Thoughts in the atmosphere

Things of the world, and out of it.

Archive for May, 2022

The Education System

Posted by desicontrarian on May 10, 2022

Awesome, detailed and comprehensive analysis. But depressing. I have felt this whenever I participated in any school or even college practices, for example in the CBSE or state boards, or an Engineering college. A system of extreme scores-orientation and filtering, combined with a Potemkin village-like teaching, learning and evaluation. Even the post-graduate students and teachers show zero interest in any work. They are pre-occupied with finishing the portions, administration, event management and social ceremonies.

There is a system design for subtle racketeering everywhere. The syllabus is hopelessly broad, the subjects irrelevant to a future career, the practicals a farce, yet the frequent tests, homework assignments and examinations are strenuous. Without doing private tuitions with either the same teachers who officially teach in the class, or more expensive coaching classes, a student is not even n the good graces of the evaluators.

Added to that are the large-scale evaluation rackets. Scores are arbitrarily changed and even distributed in weird statistical patterns. In the ICSE batch 2013, out of 140807 students, no one had a score of 56-57, or anywhere in the interval 0-30 and 96-100, in English. In history/civics, computer applications, science and Hindi, remarkably similar patterns were observed. What is this special score between 56-57 that no student gets? For all subjects the list of un-attained marks is – 36, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47, 49, 51, 53, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 85, 87, 89, 91, 93. Yes, that’s 33 numbers!

Clearly, there is a systematic yet lopsided assigning of scores done at some central level!

Other types of bad ecosystems, money-making opportunites and general bad sanitation are well described by Shri Pankaj Saxena here.

But we need more dissemination of such diagnosis, more such system-level analysis. We also need to remove things from the syllabuses like:

– lettering in Engineering Drawing (in these days of fonts and CAD)
– Handy Andy in High-school English
– whether a subject in on a state list, central list or concurrent list, process for legislating money bills in Class 9 Civics
– whether rivers/mountains are epeirogenic or orogenic, in class 9 Geography.
– and innumerable others

I say this because the language of such texts is unreadable, difficult to retain and only encourages rote learning. Who benefits from such learning in 10-12 different subjects every year? This does not equip a person to increase his aptitude, do well in various competitive exams or interviews or get practical knowledge in a vocation.

What is the way to seed an alternative eco-system?

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Why Indian traffic is bad

Posted by desicontrarian on May 10, 2022

The lack of training before issuing a driving licence is the main cause. The DL acquisition process is a farce that results n a tragedy.

In Dubai, Singapore, Scandinavia or Canada, the trainee has to undertake a rigorous schooling in safety. Huge text books on rules have to be learnt. Things like
1. margin to the vehicle before you,
2 braking distance at 60 or 90 kph, (i.e. physics of deceleration)
3. always have a 3 sec distance between own and the vehicle ahead of you – as it takes about that much time to react to a sudden breaking by that vehicle.
4. signaling correctly before lane change,
5. Changing lanes only after yielding to all passing vehicles on the lane
6. yielding to the vehicle on the priority road (marked by a Yield sign on the non-priority road),
7. constantly watching the rear-view and the two side mirrors,
8. night driving without high-beam lights,
9. how to join and exit a roundabout,
10. catching the blind spot between the rear-view and the side mirrors when changing lanes
11. Overtaking only on the fast lane
12. Choosing the exit ramp to make an over-bridge U-turn (no U-turn allowed on highways)
13. Knowing when the red light is likely to come and decelerating before that, to avoid beating a red light
14. How to start from stationary, by signaling, looking for clearance and yield to “in-motion” vehicles before joining the lane.
15. How to yield to buses starting from bus stops.
16. How to overtake on a two-lane road, calculating the probability of an oncoming vehicle even when you don’t see it. Especially in curves.
17. How to slow down and stop at pedestrian crossings, and ask them to cross with courtesy.

are taught. The lessons last from 4-9 months. The final driving test is frequently not passed on the first attempt. A theory test of 50 questions, out of which 45 have to be correctly answered. When a learner passes a driving test, she/he celebrates as though she/he got a degree !

In contrast, In India

1. Drivers grab road-space
2. Overtake from the prohibited side
3. Drive in curves and zig zags
4. Come straight frontal at you from “your” lane (i.e drive on your left and their right side)
5. Do not signal while changing from stationary to start in a narrow, busy street.
6. Crowd each other out on railway crossings, blocking every one for 20-30 minutes.
7. Keep their side mirrors closed.
8. Do not slow down for pedestrians even at pedestrian crossings.
9. Have no regard for school zones and child zones.
10. Cross you from the extreme left to extreme right without yielding to you, who is going straight.
11. Have a “might is right” attitude. (Trucks, Buses, Mini vans, Jeeps, big cars, then small cars)
12. Never bother who is at fault. Lung power or muscle power is the decider.
13. Use high-beams to blind the oncoming driver.
14. Drive without lights in a dark night street, at high speeds.

The Govt. Road Transport Dept. policy contributes by

1. Releases unbearable (and increasing) number of vehicles to ply on bad roads every day
2. Do not enforce traffic rules on basic safety
3. Do not train their own traffic personnel.
4. Traffic staff is understaffed and underpaid.
5. Have speed bumps without markers. Some of them are so bad that they hit the chassis of small vehicles, at the slowest speed.
6. Make U-turns available on highways, instead of exit ramps and overbridges to cross to the other side of the highways
7. Do not enforce public transport only lanes
8. Do not have sidewalks for pedestrians, separate lanes for bicycles, hand-carts etc
9. Dig up roads and leave them without putting up boards and signals.
10. Leave manholes uncovered.

If this insane traffic culture on all sides is not the main cause of accidents, I don’t know what is.

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