the rest of your friends and peers are doing?" To that I asked "For whom would this be easier? Me or all others?"”

Yeah….No one in India would ask that question….people are not encouraged to think for themselves…but rather asked to follow the trend….

And thanks for the awesome video…its so true…and infact that how things work in Manufacturing industries…..process. ..process...and process….that’s all you hear!!;-D

Jennifer said...

Mathew,
Hi!

What positives I got from my education in India?

The biggest positive I got was the people I met. Everyone I met helped me and by God's wonderful grace, everyone I became close to and all my friend's homes I stayed in were wonderful and cared for me like their own family member.

Of course good people pervaded the off and on campus experience.

The second memorable lesson I learned from studying in India was what I read in the books about culture shock for Americans in India, the theory is good to know, but it's nothing like living it. In India, as you said it's a collective spirit, much more so than in America. Being with the group and doing things together is valued over doing things alone. This was a shift for me.

Ok, to the academics. I am not saying it was bad. I am saying it needs to be improved and that there is not enough confidence in the academics that has been done in India over the centuries to be transformed into academic planning. There are centuries of religious and spiritual texts in India. These texts could have important information about social and cultural history of India. A creative mind can translate these stories into sociological texts for academics (taking out religious aspects if necessary). Basically, what I felt was that India does not have to look to the west for the primary stream of academic texts and planning, it's all within India. This is not just for social subjects, but science, math and many others. It could be a situation of not having enough confidence because so far texts come from the west (America) and are shipped world wide. Let's tip that balance. I want to see an academic text in America written in India! We can learn about world from another's perspective. That is the main thing I went to India for- to learn about life and academics from another perspective, and that's not what I got in the classroom from the majority of texts (there were a few texts written by Indians published in India...)

However, there were somethings about the academics in Madras Christian College that was familiar to what I experienced in America
1. Memorizing and taking a test. This is teacher dependent in the US, but for the most part things like getting the points down and writing to fill space, happens here too!
2. Coming for attendance and no class happens here too! Just happened to me recently here in college classes!
3. It's better to go with the flow of the teacher to get through class and not create waves.

I did create waves there because I had culture shock, but I realized here in US people do have more freedom to question the teacher, but most do not, in fact many do not. They just want to take the class, not offend the teacher to protect any grades from not being tainted by bad blood, pass and move on to the next class. I experienced this in an entrepreneur class I took here, just recently. Especially in a class on entrepreneurship you'd think people would question more, innovate more, think outside the box more, but surprisingly in my experience most were like sheep!!

The richness in the experience in India lies in interacting with the people, my friends, my 'amma' and the people in the slums, villages and other places I worked with through the agencies. That I could not have got from any book or any classroom lecture!

PS My husband is a Malayalee, works for Xerox, and has three patents!! :) He's always coming up with ideas to invent things - a creative mind!

DPhatsez said...

as a product of the passe indian system, I concur!
But of late, I'm witnessing a change in uni and schools. Maybe with time, finally we'll have people from other countries copy our stuff or listen to our orders for a change.

Wishful thinking?

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

@Mathew: I have usurped my comment for a post on my blog! I hope that isn't an IPR violation.

Biju said...

You are right! Our education system does need a revamp. I can clearly see the difference. My son feels so happy to go to school over here and does not like the holidays too much. They educate the kids through visuals, field trips & practical exercises on the other hand back home its how good you can memorise a topic without really understanding the why's and the how's. At the same time I'm a product of the same type of education.

Ordinary GUy said...

conpletely agree dude..... the system, our system is more oriented towards service providing rather than true innovation...

one of my cousins who is doing his post doctorate, recently made an abservation:
We indian simplly dont have the money to try innovation at the moment coz when we talk of innovation, for a good idea there are also hundred of failures..... and people dont want to invest in an idea... Hence we stick to reverse eng.. which we are good at......
makes sense actually.....

Anonymous said...

provocative post.and seeing karthik's comments ,i can see that this is one discussion that can go on forever.

Just one point,till the point,success is measured by running and winning someone-else's race,we will never be inventors.we dont give ourselves time to explore life.a job with a safe salary at 21 years,is the kind that can create more mall-gawkers and not more inventors.

Till the time,the standard of reference is the son/daughter of tat uncle/neighbour/colleague ,we will continue to be the human resource supplier to the world.Cheap Engineering resource
-Gireesh Subramaniam

mathew said...

@Jennifer
thanks again for giving those wonderful insights..

Everyone who is new India will have a learning experience....a westerner might find more cultural shock in India than a Indian who is going abroad..

