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IITs and the Placebo effect

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IITs and the Placebo effect
On October 26, 2010, in Blog, Faith and belief, Serious, by Amiya (Edit Post)

Can you believe that? A country of over a billion people; India – one of the fastest growing economy in the world with an extremely large young population which is arguably the most valuable resource for the country’s future. Is it not surprising that not even a single University ranks within the top 200 in the world! What is even more surprising is that Indians are still at the forefront of every field – be it Industry and Finance at one end or corruption at the other! What is it that makes us so special that we seemingly work in ways that will surprise even God (for God our lives are like thriller movies directed by John Woo). Rather than analyzing everything I will consider the declining rank and status of the IITs – the premier institutes for engineering studies in India. The Times Higher Education Supplement or THES which publishes the most influential international ranking of world’s top universities, ranked IITs at third position, after MIT and UC Berkley for the year 2005!! Third in the world!!! If you do not believe me check the THES site for yourself. What happened since 2005 that an institute that was thought to be worlds third best got kicked out of top 200. Many would attribute the wonderful (negative) progress to our highly talented and very honorable Ministers of Human Resource Development – Mr Kapil Sibal (2009-present) and Mr Arjun Singh(2004-2009). While Mr. Arjun Singh can be considered the most worthless person on earth making the baseline so low that Mr. Sibal may appear a gizillion times better! The reality is that both of them are no good – while Sibal may be making genuine effort to improve the situation his Harvard degree is blinding him from that fact that India is not US. You cannot just bring the system that works in US and implement it in India hoping that it will have the same impact. While these ministers could not help but finger with the already working and well established IITs the progressive decline of these institutes can be pinned on to two critical points aptnk.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 1/11

While many would agree that these are the prime reasons why the rankings dwindled. The effect of the Placebo is real and measurable although the placebo is nothing more than a piece of inert material completely bootless. Book – The placebo effect: an interdisciplinary exploration By Anne Harrington aptnk. It is the belief of the selected few that IITs enjoy the status – when it comes to real parameters like infrastructure. PS: Do share your view in the comments section and share this post. The country certainly needs a large pool of good universities. even after considering the new ones. research output that measures how good an University is IITs cannot even be compared with the worst European Univ. The reason why the standards cannot be maintained if the number of IITs are increased or reserved for a specific group is because everything depends on selecting a very small number of highly motivated people and placing them together in a physically demarcated boundary AKA the IITs. the history of medical treatment is essentially the history of placebo effect[1]. If you look at any other university outside India the student intake will be easily around forty to fifty thousand which is many times over what one IIT will be housing! So why should we think that increasing the intake will hamper our standards? The answer lies in small sugar tablets. As THES moved to real indicators of how good an University is IITs started losing their grip. something a developing country cannot justify spending on. opening up dozen more IITs in quick succession. Rather it should leave the way IITs were a few years back and concentrate of further developing more NITs and deemed Universities and provide quality education. research facilities. For a country of over a billion without doubt the IITs are too small.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 2/11 . [1]. For the year 2004-05 the ranking was based on peer appraisal rather than true parameters. In the modern era the IITs are not created to cater to engineering needs of India rather they are created to develop a small army that will drain the developed world off its riches to bring prosperity to India. Reserving a disproportionately large (50% to be specific) percentage for students from backward categories. A sugar tablet given by the physician with a strong superstition that it is infact a potent drug and taken by the patient with an equal compliance can actually work better than the actual drug. The ONLY reason IITs have the name and reputation is JEE – an exam considered to be the toughest in the world. That actually explains the ranking by THES as well. I conclude by saying that we must let the placebo effect continue until we are capable enough to develop our own drugs. until recently. IITs are the sugar pills that was given to us with the belief that they were world class and we were the patients that took it with confidence. a selection procedure so stringent that less than 1% can survive it. while they can provide a bulk of highly talented people the IITs can provide the brand image and marketing. The top echelon of every field is headed by Indians (may be including THES itself) – it is not shocking that IITs ended up third. I certainly do not say that the number of talented people is in any way limited but the field of high end research and world class higher education is very costly.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect 1. The paneroma of treatment since antiquity provides ample support for the conviction that. Yes it is the Placebo effect. And those who survive that are convinced that they are the best and they are at the best place. Just opening up of new institutes and reservation of seats should not be a reason for dilution of standards. it would be too naive to settle there. 2.

