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What is plaguing higher education in India?

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By Dr. B. M. Hegde, India [ Published Date: January 29, 2011 ]

"He is wise who knows the sources of knowledge - who knows who has written and where it is to be found."-- Hodge.

"School may have been – or still be – boring, a killer of creativity or downright awful for you."-- Epictetus

All the wise people in charge of higher education in India today (since independence) remind me of the Chinese elephant story, wherein seven blind wise men were trying to describe the elephant! Our world( better Germanic root for the world  is Wirklichkeit-in English it is acting, or changing and changing)  is a wonderful wonder, where, for some unexplained reason, people only seem to understand a problem but never be able to over-stand that problem. India, with some of the best brains in the world, has contributed hardly anything to the progress of knowledge in any field since independence, what with all the infrastructural facilities developed in free India. We still stifle the thinking capacity in our students by exclusively stressing in imparting information (which we call as knowledge) even in higher education where creativity becomes a handicap. Educated people would find it easy to dwell in the known world and they fear the unknown. If one does not try to get into the unknown how can knowledge (wisdom) advance? Advance in knowledge requires us to explore the uncharted arena to demolish the many myths in every field of human understanding, using refutational research. Let us analyse the present scenario under three heads-infrastructure, content, and the container (student).

Infrastructural needs:

Every one is lost in the numbers game. We need more colleges, we need more universities, more doctors, and we need public-private entrepreneurship and the like. No body seems to be concerned about the quality of such infrastructure. We have higher educational institutions even in private sector that only have rooms, chairs and tables but no good quality teachers and other needed support systems. The licensing agencies could be appeased in the present corrupt atmosphere where even the highest watch dog bodies stink in malpractice. To give one recent example, one of the wise men in charge of medical education was keen on simply increasing the number of doctors in India. Little does he realise that we have a large surfeit of doctors (licensed practitioners who cater to patient needs) compared to any other country in the world. The statistics of the wise men refer only to the MBBS doctors.

That apart, a 14 country study of industrialised nations has clearly shown that in countries where there were more doctors per capita population, health was worst, longevity shorter and disease incidence much higher compared to countries where there were fewer doctors and less number of specialists! (JAMA 2000; 284: 483) Japan, with less than one percent specialists and least number of total doctors, was the best country while USA, with 99% specialists and four times the number of doctors per capita compared to Japan, was the last but one with Germany at the bottom. In addition, past experience in five countries showed that when doctors went on strike in those countries for various reasons at different times, death and disability rates fell down significantly only to go up when doctors came back to work, which resulted in an article in the BMJ entitled: "Doctors going on strike will improve society’s health"! ((BMJ 2000; 320:1561) This is not the exclusive domain of doctors; it applies equally to lawyers in society. A surfeit of lawyers in the USA has led to rise in malpractice suits against the medical profession there forcing doctors to practise defensive medicine sending medical care costs sky rocketing there. More than 70 million Americans can not afford health insurance as the premia are too high, thanks to exorbitant medical bills and hospital charges. Let us learn from their mistakes and not produce too many doctors, lawyers or for that matter any such breed. Howard Straus, a health freedom and natural cures advocate who says "The number one killer of Americans is the American medical system."

Any human being who is kind and compassionate and has the permission to practise as a medical doctor could be as effective as the highest degree holding specialist as far as the sick population is concerned. Latest science in medicine shows the best curative tool in sickness care is the faith the patient has in her/his doctor- the placebo effect-which has been proven beyond doubt to be both scientifically true as also to be more effective than most of our hi-tech interventions. Some argue that such "half baked" doctors might do more harm than good. Evidence is now showing that the modern medical establishment, even in the USA, is the leading cause of death and disability followed by cancer and heart attack in that order, despite our tall claim that we are evidence based! The evidence base in modern medicine is shown to be built on a foundation of lose sand. (Controlled Clinical Trials-an analysis-1991. Project Cure, Washington DC)

All our chemical molecules, the so called therapeutic drugs, have been shown to be damaging the human body cells as they are all dextrorotatory while body molecules are levorotatory. Eastern herbal drugs are shown to be not only levorotatory but harmless to our body cells. The so called "first pass effect" that every medical student learns by heart for the pharmacology examination should tell him and his teacher that the body tries to reject every chemical molecule in the first place. Our pharmacology has resulted in the exponential growth of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) as the leading cause of death inside the medical establishment. An old WHO study in Bangkok did show that all the five systems of medicine being practised there at that time had an equal effect on society. The systems ranged from pure western medicine to the Samoa system where there is hardly anything "scientific". All doctors, if they are humane, could provoke the placebo effect in the human immune system which, ultimately, cures anyway. Except for corrective surgery and trauma care, modern medicine has very little advantage over other systems! So our doctor-patient ratio is the best and we need not dilute that in a hurry by the newer suggestions by the wise men.

