Saturday, November 8, 2008

On spin offs and 75% attendance

Recently, while going through the websites of foreign universities, I came across an interesting term called spin off. In almost every department of every good university's website, a list of 2 or 3 spin off companies is given. From what I gathered, this term implies a tech-company which got started by a successful project undertaken by one of the students or faculty of that university. An example of this would be This is a spin-off company started by a group of MIT students and it makes very animal like robots which can be useful for a lot of purposes.

This led me to wonder whether it is easy to start a spin-off company from IITD. The answer I reached was, not surprisingly, no. After coming to IIT, the first thing I noticed that there was a desire to excel in the students in one field or the other. They would go for night outs for their plays and dance practices even if that meant missing classes or getting a low CG, because in IIT, that was their forte and they didn't want to give it up. Now let's say I have an idea for a project and I will have to spend as much time as I can in making it a reality. I decide to skip the dumb classes which are a pure waste of time and work on my project. But no, there exists a rule which says I need to have 75% attendance in every course if i wish to pass it. The 75% attendance rule is the worst thing that can happen to a person who wants to concentrate his/her energies on anything other than getting a good CG. I can't register for less courses because it would be a sin not to complete my degree in 4 years. I had once thought of completing my degree in 5 years, so that I could do it in a relaxed way and read as many novels and take as many trips as I want in that time. Apparently, it's a bad idea or atleast that's what I was told.

The administration is busy inventing new ways on how to make the 75% attendance rule stricter. I even heard there was a proposal of changing the 75% attendance rule to 90%. C'mon guys. If you really want us to attend classes, get good profs, make the classes interesting and make the students realize that what you are teaching has some practical importance. Scaring the shit out of people by telling them that CGPA is everything may make the students attend classes and mug up for courses but it cannot make them interested in a course or learn anything. Even if they do learn something, do we really want a generation of professionals who hate their job? I'm sure the IIT students have lots of interesting ideas that can lead to a lot of good spin-off's, which will also make IIT rich and improve the infrastructure and the quality of education. But our system needs a serious overhaul if that has to happen and 75% attendance rule is the first thing which has to be done with

1 comment:

Shantanu said...

Another great piece from the master of simple yet insightful and hard-hitting writing. ;)

You have a point. I had a workshop course this sem. We had to make a project. But the sad thing is that we get only 12 lab turns of 3 hours each to try our hands on the machines. Beyond that, we are not even allowed to enter the lab.

The system is getting less logical, and at the same time it is getting stricter. Thus we are being subjected to an ever-increasing pressure to do things which are becoming less and less practical and logical.

IIT is a lot different now from what it was 20 years ago.