all the brilliant korean or israelis are in US enjoying the dollars.what make other univ better is the phds coming out of them and no of publications and citations these publications get along with industry collaboration. Leave a response 27 Responses to “IITs and the Placebo effect” 1. Amiya says: October 26. please consider sharing it! Tagged with: IITs • Placebo effect • reservation • Serious 27 Comments.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect The Parliament is supreme – So if the parliament says Arjun Singh is a do***bag he will agree. but its only the hype (Placebo effect) that has kept them going on so far? Reply 2. research output IITs are not world class – So if you take the students in IITs and keep them in almost any University they will perform equally well. If iitians leave for the foreign univs how will the ranking go higher. Edit Post | If you enjoyed this article. A really good Univ is not meant to behave like that – A good Univ is one that provides ample opportunity to expand and progress without relying too heavily on the students being extraordinary. 2010 at 1:57 pm (Edit) the answer is not so simple. Thats why you dont see korean univs higher up the ranking. 2010 at 1:02 pm (Edit) Not exactly – What IITs have is their students – who themselves are the biggest assets – In terms of infrastructure. Kartik Prabhu says: October 26.Dont mind these comments are not personal.Consider stanford which has tie-ups with google or microsoft along with the quality of phds coming out of their univ many of who are indians from iits. Reply aptnk. Reply 3. Bibek says: October 26. 2010 at 12:17 pm (Edit) Correct me if I am wrong… you mean to say that IITs are not really that good (as compared to other world-class universities).in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 3/11 . What I’m saying is if you take the students out of the equation – IITs have nothing credit worthy. So anything that even slightly affects the intake of students will have a large consequence on the standards.

only if doing a phd in iits would be considered great why would not iitians do their phd at their alma mater…Its just the case how football and cricket are treated in India… @Amiya compared to iits foreign univs pay more. Reply Amiya says: October 30. Vinayak Pathak says: October 26. 2010 at 9:21 am (Edit) Precisely thats the point why they cant do a phd here if they think they are the best in the country.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect 4. Reply Bibek says: October 30. I would like to go one step ahead and say that even the student quality is horrible. there are some students who really are full of passion for something.but what about the rest . they want to bring some kind of change in the world etc etc. 2010 at 9:21 pm (Edit) the thing is most of the indians or iitians always want to do it the foreign way i mean if it were not for their prestige issue then what else is it?if someone says he is doing his phd in stanford.almost everybody wants to do higher studies outside India.loads of money. Kartik Prabhu says: October 26. but in India its only research.love and research . You thing a guy will spend 5 years on study at a low scholarship if money was his motivation? That is like dating Rakhi Sawant because marrying was your intention….Even when friends chat all they talk abt is girl or money and very little about research.the rest say facilities and infrastructure for diplomatic reasons. So a guy doing phd in India have to spend his research yrs in isolation.what do ppl ask?u must be enjoying a lot.nice american chics.i know abt u doing a phd out of sheer interest and passion. True. 2010 at 10:49 pm (Edit) In fact.But if u r doing from iit they say why u didnt get a job or do u want to go to academic line as if u are a loser or something.obviously if a guy is doing phd at iit he has nothing to talk abt but research. 2010 at 9:34 am (Edit) I can’t understand where is the point? So you say if you’r the best you should knowingly select a shit hole to do your PhD? 50-60% say Money? How many have you asked 2 people? Those doing MS may be doing it for money but PhD – no way. watching aptnk. But most of them are losers who just want to spend their lives sleeping. If all they want is money they would not do a PhD.that was my point.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 4/11 .50-60% say money.u will find that many phds from iit go and stay and settle in USA…If it is not money is it cooler climate? Reply 5. Reply Bibek says: October 30.not why iitians shud stay in india?i am saying if they stay only then can the raise the standards of iits.Ofcourse they have better labs and wonderful facilities but the real topic here is why is IIT declining. 2010 at 9:51 pm (Edit) @ Amiya: agreed 100% @ Bibek: Why should any prospective PhD not go to the US if he gets a better research environment and better facilities? If you think people do PhD in the US for the money then your are greatly mistaken.So what is the motivation when u r studying abroad money. but get an MNC job.