Contents of higher education:

Modern medicine needs to look to set its own house in order. To start with we have no science of man; we only use the inanimate science of physics and chemistry as our base for an animate, dynamic system that works as a mind-body whole, with its consciousness in the driving seat. Modern medicine has not understood the driver yet. Same holds good for science in general. While physics, whose job is to study matter has ceased to exist independently almost since 1925. Matter is not made out of matter. Matter and energy are the two faces of the same coin (E=M) but we do not teach that in school or college and still hang on to the coat tails of Albert Einstein. Since medicine has no science base we need to have all sciences and humanities in every university for knowledge to advance. Here in India for political expediency we are encouraging a retrograde step of setting up single subject universities, an anethema to the concept of universality. Nano science, born with the Sol-Gel technique of Late Professor Rustum Roy in 1954, has made chemistry totally different. We do not teach that but hang on to the old chemical analysis and proclaim to the world that homeopathy is not science as their medicines have no chemicals in them. We are not aware that all of them are in either nano or piko forms. Nobel Laureate, Luc Montaigner, had to flee France to avoid intellectual terrorism there because he again showed that water has a structure and that it is not just H2O. He is setting up a laboratory in China to further his research. Many decades earlier Late Professor Rustum Roy had shown water structure and devised many new therapeutic tools.

Even Ayurveda, a great science, is not being taught in our medical schools; while the US medical schools teach six months in their four year course the basics of all complementary systems of medicine. How a thinker could do research in medicine without the help of modern physics, chemistry or mathematics as also humanities? How could lawyers study jurisprudence without medical jurisprudence? How can a physicist learn physics without chemistry and mathematics? That was the very reason why the concept of universities was thought of in the past, first in India when Europeans were still hunter-gatherers roaming the forests (Voltaire), in Nalanda, Taxashila, and Banaras etc. Today’s wise men want to reverse that trend!

I could cite similar experiences for all other subjects at the higher education level. Take economics for example. While we teach students the work of Vernon Smith and David Kahnman (2002 Nobel) that all men are altruistic, the truth of that statement is questioned by the same "Dictator Experiment" by another professor in the same department of economics at Chicago University.  John List found out that "men are all homo-economicus and NOT homo altruisticus." No man is humane today, but the student does not get to see that truth hidden in the lie that got the Nobel. See the reality in the world –all Indians in power are corrupt and our education did nothing to make them humane! This is the naked truth. If one looks at the content of our higher education, one could easily infer the quality of the container as it comes out of the portals of our sacred temples of higher learning. Result is that the world is becoming greedier with the poor people suffering. This is one of the fall outs of this kind of elite education. While India shines in the share market, two thirds of Indians do not have food to eat. 67 million children suffer from a disease-Nutritional Immune Deficiency Syndrome-which does not even find a place in medical textbooks. However, AIDS, which is an illusion of a disease, is known even to lay people! Poor pay for their poverty with their lives; while the rich couldn’t care less while engaged in vulgar display of their wealth. True education must make the student go in search of the truth. Medical education should stress more on that aspect. All our lives are in the hands of the doctors trained in this faulty system. Will the wise men in charge of higher education remove their blind folds please and listen to saner voices in society who ultimately are at the receiving end?

The content of our higher education needs a thorough overhauling. It is safer to teach methodology in place of facts. The latter change so fast that the textbooks today become outdated by the time they are out of the press. Future textbooks would be loose leaf ones to be regularly updated. Information (knowledge) is at the finger tips these days for students to get to know by the flick of a button in their computer. Why should we have fixed curricula? We should let students learn for themselves and a teacher should only help them to do so. Examinations could also be very creative with open books to refer to, if the student wants. Corruption in the examination system could also be avoided thus. Very soon a new technology of a hand held tablet could enable a student in minutes to down load any book from anywhere for study. That will replace the laptop and computers. We need to reform the system by the following three points, 1) encourage the students to study for themselves, 2) provide them with all the infrastructural facilities, and 3) protect the present lot of students from the present lot of teachers, what with their fossilized brains. Future teachers that come up in the new system will have learnt their lessons, anyway.

