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Rank is poor index of student's worth

Rank is poor index  of student
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Engineering education is still the first option for a majority of students in Andhra Pradesh. In spite of there being many colleges and newer branches...

Engineering education is still the first option for a majority of students in Andhra Pradesh. In spite of there being many colleges and newer branches spread all over the State, the demand for them is also unabated. Given EAMCET results, students and their parents are obsessed with the expectations on their rank. Everyone starts measuring both success and failure of a student based on the rank that he/she gets.

It's a mistake that most of us commit. We cannot and should not evaluate a student's academic progress with the 'one rank' he/she attains, whether it is above our expectations or below them. There is no need either to entertain or lose hopes on our children by taking this rank as the yardstick. Some students show spark early in their career. Others may take a little bit longer, maybe after they get into their professional courses. We are not supposed to 'pronounce' any 'last word' on anybody.

The culture of advertisement has now settled in even engineering colleges. This is a disease brought to us by corporate colleges in Plus Two sector. Amidst tall claims about their student's success by the management, parents and children are very much worried about choosing a college and opting for a branch. In my view, the first and foremost criterion we should observe in our selection is the teaching staff of a college, apart from its infra-structure. According to the recently submitted JP Report on conditions prevailing in Engineering Colleges, there are only thirty to forty colleges that can boast of the infra they have. Hence 'infra' is anyway out of reach for the maximum number of students; I would like to know who is teaching first year students.

I am told that fresh graduates and even fourth year students are teaching first year students. The staff list on the board could be misleading. Parents have to know and personally verify whether the people whose names appear on the board are really teaching in the institutions or not. The location of the institution is also a crucial factor.

We must also know about the management quota of the institution. Students that come through this window can change the very complexion of a class. Of course! Parents always enquire about the cut-off rank in a particular branch in a particular institution. It is always good to have such figures ready at our finger tips so that we can compare one figure against the other and come to an idea about their relative positions. It is better if we can keep accreditation reports of colleges available to parents in Telugu. Many students approach me with the classic dilemma 'branch or college'. I can only tell all of them that this country is in need of skilled engineering force in every discipline.

The branch can be 'civil', 'mechanical' or any other. What matters most is whether a student has sufficient grounding in his chosen area. I am told that many students, especially first year ones, end up with backlogs, a burden that pulls them down in their journey. I suggest that parents should visit at least once or twice in the first two months after admitting their children in order to see if they are adjusted or not to the conditions there.

How sad it is to know that there are 'Guides' available in the market for engineering subjects. Can't the government ban such kind of guides? As there is no novelty in examination question papers, students also depend on guides and previous year's material. Unless we change the way a question paper is set, we cannot change the way of teaching in a classroom. In addition to this, our very first year is too short in terms of number of working days. Our admission process is too long. It goes on unendingly. Here, the EAMCET convener must see that there should not be any admissions after August. In the first year, there should be at least 160 working days.

A panel of experts from University must visit every college in the first one or two months and give an 'inside talk' to students. These experts can give an overview of their subject. Every discipline must be put in a proper perspective to the students. This can be done by only an expert in a discipline. The universities shouldn't be content with themselves by just conducting examinations. We constitute teams to visit only when the private engineering colleges demand fee re-imbursement. It is unfortunate. Any visiting team that goes to colleges must give confidence to students and not resort to threaten the managements.

At the time of placements, industry people say that not even 20% of the pass-outs are useful. After completing their B Tech, students enroll in various courses to learn subject and face GMAT/GATE exams. It clearly shows us that the Engineering Colleges have failed to deliver and that is why we witness a mushroom growth in private coaching centres for every subject. It's high time we put a full stop to all these maladies and address all these issues with a positive frame of mind.

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