Reply Kartik Prabhu says: October 27. IIT. failed to provide proper facilities and opportunities which just killed all the tempo. I know (personally) plenty who were supposedly ‘losers’ in IIT but today are at some top notch position. Karkare says: October 28. What I expect from a good university is that it can motivate and direct even less motivated students. IITs scores less than 0 on this ground. But this is also fact that not all of them were like that few years back. I am not sure about all the departments of all the IITs.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect movies and getting high with friends. but with my own personal experience. It expects its students to to do all the good work. IIT’s were not a money making machine. Chitresh says: October 29. if making money is your target then going for PhD is the worst decision. In my opinion good faculty can compensate the poor infrastructure to some extend. most of them (easily > 50%) are not at all concerned to do anything good. A very large fraction of people getting through the JEE now consists of people whose only motivation is to get the IIT stamp on their CV’s so that they can get a well paying job. At that time. I agree that by the time students graduate from IITs. The reason why IITians are at the frontier of so many things in the world is because these are the IITians who graduated twenty years ago. the IITians who graduated 20 years ago were also ‘losers’ when they were in IIT. I don’t think that IITians will continue to be at the frontiers of things 20 years from now. @Amiya – Totally agree Reply Amiya says: October 28. 2010 at 12:37 am (Edit) saying @ Prabhu links to some other guy on Twitter that is not me… Reply Amiya says: October 27. when they got into IITs.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 5/11 I can do it… . 2010 at 11:09 pm (Edit) Hmm…Vinayak…I’m feeling a little uncomfortable saying this but the loser you described here in somewhat fits me (in terms of sleeping and watching movies) @Prabhu Agree. infrastructure etc. 2010 at 9:29 am (Edit) LOL Damn this auto parser…. and so only those people used to get through the JEE who were genuinely interested in the subjects they were studying. as a university. I can say without any doubt that IIT faculty is really really horrible. Reply 6. 2010 at 3:38 pm (Edit) @Vinayak – Dude. 2010 at 4:48 pm (Edit) @ Karkare thanks for the encouraging words Reply 7. The only thing they want is a good/decent paying job. while the faculty and aptnk. providing facilities. 2010 at 12:35 pm (Edit) I partially agree with Vinayak. Reply Amiya says: October 26.