The container:

I still remember my words some years ago when the CHEA, Council for Higher Education Accreditation of the USA, wanted me to go to Phoenix to talk to their wise men about ethical higher education there. Robert Glidden, the then President, was very keen that I go there. I asked the wise gathering one simple question. What is education if it does not make a human being human and humane? What do we see today? Every one, especially with some power to wield, has become corrupt, arrogant and inhuman to the needs of others to the exclusion of one’s own proclivity for comfort and greed. Education must teach the student about himself and also the purpose of all education. Education is to train a human being to act "justly, skillfully, and magnanimously, under all circumstances of peace and war." Dr. Eliot’s now famous "five-foot book shelf, has Milton’s "Areopagitica" and "Tractate on Education". Our wise men, in charge of education, would do well to glance through those for the good of India’s future generation. Life is not just to live and enjoy. Life has to be useful, to be compassionate, and to be authentic and should touch other lives to show that not only one has lived well but has let others to live well in the bargain.

The container, the student, should also be trained to have that enthusiasm to know the unknown-the only way to progress. The word Upanishad says it all. Upa=near, shad=sit down; and Ni=vacuum that one takes to the feet of the teacher to fill with wisdom. Our present system of schooling closes that vacuum completely leaving the student with no place to fill the wisdom. On the contrary, our edu-care tries to fill the student’s brain with what we want him to learn. True edu-cere is to bring the best out of the student. The latter is born a genius; "only to be converted into an idiot in school." (Dr. Alexis Carrel) More creative work right from day one with creative project work for students, allaying the fear of the Damocles sword of the end year parrot repeating examination that curtails all curiosity in the learner, on going teacher and peer review of student performance coupled with a teacher that encourages his/her student to learn for himself/herself rather than stuffing useless information into the student’s head, should be the future system. The teacher must be a true midwife trying to help the student to deliver at the end.

To change medical education one needs to revamp it totally taking it away from the hi-tech five star corporate hospital background to living communities where one sees human illnesses naked. Only a small percentage of filtered terminal incurable illnesses reach teaching hospitals. A student trained in that setting comes out with the stunted view of the total spectrum of illness as that he/she had seen in the teaching hospital. To cap it, we have an array of mind boggling scopes, scanners, and shadows which take away to joy of "understanding" the patient in his/her totality. The latter simply is trying to understand the mind of the patient. If we listen to some thinkers in this area things will clarify a bit more. Lord Platt, a great teacher in the last century, had said in 1949:" If you listen to your patient long enough s/he will tell you what is wrong with her/him." Lord Platt’s students, who are the present pillars of medicine in England today, did a triple blind, computerized, prospective, study of out patients in London teaching hospitals using even the positron emission tomography but came to the same conclusion that "80% of the final accurate diagnosis could be arrived at the end of listening to the patient which can only be refined 4% more by all the examinations and 8% more by all the tests, including PET! In addition, 100% of the management strategies could be arrived at, at the end of listening to the patient." (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1673456/.../brmedj01449-0038.pdf) If this is adopted in medical teaching our doctors could practice high standard medicine even in remote villages. All that they have to take with them is their trained mind that could listen to patients.

My teacher, Nobel Laureate Bernard Lown at Harvard, a great cardiologist and the man who invented the Lown Defrillator, had this to say about our present standing in modern medicine: "We believe the modern medical model has become increasingly reductionist: human beings are seen as repositories of malfunctioning organs that need repair. This view results in an onslaught of tests and uncertainty. Doctors often take refuge behind technology because it is easier and less time-consuming than talking with a complex human being who is their patient." [The New Yorker 5/17/99]. Another great thinker, a professor of medicine at Yale University, Mary Tinnetti, said: "The time has come to abandon disease as the focus of medical care. The changed spectrum of health, the complex interplay of biological and non-biological factors, the ageing population, and the inter-individual variability in health priorities render medical care that is centered on the diagnosis and treatment of individual diseases at best out of date and at worst harmful. A primary focus on disease may inadvertently lead to under-treatment, overtreatment, or mistreatment." (Amer. J Med. 2004; 116: 179) Much more insight can be gained from the following extensive study of modern medicine by researchers led by Gary Null, entitled "Death by Medicine."