"There are centuries of religious and spiritual texts in India. These texts could have important information about social and cultural history of India. A creative mind can translate these stories into sociological texts for academics (taking out religious aspects if necessary). "

thats again a interesting aspect..

MCC is one of the best colleges in India...and the system there must be considered as above par in comparison to regular standards...

and having a patent in your name is not a regular thing for even most scholarly Indians..and glad to know that about your husband..

@DPhatsez
yeah..i hope the change is coming..
Do read the comments from Jennifer and Karthik which gives lot of info..

@Karthik
hehe..ofcoz not...;-D

@Biju
That is some experience talking here..I have heard it from many indian who study abroad with prior learning experience in India..

@Ordinary Guy
bingo...you said it..you must definitely be knowing the quality of our college infrastructure esp in the labs..isnt?

yeah...we are generally less prone to take risks...thats probably in our genes..

@Gireesh
hehe...yeah..this was not intented to be a debate..but just getting across the point..

The trends you mentioned exists everywhere in the world..but most western countries have a small but dedicated research oriented entrepeneur group trying to come out with new things..

Thanks for dropping by..

Abraham Menacherry said...

Nice write up. I have felt very much the same....:)

Your para on exporting steel to china and they making the margins reminds me of APJ saying about "value addition". We need to move up the value chain in order to make the profits/innovate/invent.

Annie`````````````````````````````` said...

Necessity is the mother of invention. Our standards are in such a level that we are satiated easily by adaptation. Enthu comes from need/urge. Now the reproductions of this generation have to intitiate.

Pooja Nair said...

Mathew,

An issue very close to my heart.

Kids in India dont' study to learn things. They study to get good marks. Here lies the flaw.

There is zero emphasis on
nurturing creativity.

To be an inventor you need to think creatively.

International schools and some other cool schools in India function differntly.

My 7 year old nephew goes to a school in Hyderabad where they spend only 3 hours studying theory each day. the remaining 5 hours are spent in practical activities. He LOVES school and he is smarter than most kids his age.

We were almost never tought the practical application of stuff ... how would we know to invent things?

The creator of Spongbob Squarepants was a marine engineer. Can you imagine such whackines in a Marine engineer in India?

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

sorry mathew. cant agree with all of what u said.
true, our education system leaves much to be desired but we have produced big names in science and technology. what about cv raman, sudershan, khorana?
our scientists, in and out of the country, have contributed knowledge that have changed life, but recognition doesnt always come their way. gues u know that awards are not independent of political consideratioins.
the other day, an employee of a johnson pharma company was telling me of an indian researcher whose formulae for the aids drug was patented by the johnson company and is the most preferred medicine for aids treatment in the african continent on account of its efficacy and absence of side effects. he is an unsung hero.

guess you have heard of the malayalee scietist(Kartha i think is his name) whose contribution to DNA went unrecognised.

true. awards dont come our way. but we have innovators and discoverers in our land.

usha said...

well written Mathew.. though I'd look at it as two different issues.

1. That the education systems needs some serious revamp. What needs to be honed (more than tips n tricks on tapping the memory cells) are support and help the kids to think out of the box, innovate, ask questions, wonder, help them to believe that it's good to stand up for what they beleive, and have a view point and faith in themselves.. and a lot lot more..

2. second issue is that of invention.. i believe the basic preliminary education just provides an idividual with a platform. that's all about it. after that, its upto an idividual, how they make the most of the things at their disposal and accomplish what they really want to do. Then it's the "where there's a will, there's a way" thing.
i've been working for a product based MNC which was into technology development, and I know quite a lot of Indians who've gained many a patents 'for the company', even the ones as young as 25 yr olds.
but that's besides the point, as they don't make it big individually. Why? That's the social conditioning, probably.. we are never encouraged to think big, dream big..
there are a lot of people around who have invented many things which could be of considerable use for an average Indian. Inventions that could automate many a mundane tasks. But what happens after that? They dont have the funding. people who can provide the money, would have more faith in a foreign MNC which could give him a similar solution for 100 times the cost, or we'd rather invest in an equity based mutual fund, but we'd never do much to encourage an invention into a revenue generating venture. We just dont have enough faith in ourselves.

We're happy being the facilitators. The service sector. We are complacent.

Ok, we gained our country freedom from an outside ruler. But probably we've never grown out of what they had sown in our minds.. the way they conditioned us to just provide our raw materials, skilled labour, brains so that they can make the most of it and grow their economies, while we get paid with some breadcrumbs for our services.

Ah, Mathew, you made me think there.. and yeah, I guess I've far too exceeded the decent limit of a comment! I'd rather post it at my blog.

Pooja Nair said...

too many long comments to read and reply to eh?

