The miles to go before I sleep...

  • Start teaching science at school and incorporate demo
  • Research, design, implement comprehensive teaching module on science, civic sense
  • Interview social change agents working @ ground level
  • Pilot peer-to-peer teaching programme

Sunday, November 13, 2005

BE Vs. B.Sc

Say the word "India" and the first that would come to people's mind all over the world is IT. For sure, IT boom has catapulted India's image from poor beggars capable of sleeping on a bed of nails or snake charmers who can also charm ropes, to smart, intelligent, adaptive, ambitious and most importantly, English speaking technologists and businessmen. In other words, India is a big talent pool, a large overseas market and hence a very fast growing economy. Its good to see India trying to take steps to maximise the opportunity it has got.

But I guess there are certain issues that are not yet addressed. No, I am not talking about the elimination of poverty or corruption. Those are oft discussed, but stagnant topics. I am talking about the educational stream Vs. career prospect lopsidedness.

If you are scratching your head about what I am talking about. Here is the scenario. Today, if one graduates out of any college (not necessarily a reputed one) as an engineer, he/she has a bright chances of landing in a decently paid job (More often than not, that job will be IT related). But, barring a very few exceptions, a science graduate has virtually no chance of getting placed anywhere. And I see only *one* reason to it. Service-oriented IT companies limit their technical workforce only to BE graduates. The notion among the companies' hiring team that a mechanical engineer from a not-so-great college will be a better fit than a B.Sc. CS graduate for a computer programming job is nothing more than superstition.

This creates an unequal distribution of job prospects across different educational fields. Having spent a few years of my lifetime in the US, (where else!) this is one clear difference that I have noticed between the two countries. Any educational qualification (even high school) has a sizable pool of jobs that one can land in and make both ends meet. (That explains the fact that a very low percentage of high school graduates go on to graduate with a Bachelors degree in the US). The question here, is "Will I ever get a job?", the question there "Will this qualification fetch me a job that will pay me well enough?".

To reach there, we should work on redistributing the educational qualification Vs. job-prospect mismatch. For starters, I would suggest that the IT service oriented companies start hiring from relevant science graduates (with say, CS, physics or math specialisation) for atleast some of their jobs. (After all, we are still doing more service than innovation). If my guesses are not way off, this might trigger a lot of other phenomenon. More high school graduates will consider science specialisation as a viable option (rather than paying huge capitation fees to engineering colleges). With more students from science colleges getting place in reputed firms, reputation and hence competition among institution will increase. This will in turn, lead to improvements in infrastructure.

On the other hand, with more people going for science field, a number of engineering colleges whose infrastructure is no more than rooms, will disappear allowing the universities to concentrate better on improving the quality of engineering education and infrastructure. Infrastructure improvement in engineering by itself is worth another blog. I hope to dedicate one for that in the near future. For now, its for you (sitting across the table) to put your thoughts OverTea!


JC Joshi said...

Hi Badhri,

It is a well known fact that for any continuing system, it is necessary to go into its history. Purely for the sake of discussion, and speaking frankly while hoping that one wouldn’t mind it, comparing USA and India in the present, without discussing the background of the evolutionary processes, is like comparing the fruit with the roots, respectively, of say an apple tree, and reporting the finding that they look different! And, on top of it, wanting the tree to consist only of fruits! Even geographically the two are located in diametrically opposite directions! “East is East and the West is West/ Never the twain shall meet,” perhaps describes the truth of the ever changing eternal universe.

Now, one would say that earth is in existence for 4.6 billion years, whereas man appears to have landed upon it under 5 million years ago only, which itself is a very long period compared to the average life span of man in the present. And, thus even with the help of Archeology, history of Homo Sapien is only recorded a bit clearly in the Christian Era as seen through the western eyes.

In so far as History of ancient ‘India’ is concerned, the interested person would need to guess the possible level of achievement in the past from the mythological stories with the background knowledge of the presently enlarging knowledge that still is in a rudimentary stage. And from the brilliance of the ancient man made creations in the present ‘India’, particularly in its temples that attract visitors from different parts of the world, as also from the fact that even after downfall of the ‘Hindus’ at the end of the Vedic Era in the 6th century B.C., the westerners reported seeing ‘Indians’ doing rope tricks, and so on, as you have also indicated, when they arrived here in the 18th century A.D! Even today in India there are people - in certain pockets only - who are performing ‘miracles’, who do not come under lime light because of cheats overshadowing them, a known property of Kaliyuga.
Best wishes.

Badhri said...

Mr. Joshi,
Thanks for caring to visit this not-so-visited blog of mine and putting down your thoughts.

When I mention about the "rope-charmers" I just trying to project that as one of the things that a westerner would relate to India. My attempt, even now, is not the qualify the act as truth or myth. Like it or not, such an associative thinking is unavoidable, either to them or to us and I believe time is not worth spent exploring such topics.

By the way, would you agree to my observations and my approach to solution?

JC Joshi said...

I was not aware of ‘blogs’ till I read an article in the TOI in Feb. And, ‘by chance’ clicked on a blog by Kavitha, which led me to yours as also Maayaas!

In brief, the status of human resource in India as we see today is an outcome of innumerable changes in administrative systems occurring from ‘time’ immemorial...

We were relatively peace loving and content people when we achieved political independence from the British in the year 1947 (at midnight of the 15th August)...

Although, in spirit, we wanted to reach the peak as in the ‘golden past’ of Taksashila and Nalanda, we flowed along with the West, naturally perhaps, like logs of wood that flow wherever the current in the stream takes them. Only those that happen to remain in the ‘midstream or middle path’ perhaps can reach their goal – the ocean… Thus besides ‘luck’, time obviously plays an important part...