Doctors should be trained to keep the health of the public and not just to treat sick individuals. Today’s medical education does not teach anything about the need for keeping the health of the well segment of the population, the Bija Mantra of Ayurveda. UNIDO report recently stated that India needs the following simple measures to keep her people healthy, viz: clean drinking water for all, three meals a day uncontaminated by animal and/or human excreta, sanitary facilities with a toilet for every house, a roof on top for the poor, in place of the star lit sky at night, avoidance of cooking smoke, having deadly carbon monoxide, coming into the house using a smokeless choola, education of girl child at least up to twenty years to bring down the fertility rate and economic empowerment of poor women. Does our present curriculum contain any of these?

Conclusions:

Higher education in India is crying for urgent modernising if ever we want to compete with the world in all fields of human endeavour. Our outmoded and outdated Macaulay type of education, doling out BA, B.Sc, MBBS, BE, should change for a more dynamic living educational system that is both contemporary and creative at the same time. The recipient of a higher degree should be bold enough to stand on his own legs should the need arise and not dependent only on some cushy job. Concurrently, there should be a revision of the school curricula which is a prerequisite for a changed scenario in higher education. Education should be viewed in its entirety and not in bits and pieces.

While we need improved infrastructure to cope with the millions of young men and women looking for higher education in the near future it is not enough if we simply mindlessly encourage mushrooming of infrastructural facilities. Numbers do not count as long as they are not of expected quality. Care must be taken to see that the private entrepreneurship in education does not become another money spinning machine like the growth in the telecommunication facilities. We will have bigger scams in this area with greater damage to the future generation. The signs are seen even now with limited private public partnership. That does not absolve the tax payer’s money spinners in the field of higher education. Some of them really suck!

"It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot, irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it."-- Jacob Chanowski

Dr. B. M. Hegde MD, FRCP, FRCPE, FRCPG, FRCPI, FACC, FAMS, is editor-in-chief of The Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes; chairman, State Health Society’s Expert Committee, Govt. of Bihar, India, Visiting Prof. Cardiology at The Middlesex Hospital Medical School - University of London, Affiliate Prof. of Human Health - Northern Colorado University, Visiting Prof. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies - Shimla,  Retd.  Vice Chancellor, MAHE University - Manipal. Prof Hedge regularly gives talks on AIR, Doordarshan, BBC and Zee TV, London. 

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Bhattacharya, India :
I watched a boxing game. I asked the person next to me, "Why are those two guys hitting each other?"
Bhattacharya, India :
Thanks Professor Hegde. You are one in 1111, since 1954; Padma Bhushan.

"Do you still see Bengali men smoking and playing cards sitting under a tree till it is time to go home for lunch?"
Only the retired ones enjoy this way; besides smoking and playing cards; fishing in their own private marble walled fish ponds, (eating doi maach, and sipping special order imported Johny Walker Blue Label while swimming in their own personal reclusive pools) surrounded by their flower and kitchen/fruit/vegetable gardens.
Yes, they have earned this (aaram) life style, the old fashioned way. They believe in real heavens on earth....
Professor BM Hegde, India :
Nice to have many responses to one’s writings.

According to me disagreement is the mother of all progress in this world. If every one agrees with you, you have done nothing. “He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help” wrote Winston Churchill.

Many of us have the notion that the words “science,” “Nobel Prize”, “hi-tech” stuff, etc. are all yardsticks to measure advances in the world. We have moved too far from that belief. Conventional science of deterministic predictability died a natural death along with reality, way back in 1925 when Werner Heisenberg, a student of the “great” Albert Einstein proclaimed to the world the truth about this world, which is uncertainty. The only certainty in this world is uncertainty. Technology works for building an airplane, bridge or building but beyond that technology becomes a business. Business runs this world.

When Eric Drexler, a young enthusiastic PhD from MIT, declared that he would produce self replicating nano-bots which do not require parents, he got nearly $100 billion offer from venture capitalists in USA. He had to be told by that great giant in Chemistry, a Nobel at that, Late Richard Smalley, that Drexler will not be able to do that as no body has been able to make DNA as it is not feasible. Drexler’s company is not heard of any more! Many of you might think that modern medicine is “scientific” and is the panacea for all human ills. Truth is otherwise!! (Journal of American Medical Association 2000; 284: 483) Nobel Laureate Dr. Alexis Carrel in his book Man the Unknown writes that “there is Science of man.” Fritz-Albert Popp has shown that human body works as whole which could be studied by studying the “bio-photon” lights emanating from every single DNA inside a cell.

