Monday, June 25, 2007

15 and choosing

Read this interesting article on education and careers.
I’ve always had this funny suspicion that we are a nation of engineers who wanted to be singers, doctors who wanted to be actors, and so on. This is partly because we are a poor country and everybody makes life decisions based on how much he will be able to earn. And partly because nobody ever advised us any better. And that has made us a weird society. A nation which at all times is running on half-steam because a huge percentage of productive citizens are just passing time — because they’re not doing jobs they’d really like to do.

And then found this article, Are you cut out for the Science stream? , which is probably meant to guide students after Std X ...
The very first qualifying criteria would be your academic performance in your Class X board examination. While technically even a 50 per cent would enable you to qualify for admission into science, only 85 per cent or higher would enable you to target your city's top-notch colleges.
Science in top-notch colleges is only for those who have proved their "science-smartness" in Std X!

Science is a course that requires a high level of commitment and focus. So, unless you have a reasonably strong interest in the subjects and are prepared to work hard for the next two years, science might not be for you.
Other streams neither require high-level of commitment and focus, nor strong interest and hard work ... that is news!

and concludes very aptly ...
As you can see, there is a wide range of options available to students who opt for Science. This is probably why most parents of students prefer this stream.

What about what the students would have rather chosen?

The counselors mention interest once, but not in the context of using it as one of the most important criteria. Agreed, bang-for-the-buck is an important criteria and 15 years is not when everyone knows what to do, but should not there be more discussion about what does being an engineer, doctor mean (both mainstream and non-mainstream views) and a contrast of what other conventional streams offer and what people with different backgrounds have done and achieved (again, both the mainstream and non-mainstream types).

As the first article states, this decision taking business at the age of 15 years sucks.

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Arvind Gupta Books and Toys, a great collection of books and toys. Incorporating books, science toys and experiments mentioned on the site as part of school curriculum would definitely make learning fun.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Hiked Naneghat last Saturday night. The picture is just before sunrise, taken from the base of the mountain (after we had hiked down). The 'V'-shaped wedge on the right is Naneghat, translated to English means 'tollway'. The pass was used as early as 200 BC and the cave on top has several inscriptions---some of which also suggest the oldest documented used of numbers.

Wikipedia link is here.

A link describing various treks in the Sahyadris is here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

new-age farmers

Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan.

helmet harakiri

According to this report, the TN govt. has relaxed the requirement of wearing helmets for women and children pillion riders. For all others, they are required to wear helmets.

Agreed, that most helmets are not designed for women, but what about safety? Isn't that supposed to be the primary concern.

Apparently there is more to helmet-for-safety than what meets the head!

A few years back (in 2005), the helmet rule was tried in Pune and other than the cost-factor there were other reasons to oppose it --- loss of hearing and move to help a relative who manufactures helmets.

"I will not wear the helmet from Monday. I will also not pay the fine to the traffic police. I will get myself arrested," said Vijay Kale, BJP city chief then. Corporators cut-across party lines to threaten a mass agitation and threatened a "helmet-todo" andolan.

Given the hazardous driving conditions on urban roads, designing low-cost, reliable, gender-conscious and comfortable helmets is the need of the hour and sounds like a good business idea as well!

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Is wearing a helmet mandatory in any city/state? and is it enforced?