And, from information available, despite the ‘vagaries of nature’, ancient ‘Hindus’ appear to have done in-depth study of Time and related behaviour of man over long spans of time. They had reached the conclusion that the Creator is formless and without His will even a leaf cannot flutter…

With the above in mind as a possible ‘truth’ let us proceed with the discussion, accepting the present day truth of man as an independent doer, which in fact anyway is true even with the ancient thought, “Aham Brahmasmi, or Shivoham.”

However, one would need to be conscious of the extent of data to be taken into account, i.e., the innumerable Shivas! For example, in any thoughtful proposal you would need to take into account the destructive form of Shiva or the youth that has already gone or are going going astray because they didn’t have the right opportunities to become literates and they instead got/ are getting ‘education’ from other sources on account of rebellion against the society that is at the helms of affairs - always apparently shortsighted ones despite the advancement in IT!

JC Joshi said...

Hi Badhri,

I am sorry if I have discouraged you from further postings. That wwas my frank opinion, without malice towards anyone, for I believe in God and am convinced that He wouldn't leave everything to man. He is perhaps studying outcomes of various permutations and combinations of thoughts through innumerable models. Even a computer programmer today, despite apparent erratic human behaviour, is supposed to take into account all possible eventualities while he writes a programme...

Please feel free to express your thoughts without bothering for comments of others...

Badhri said...

Oh Mr. Joshi!
You have not discouraged me at all. I infact love and welcome comment for and against my opinion equally alike.

Finding a topic worth taking sides and , thinking up reasons for and against taking to back-up ones position needs a lot of time. Of-late, I had been too busy to really care about looking around for such topics, let alone posting it. But please keep visiting and dont get disappointed about not finding a new post most of the time. It is coming.

Thanks a LOT for your concern.

smiley said...

You are absolutely right. There were a million times i wished, had that piece of paper (BE). I am a science graduae and by God's grace i have a good decent paying job. There are not so intellegent BE guys and brilliant science graduates. All this happened due to our educational reservation system and capitation fees. Science graduates need a second chance.

Badhri said...

In a way, reservation system did play a part. But not so much, IMHO. I feel its more due to the skewed opinion in IT (as I mentioned in the blog). I mean, if there was no reservation, a guy studying in a bad engineering college would have studied in better enigneering college. Where does the B.Sc. scenario come into picture?

Thanks for visiting my blog and participating in the discussion. I badly need to update this one.

EdMcGon said...

Badhri, even in the U.S., IT people are highly over-rated. They tend to be treated like witch doctors by others less educated in computers.

Personally, I have a degree in English, yet I work in the IT field because I have a natural affinity for computers and software. These are not difficult things to understand, yet most people seem to get glassy-eyed when you try to explain the concepts.

On the other hand, my father is a PhD chemist. I have had conversations with him about chemistry, but I admit to struggling with a lot of the concepts there. The logic in chemistry is far more complex than computers.

Dondu(#4800161) said...

எனது பதிவில் வந்து பின்னூட்டியதற்கு மிக்க நன்றி பத்ரி அவர்களே.

நான் ஒரு வடகலையைச் சேர்ந்த ஐயங்கார். எனக்கு பார்ப்பன இனத்தின்மீது மிகுந்த பற்று உண்டு. நான் ஒரு அய்யங்கார் ஜாதியைச் சேர்ந்தவன்.

எனக்கு ராஜாஜி பிடிக்கும். இஸ்ரேல் பிடிக்கும், சோ பிடிக்கும்.

பெண்கள் சுந்தந்திரமாக எல்லோருடனும் எப்போதும் உடலுறவு கொள்ளப் பிடிக்கும்.

Badhri said...

Thanks for your views. Actually, I completed my Masters in the US (hence stayed there for 4 years, till 2005)and can relate to what you are saying when IT guys become witch doctors.

டோண்டு அவர்களே,
என்னுடைய இணையதளத்ததிற்க்கு வருகை தந்தற்க்கு மிக்க நன்றி.

ஆண்-பெண் சமத்துவம் காண்பது நன்று. ஆனால் அது இறுவருக்கம் ஒழுக்கம் கற்ப்பித்தால், அது சமத்துவம் கூடிய மேன்மையன்றோ?

இந்த ச்ங்கதியில், ஆண்கள் செய்வதைப் (பலருடன் உடலுறவு) பெண்கள் கடைப்பிடிப்பதைவிட, பெண்கள் செய்வதை ஆண்கள் கடைப்பிடிப்பது உத்தமம் என்பது எனது கருத்து.

ஒருவனுக்கு ஒருத்தி என்பது ஆன்மீக வழியில் ம்ட்டுமின்றி, மருத்துவரீதியாகவும், மிக இன்றியமையாதது.

Please visit

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

One reason I could think of why B.Scs are under estimated. 3yr B.Sc vs 4 years BE. I totally agree that knowledge and degree may be unrelated to major extent (pls note the word "may be"). Kamarajar studied only till 5th, Subramaniyam swami is a lecture in Harvard.

IT is over rated, just like director Maniratnam being over rated. He is better than the mass masala film makers of India, yet makes movie reachable to public (little masala ?!).
In other words, General public can get glimps of IT field and admire it. In case of other highly-qualified-scientists (say your father), general public can not even think to admire.

Prabu Karthik said...

sensible post!
Came here thru yr cousins's blog..
I completely agree with you!

I think this BE phenomenon has its significance because of the ease of Visa formalities for our IT majors.

They would have had a tough time explaining how a three yr degree graduate can do the developer's job to the consulate i guess...

Most of the IT majors here made a killing on the body shoopping route and thats why there came a spurt in dubakoor Eng. colleges and 'BE at any cost' students and parents..