Late Professor Rustum Roy, the greatest scientist of India origin, who got all the available accolades in the world except the Nobel, despite 21 nominations, may be because of his pro-India writings, had shown how atomic hydrogen can be extracted from water which will leave water as water and hydrogen as hydrogen without any nascent oxygen (when one extracts molecular hydrogen from water in conventional science) using radio waves. This is the bija mantra he based his work on Poornam adaha….. Poornam idam….He had shown earlier the true structure of water and had supported homeopathy as a great science. Now even the great Nobel Laureate, Luc Montaigner, has repeated that opinion to the dismay of many modern medical pundits! H2O is only elementary school chemistry. Rustum has shown how to run any engine on this atomic oxygen without damage to the engine!

When the cells are in synch one is healthy! If they are in synch with others’ cells the person is in wonderful health. Ancient Indian thought of “paropakaarartham idam shareeram.” The thought did not get the Nobel Prize, though! The present head of Max Planck Institute in Munich, the highest physics body, Hans Peter Durr, says that there is NO matter at all, matter and energy are the two faces of the same coin. If there is no matter there is no physics or any science! He calls his finding, a-duality, but hastens to admit that Indian sages of yore had proclaimed it as Advaita to the world. One can read his paper on this for lay people in the internet (Matter is not made out of matter) free.

Nobel Prize saga, if one were to measure the quality of a nation by the number of Nobels won, is a very interesting one. The intense lobbying that goes before that needs to be understood to realize its value. History of the Prize is full of wrong people getting the prize almost from the beginning of the last Century; e.g. JJ Thomson’s Nobel for showing electrons to be particles to the present prize on Lasers to someone else which George Sudrashan had shown in three dimensions ten years ago (didn’t get the Nobel) have a story to tell. One could read the classic book The Prize or my article on the Nobility of the Nobel Prize.

Time has come to find out how India could change for the better? The only thing that could change India is the change in each of us to be good human beings. Nothing else will improve the world. The future of the world (there is no future now; we create it every minute, says Hans Peter Durr) with our universal love and compassion) depends on all of us working in tandem. We can learn from nature, where four ants left to fend for themselves find it hard to go anywhere. When you keep one thousand ants together, they quickly get to a formation where they can drag a dead cockroach (1000 times their individual body weight) to their den to eat. Ants build hundred story ant hills in Africa with this collective effort with such remarkable architectural accuracy without our M.Tech or PhD degrees. They have that collective consciousness although they do not have any brain and sight worth mentioning! One could get to know all about the ants in Dr. Gassi’s phenomenal work. Ants have no vision but they have insight whereas man has sight but no insight!

Individually every Indian is brilliant but collectively we cheat each other and destroy this country even with PhD or Nobel Prize. See the global warming fiasco: how did wrong data procure the Nobel? Our education could be from Nature; especially from ants. United we stand, divided we fall.

bmhegde
Drona, India :
People have to import Onions!....Bhat

There were times when grains and pulses were also imported. Consumption is very high and production is not meeting the demands of domestic market. Foreign exchange gets used to buy the essential commodities. Onion is very essential not only for Indian dishes but also an ingredient in other types of cooking too. No harm in importing when there is shortage. Trade is a two way street. You can not always be selling. You buy some times, sell some other times. Perhaps it would be prudent to look at the contribution and individual state production to national kitty. One has to take into consideration the capabilities of each state including resources available. You can not produce as much as Punjab if you are another state like WB for example.

I am not sure about the implication of your comment about the malformed dual headed snake in the context of what has been published in the article or to the responses to the article. I do not think Prof Hegde has to respond to that comment.

I notice sarcasm and lack of faith in our people in your view points Mr Bhat. The system is not perfect but the world/country survives because of hard working and intelligent people rather than the lazy and the unproductive. By the way how is the Zamindari system in Bengal? Has any thing changed there? Do you still see Bengali men smoking and playing cards sitting under a tree till it is time to go home for lunch?
Bhattacharya, India :
You dont feel warm in the Winter by reminiscing lovely Summers. Basking in the past glory of a few privileged handful is not good enough...perhaps helps motivating...