which is just about scoring good marks in exams and not at all about the actual knowledge. aptnk. If you pay peanuts you will only hire monkeys. In any case I am sure its different. Reason is not that they pay less (they give you just enough money to get a “below average” life.most of the profs like (pregnent of elec. Reply Amiya says: October 29. 2010 at 9:28 am (Edit) @chitresh if you think the faculty is so bad. 2010 at 4:34 pm (Edit) Behera is taking Ganga these days… Chitresh says: October 31. Now that could be tricky as it would mean discriminating profs from IITs from other univs. Most of them get into IITs without even knowing what engineering is all about.am) dont even know how to speak because they graduated from jadavpur univ or some stupid college. I think faculty is an avenue which is easier to handle and can have large effect on the standards. I also agree that there has been some change in the mind set of students. Although the way professors are paid in India is too problematic. 2010 at 1:54 pm (Edit) Well said Chitresh. Professors much like doctors are highly talented people and one should not expect them to get stuck with a low paying job for the society’s welfare. but it would be easy to find. 1) PhD is NOT at all about money. Let me state and re-state few things. But only a small percentage of them come to IIT to pursue science and engineering out of their own interest. 2010 at 9:03 pm (Edit) IIT faculties already have different pay structure than other universities.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect administration is busy with chilling-out and scamps. Reply Bibek says: October 30. I say the government should pay professors better than what they are paid in the states (in terms of PPP).why dont u become one and prove it wrong.more so due to lack of iitians going into academics bcos they love either foreign univ or mncs these losers came into iit to destroy it. 2010 at 9:09 am (Edit) Bibek. They just follow the ‘hype’ among fellow students or even worst: fulfill the dream of their parents. Reply Chitresh says: October 29. If you are not interested in the topic you would prefer to have half the salary with normal job life. Remember. Look what they have made it. I do not know the exact hierarchy.u think twice b4 coming into their class. once there was a strike of IIT faculties and the agenda of the strike was that IIT faculties were getting smaller perks and/or salary than faculties in other universities.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 6/11 . There is no doubt that most of the students coming through JEE are smart. Reply Amiya says: October 30. My stipend is half the median salary of USA & I am quite sure that its among the best PhD stipends you can get in US) But at the same time they screw you like anything. I would also condemn the whole Indian education system.

The number of people. they never were up. Other go to abroad just to get better faculty and better research position. I agree we cannot be on top in the true sense (at least for next 20 years or so) but we sure can continue producing top notch students who will be on top of these top univs/companies…So that indirectly we will gain more than what a top univ can. etc). has decreased it research grants to a third of that given last year. Reply Amiya says: October 31. It’s a statistical impossibility. you are not losing anything. like micro-fluid dynamics at IIT-kgp. You have limited resources. forget about it. it must have been because of the methodology of the rankings. Reply bibek says: November 1. unless we find a God who is not Google. The reason is simple.if you are not going to stay in India in academics how can u talk abt it not going ahead. then I might end up being faculty at some IIT. I just said what’s true. You would have heard that UK govn. Well.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect 2) People do go to IITs for PhD. No matter what you do. There has to be struck a balance. 4) No Indian gets even a single American ‘Chick’. You cannot do that. aptnk. you cannot decrease the population.we will continue to do so. if the concerned field has reputed faculty. If they were up ever.i think we are constantly progressing. of which high quality education is an indicator. 2010 at 9:26 pm (Edit) @Amiya remember i dont require ganga to be high Reply 9. 2010 at 10:41 pm (Edit) The issue was why IITs are slipping in rankings. 3) India also does not have any good politicians. Tushar says: October 31. As far as not making to the top notch is concerned. 8. and no matter what you do you cannot increase the resources in the proportion that would assure you the level of prosperity. Dont worry. This does not make me responsible to become a good politician. with which to feed the billions and make prosperous a few thousands out of those billions (like the IITians/IIMains.compare to the infrastructure that we had 10 yrs ago. For that matter they also do not get any Korean / Chinese / Mongolian / African or even Indian Chick. Bibek says: October 30. Any Indian university will not be able to make it ever. as far as I know.who knows by the time ur child comes to iit the ranks me be a order higher Reply Tushar says: November 2. 2010 at 6:41 pm (Edit) I am not leaving India And it is not about the attitude. 2010 at 9:04 am (Edit) tushar very negative attitude. 2010 at 11:53 pm (Edit) Yes I heard about the new policy of UK govt. If I am able to complete PhD & like teaching after that with all other factors are in place.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 7/11 . It’s never gonna happen. forget about ‘chicks’. or some goof-up (as already shown).