You seem to have 'spark'ed quite a debate here! :D

Invisible said...

Matt.. i think the big point is being overlooked here.. the ponderings here and everywhere else including mine is the typical one from a well-off society stand point where the dilemma would have been choosing between ABC Xian school in D locn or XYZ Indian school in E locn.. its the question of seeing the night thru and watchin the sun next day which drives a huge portion of Indians.

and thats the big point i was sayin before.. we always blame population as our misery but then that is what is driving Indian economy across all sectors from the mass export of IT prof to the huge production of steel and gas, its the multitude or the manpower quotient which gives us a lift..

so instead of overhauling the well oiled education machinery we have(a product of which you and me are.. thank Providence), lets think about educating the many who dont know what schools are for.. the changes you say would require a tactonic shift in the mindset of an entire society or one-sixth of the mankind which still believes in pre-historic practices.. which is, to be frank, impossible in a generations time or even 2... it would be easier to give effective education to the economically downtrodden.. i mean effective and not the farce we do in the name of producing a good stat at the end of the year when we take the literate count..

and lets not forget, Indians have innovated a lot and provided more to the mankind, but not those tangible things to which our perspective is always limited to..alas..

Devil Incarnate... said...

we r the victims of entrance fever. I do remember the time, whn i wanted to do something which was considered bit revolutionsed, as i wanted smethin diferent frm enginnerin n medicine. Not telling that both r bad, i been one, it was more like others choosing my career rather than i choocsing what i want.
Bt i think nw things r cmin diferent, ppl r getting two many options, they r getting a chance to think n do out of the box...

mathew said...

@Abraham Menacherry
value addition is a trademark IT lingo..athu APJ use cheythoo..;-D

@Annie
"Our standards are in such a level that we are satiated easily by adaptation"
true...as you said the next generation might start thinking more innovatively..

@Pooja
"Kids in India dont' study to learn things. They study to get good marks"
you have pin pointed the root of the problem...I dont know when this attitude is going to change..competitiveness is good but it should not take enjoyment out of the learning experience..
talking or marine engineers..i think we dont have enough expertise out there..we are not really a maritime nation..:(

@kochuthresiamma p .j
"cv raman, sudershan, khorana"
yes..i dont deny it...i should have explained the names i mentioned more in detail..the discoveries by the Indian scientist and the influence of them in economic paradigms are negligible..
Infact we are good at medicine as many discoveries in that field are attributed to Indians... But what am talking about here are inventors or innovators who have bought a wholesome change or impact on our economy itself!!

@Usha
'we gained our country freedom from an outside ruler. But probably we've never grown out of what they had sown in our minds.. '
You have put the point very well... I think this is a gradual process and something we should encourage in the next generation atleast..

and ofcoz no issue with the length of the comments...the longer the more interesting it is to read in such topics..:-)
thanks..

@Pooja
hehe..I had a long week and plenty of time to read ..though was lazy with replying..:-P

@Invisible
That is a different prespective and I agree quite a lot to it..but i still believe that we should not be lethargic into believing in the 'well oiled education machinery'.
A well oiled education machinery would have made our country 100% literate a long ago..Therefore it is not well oiled as presumed to be...But I agree that we should not be admant about change in the system while ignoring the larger masses whom many not have access to basic education itself...Neverthless it is important to kick start somewhere however enormous the tactonic shift looks like...

India has provided a lot...there is no denying that...but not much that has benefited out country itself!!
thanks a lot for the interesting inputs...

@Devil Incarnate
That is a welcome change...and glad to know that things are different amongst students now..:-)

Sindia said...

Though our educational system, definitely needs revamp, that alone would not foster inventions.
Opportunities, fund.. all matters

Anonymous said...

Hey Mathew - My views are exactly similar to yours. But I blame not just the educational system but also the people of India. This problem is a 2-way problem. System is people. So the problem is with the attitudes and personality of the people. I see very smart desis in the US who once had lot of potential just be content with a template lifestyle like job, wife and 2 kids and 2 cars. But I did some more research than you (since you seem to be more lazy than me!)and I ran into some interesting things.

Lets divide the last 60-70 years into 2 chunks. TVs,Radios, Telephone etc, things like these have all been created many years ago and last 10 years and going forward there is scope only for things which are not physical objects visible to a layman( not the stuff lying in your house). Please go look up the number or patents held by Indians in companies like Microsoft/IBM/HP/SAP/Motorola/Adobe. These are all inventions..they are just not visible to layman who has lot of time to waste thinking abt dissing Indians. I am not going to list the patents as that is an assignment for you.

Goodbye and Goodluck,