The brilliant modus operandi of teaching by Dr. Hegde is (perhaps) possible, only upon the basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and high school education is achieved by one and all,,,,but when?

Looks like Dr. Hegde is five generations ahead even for the erudite elites.

People have to import Onions!....
A malformed two headed snake is not a new species.........
D.P.Kumar, India :
An eye opener for we Indians by Dr.B.M.Hegde.
I appreciate people who have wisely reacted to his brilliant analysis of past and present of India.

Going back to history, I remember the experiences and studies made by Al Biruni at Nalanda and written in his book "al hind". The great and oldest Universities of the world were destroyed during the Islamic ride on India.
Dr.Amritya Sen has in his recent paper on Nalanda has quoted the Chinese students of those days who have studied in these Universities and have written on their studies and experiences at Nalanda.

Al Batuta has also in his travelogue has given detailed narration of the people, society, knowledge and powers from different parts of India.
The last ten centuries have made Indians in to a mindset of slaves, fit enough to do only clerical works. "panDi bele-paaDi nuppu"!

Only thinkers like Sen and Hegde and people of the caliber who responded in this column can push the views to guide people to think beyond the existing system (in simple terms saying copy-paste!).

Thank you Dr.B.M.Hegde.
Bhattacharya, India :
His science died along with him 2800 years ago...
Knowledge was confined within ones brahmin family., Right?
Why they don't share?
Where are the manuscripts or palm leaves?
And yet, why this brain - drain now?
Drona, India :
or even the existence of Neutrophil, Monocyte, Eosinophil or Basophil, or red blood cell? Heart transplant? Hemoglobin, CPK? Why ???-Bhatta from Bengal

Bhat maam, have you heard of Sushruta?
Bhattacharya, India :
If the educational system was so great, why the students are going abroad (Ankle device)or higher studies, even to get a chef cerificate? (Australia)

How many Nobel prizes have been given out so far and how many are bestowed on Indians or of persons of Indian origin?

How many Olympic gold medals are earned by Indians? or who cares, anyway.

Thought provoking?

Microscope, light bulb, gun, basic research, or even the existence of Neutrophil, Monocyte, Eosinophil or Basophil, or red blood cell? Heart transplant? Hemoglobin, CPK? Why ????

Besides Zero (Shoonya) to decimal system, what other contribution to science?

What is binary system?.......

Why there are long queues at embasies?
Lawrence Mascarenhas, USA :
Thaught provoking article - thanks to Dr. B.M. Hegde.

Indian professionals perform extremely well in western countries but not in their own country of birth.

Indian born (settled in London) Dr. Amrathya Sen got the Nobel Prize in 1998 for his socialistic theory "Welfare Economics" contradicting the Nobel Laureate Prof: Adam Smith's capitalistic theory "The Wealth of Nation". He proved that two Nobel Prizes can be awarded for exactrly opposite opinions.

My Professor once told me that if I study the text book and answer the exam, he would give me grade "C" just to pass the exam. If I contradict and prove that the text book author is not 100% right, he would grant me "B". But, if I come up with something new related to the subject, even if I was not 100% right, he would award me grade "A"
For me, that was challenging and real learning!

We need to have open minded teachers who can stimulate students thinking.
Maya, India :
and here I sit, an example of the corruption of our educational system, an MBBS graduate of 10 years who wants to specialize but can't. like so many others in our society who have the brains and the brawns but no moolah as you politicians want to bleed from us till our very last days. how can we serve if you don't help us to serve? good article Dr.Hegde. wish everyone thought like you and took action as fast too.
Porbhu, India :
Thanks Dr. Hegde for your article. I think it served as a platform to put forward my views.

I think the problem starts at early on. We put more emphasis to duplicate and do not give credit or encourage independent thinking, creativity.

The question is how these are quantifiable (creativity and independent thinking)?

How do we change generations of teachers handing down the same western books?

I was in the audience (few years back- 10 years?) at Konaje when you were invited as chief guest where a workshop was held - I was appalled at the incompetence that was pretty obvious where speaker after speaker was giving talks about some out dated concepts and calling it as current - about Science.

Going back to Gallileo's era, Science cannot be doled out as tradition. What is truth ? truth is always current and truth of yesterday cannot be truth of tomorrow. This concept leaves us no option but to reward the questioning ability and give credit to creativity.