I’m really surprised to see that students were attending his class even if he was not taking any attendance. My point is courses are far away from the real world. All the courses take bottom up approach. 10. They do not motivate a student. Even my professor was very impressed with the work. Any one of these would help improve the condition. Problem is teachers don’t have the same passion that students have when they entered IIT. Their response was not again motivating. another highly unlikely situation and we decrease the intake of the students (close to impossibility). Adv. I did three courses on operating systems (CAOS.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect Reply Tushar says: November 2. we increase the research grant to the IITs/IIMs/IISCs/AIIMS etc. the only possibility is that somehow we get word-class professors (I don’t know how). but not above what was there a decade or two ago. They entered into IIT with lot of hopes and great expectations. 2010 at 12:44 am (Edit) aptnk. Frankly. by a disproportionate amount. IITs could have been in top ten institutes if these students (Human Resources) were properly used. OS). 2010 at 12:13 am (Edit) I absolutely agree with Amiya & also with Vinayak Pathak “there are some students who really are full of passion for something. its very complex”. OS. sadly). I heard about him from my 2nd year but took his class in 5th year. 2010 at 6:45 pm (Edit) And if we want to improve the situation to some level (best is not possible. I said “OK. In my 3rd year I designed 14 experiments for Computer Networks course thats going to be started.Pawan Kumar. it is purely responsibility of the teacher to cultivate interest among the students. In fact if you see most of these losers are good in their first/second semesters. They got some best class 12 students in the country. Under these circumstances how can one expect a class 12 student to get motivated by himself and be successful? How can one expect good research when there is no relation (continuation) between projects done by a senior and junior? Like Karkare said (above) “IITians who graduated 20 years ago were also ‘losers’ when they were in IIT. they were never included my experiments in to that course. I’ll take up that complex task will you guide me through this”. They were successful persons who were & still are capable of doing amazing things. They are not interesting. I carefully designed these experiments by discussing it with real world Network Administrators and Network security experiments.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 8/11 .” Because the system has been like this from then and it is after getting out of IIT (or in final/superfinal year) with matured minds these so called ‘losers’ become successful persons by making “real” things in this “real” world. They said “no. KishoreKumar says: November 4. Reply Amiya says: November 4. etc. But most of them are losers who just want to spend their lives sleeping. Its these professors and the kind of education system that ruined their hopes. But what’s the use? I did that course after 2 years. just think about how many teachings have made you think about the subject? How many teachings have made you attend the classes because you found them interesting? One example that can be pointed out here is lectures of Prof. What find most funny is that they take feedbacks from passing out students but they never really “feed it” to the system to improve its output.” Couldn’t agree more on this but the reason behind this is those damn professors and their #$!@%# teaching. They never take a top down approach. I can go on and on. When these so called “loser” students entered IIT they were not losers. I know many of my friends who did these courses got Ex & A grades but don’t know how and whats of the networks they are using. they want to bring some kind of change in the world etc etc. What kind of courses are those even after completion if I won’t be able to understand what’s happening in the operating system I’m using. watching movies and getting high with friends. In all three courses I went to professors and asked if will I be in a position to write a new tiny operating system by the end of the course.

Reply Leave a Reply Logged in as Amiya. Just go to MIT open course ware or Stanford Center for Professional Development My god the courses are beyond imagination.in/2010/10/…/comment-page-1/ 9/11 . The way the professors teach is mind blowing. I hope something is done about it in the near future.04-11-2010 IITs and the Placebo effect @ Kishore you summed it up well man. Log out » Submit Comment RecentPosts Categorical Entry Blog (15) Entertainment (4) Faith and belief (3) India (1) irregular (5) PhD nerds (2) Serious (4) Society (1) Technology (2) Television (1) Gallery (14) Abstract (3) Black and White (2) Nature (3) Print Media (4) Still Life (2) Video (2) Research (12) Computer Vision and IP (3) Energy (3) fun (3) Machine Learning (2) Natural Language Processing (1) Photovoltaics (2) Soft Computing (4) Web and CMS (1) Archives aptnk. if students at IIT get such teaching God knows what will happen!! And at the end of it students submit a project implementing what they learned – take a look at them each project is worth publications.

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