July 31, 2008
campus, foss, nit, nitc, society
I met Deepak sir yesterday. He has recovered from chicken pox. He told me about his idea to start a Free Software Cell at NITC. For all the success of FOSSMeet, we really don’t have a free software community here. Deepak sir is very passionate about building a community. He feels that there is such a lot of potential in this campus that all it needs is a spark. He has given me the task of getting at least five to ten students for forming the body.
While I was with Deepak sir, Ramkumar sir came in and I got to know him better. Of course, he took Microprocessors and Microcontrollers for us last semester, but it’s difficult to get acquainted with a professor during a course, as the class strength is nearly ninty. Deepak sir asked him about the formalities involved in starting a new student club. Ramkumar sir did his BTech in the erstwhile REC during the eighties. He replied that in those days, all you needed was to get ten people together, find a staff advisor and submit a request letter to the Principal.
He talked about the active student groups and forums which had been flourishing then, and have since become extinct. Those where the days when politics was at its peak in our campus, and yet, he said, there were many active forums for discussing the issues of the day, entirely free from any political flavour. Debates are still held occasionally by the Literary and Debating Club, as competitions during culturals fests, but it is mostly debating for the sake of debating- and “soft skill” development.
I realize that the sort of campus Ramkumar sir talked of, no loger exists. When I look about me, I see mostly students glued to their laptops, engrossed in watching movies, unauthorized copies (the word “pirated” is unfair and inappropriate) of which are freely shared on our hostel networks and playing computer games which degrade your level of existence.
Another sad fact that is that there is practically no interaction between the faculty and the students except for the lectures and the labs. I personally feel that a free mingling of people of all ages is crucial to the health of a society. I know from my experience, that there is a lot to be learnt from elder people. I’ll write more about this later. This is a glaring deficiency in today’s campus.
July 25, 2008
The fifth semester has started. As usual, registration was Chaos, with a capital C. Anyway, completed it successfully! The first hour was Electronic Circuits-2 by Raghu sir. He didn’t take class, but made us share our experiences during the vacation. I talked to the class for a few minutes, about my experience working on Phoenix in Delhi. Deepak sir is down with chicken pox, so I couldn’t meet him.
This year, MHRD has removed the state quotas, which means that while half of the students are from Kerala itself, the other half are admitted purely on All India merit. There are over a hundred first years from Andhra Pradesh!
Besides, the number of seats has now crossed 700. In our year, it was a little over 450. I don’t know why they are increasing the intake without an improvement in infrastructure. Some of the first year students are now accommodated two in single rooms in the PG hostel. As a result, even the MTech first years are accommodated as pairs in those rooms which may be comfortable for a single person, but too congested for two.
It reminds me of the “mass production” which Deepak sir mentioned in his comment a few days ago. There is a huge demand for engineers in the industry, and my college is nothing but a supplier of “engineers”- commodities- to the “back offices of corporates”. It doesn’t matter that there are not enough hostel rooms… It doesn’t matter that most of the teachers now handle batches of over 100… It doesn’t matter whether anyone cares in the least what is being taught… There is a pay packet at the end of four years!
A factory churning out “engineers” by hundreds…
May 6, 2008
education, nit, technology
My friend Gokul considers himself as belonging to the class of people who feel that NIT is an acronym for “Not so Interested in Technology”! This class is really big, for your information. In fact, most of the NIT student community can be put into this category. I belong to this category, as well! Really, the only reason that I, and many of my friends are studying there, is that we used to do well in exams at school. Our aptitude for engineering was never really tested anywhere. We just prepared for some entrance exams which would get us into the most prestigeous institutions in the country. But why? No one really knows! Everyone’s satisfied to get placed in some company for so-and-so many lakhs, after messing around for four years. But for what? Why should you bother…