"TOPPER, huh ?!!! " , SO WHAT ??


( Karka kasadara karpavai , katrappin nirka atharku thaga )
This is a couplet from the ne plus ultra of tamil literature – thirukkural ,and I guez, this means
“whatever u learn , learn with full understanding , and after learning , follow them”
Incidentally ,i stumbled upon this website which dealt extensively with the greatness of the kurals and , to my surprise , i realized that i remembered only one kural of the 1330 that i had learnt as a child, in my first standard !! Ironically , its the one that is quoted above !!!

Coming to think of it , it hit me hard that we spend most of our lifetime learning , sorry , reading things that we hardly remember …In fact , i don’t even remember 1/4 th of what i read in my last semester !!!I also know with certitude that i’ m not traveling alone in that boat..

Strange , but its true …

There is no thirst for real knowledge , only thirst for MARKS…

However it wouldn’t be fair to condemn the student community for this frame of mind, entirely…A major part of the blame has to be borne by the so called pedagogues …The reasons are :

1)The assignments given to the students are totally nonsensical !!
“Write a report on any IEEE paper ” , they say , but , is it possible for us to write a condensed report on a work done by a scientist over a couple of years , in a couple of hours ???

2)”Just read my class notes …u’ll get centum in the exams!! ” ,they say ,but what’s the point ??Half of it makes no sense (even to the lecturer ,i’m sure b’cuz the original notes would belong to some professor which the lecturer would go thru only while dictating it in the class) ..So, the only way to do reasonably well in the exams is to “mug up” the notes , without understanding what its about..!!!

3) “But sir , the answer is perfectly right !!” , we say , but they say, “but , u’ve not written it for a whole page !! ur handwriting is bad too !!Where is the word “works”,btw ?? u’ve written “functions” instead :-p” ; “but sir …”, we say again , but it falls only on deaf ears !!

4)”Ma’am , how is Ic=10Ib ??” , we ask .. they scratch their heads for sometime and say , “its the thumb rule and its outta scope of ur syllabus .. so jus remember it “….Awhile later , we say ,” But , division by zero yields infinity !!How is it zero here ??”..they say ,” Stop asking such impertinent questions .. Come to my cabin if u have doubts!! ” ( and , guez what ??they are never in their cabins !!)

5) In a lab class , we have to do an experiment .. the results are nowhere close to being perfect..we call the teacher for help … He meddles with the CRO , and still its “nada” ..He says “The CRO is not working ! get another one !” and promptly leaves , sry , escapes !!Then we call the attender to change the equipment .. He says “Its working , see ?!!”.He (attender) turns a few knobs , and lo behold !! the result is precise !!!!!!

6)”Ma’am , we’ve written more points on the Einstein’s theory, in our assignment than ’em..so , why hav we been given jus 15/20 while u’ve given ’em 19 !? ” , we ask .. They say “look at their front page ! see how colorful it is , and look at urs ;all black and white !!!,uff…”

7) “The first internal test begins on 18th of this month and the second , on 1st of next month…so , i’ve to hurry up and complete the portions !!!So ,please bear with me and cooperate !! i’ll hold extra classes ..”, they say ..Why can’t they prepare the exam schedule in such a way that there s adequate time gap for both the students and teachers to take a break and do justice to their jobs ??

8)A tricky problem which tests the student’s understanding of the concept is asked in the question paper , and the next day , the teacher announces in the class :” Don’t worry , i’ll award full marks to all the students cuz it was not taught in class !!” ..then whats the difference between those who’ve actually understood the concept and answered it rightly and those who’ve not ??Where is the demarcating line ?? Should everything be spoon fed , even at the university level ??How will the students get motivated to read further and enhance their understanding , if marks are to be gifted this way ??

The list jus goes on and on ….
If we hav to seek “real knowledge” , we need a motivation …Needless to say , MarkS are important and fair allocation of marks to deserving students is a motivation in its own way…Teachers have to act as role models on “how to be ” and not on “how not to be !!”…

Well, enough of the blaming game .. Lemme shift the focus onto students , now…All said and done , “where is our burning desire to do justice to our jobs ??”.. Why do we go behind the teachers , asking for important questions ,b4 the xams ?? Is it necessary to know the questions beforehand ?? Is it the only way to do well in exams ??Well , there s a thrill in writing exams , if u ask me-the thrill of cracking the toughie , sitting in the exam hall , based purely on our understanding (without knowing that it would be asked : on- the- spot tackling, its called)…
“why is it that we are satisfied with the results and not bothered abt the means of achieving it ??”
“why do we feel immense pleasure in calling ourselves toppers ,when we know that we don’t genuinely deserve it !!”

somehow , that s how the world is !!
Its more about achieving results with the least possible amount of work !!
How right Darwin was when he put forth his theory on “survival of the fittest “!!
We make ourselves flexible to suit our own needs !!
So what if the kural defines what “real knowledge” is ?? Practically its not possible to realise it…

with regrets ,


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