A graduate who has mastered these concept can achieve and transform the society around him or her. If we have thousands of students trained this way then atleast few of them will then write text books and would be able to dream about changing the system.

We need a change. The question is what needs to change and how are we going to achieve with people with no concept of change?

Each one of us should contribute our bit for the change. The question is what have we done to bring a change? The greatest asset a nation can have is man power and human beings.

I am leaving medical science out of this as well as IT education. Every one cannot be a doctor or IT person. A country needs them. But a country does not revolve around them. They are not everything.
James Fernandfes/Barkur, USA :
"India, with some of the best brains in the world, has contributed hardly anything to the progress of knowledge in any field since independence,.." a quote from above article of Dr. BM Hegde.

1.I saw foreign movies and came home and made movies in native languages.
2. I read foreign language books and translated in my native language.
3. I bought two electric pumps, two cars, and two of each toy, etc..' came home and opened and duplicated and sold in my native land.
4. I copied text books of medicine, engineering, chemistry, even taught how to mix water and mud...and cowdung...
5. I went abroad, and got degrees to fill the distance from Kashmirir to Kannyakumaari, and now I admire my own mango tooth brush...
6. But still, I eat my own home grown Sukha Kombdy...
Yes, sir, what's my contribution tio this fragile suspending planet?
Vanity, Vanity, yes, laugh baba anna laugh...
B. Dinesh, USA :
Hats off to you Dr. Hegde. You have articulated the problems of the medical field in the most realistic manner. There is absolutely no doubt that the practice of medicine in the entire western world has become like an assembly line. Several patients are lined up in examination rooms with a nurse assistant getting the stats and then the doctor comes in with the chart and tells the patient what he is prescribing. The doctor does not want to neither does he care about touching and feeling the patient - a method of examination that I thought helps to make the patient feel better. However, the doctors also earn way too much money than they really deserve. It is unfortunate that all other countries have followed the US method of patient management and health care.

You are also absolutely right in that most of the Indian universities have become a production line of bringing out graduates without adequate skills or training in all fields. There are far too many universities and colleges in India and it becomes very difficult to evaluate the graduates. Over production of so called 'software engineers' is just one of the problems. Many universities do not know what a software engineer is supposed to be. There is a huge difference in educating a student to be a programmer versus educating a student to be a software engineer. If one does not understand the hardware, systems software, and communications, then they cannot be and should not be called a 'software engineer'. The quality of these graduates is really poor. Moreover, they do stay on the job for more than 2 years. The Indian software industry is losing its competitive edge due to poor quality and also a very high employee turnover. The goose that lays the golden egg may not be there for too long if this trend continues as other countries like China, Vietnam, Poland etc. are competing with India.

Equally sad was the corruption scandal of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the de-recognition that followed. There needs to be a massive overhaul of the entire higher education system and all admissions including for those in private colleges should be based purely on merit and common entrance examinations. It would have been much nicer if the Finnish method was adopted. This will be hard to implement in India because of the population. Sadly, this may be too late and too huge to fix as corruption plays a role in everything that happens in India.
Dr Prakash Harischandra, India :
There are few teachers of the kind of Dr K G Das, He would probably not agree totally with Dr Hegde with how currently medicine is practised. We our selves are partly repsonsible for the Dilution of standards and creating graduates who are barley able to write a decent letter not even in their vernacular nor Foreign language.
We want our children to speak a foreign language, but in the Process loose out everything.

After so many years we still do not have the COmplete Medical Curriculum in our local language, Look at the Latin , Japanese, Chinese Nations. Our Medical Institutions are here to Mint Money , true research is for a few.
Drona, India :
All the wise people in charge of higher education in India today (since independence) remind me of the Chinese elephant story, wherein seven blind wise men were trying to describe the elephant! -Clip

Actually it is a poem called 'Six blind men of Hindustan'.

We still stifle the thinking capacity in our students by exclusively stressing in imparting information (which we call as knowledge) even in higher education where creativity becomes a handicap. -Clip 2

Fantastic observation. In fact I remember telling my friends in Bangalore 'no point faithfully reproducing the notes of the Professor. Let the creative juices flow'. The response was 'what can you create sitting in this room?'

We should let students learn for themselves and a teacher should only help them to do so. -Clip 3

Very good point. No spoon feeding should be encouraged in other words. I totally agree.

" If you listen to your patient long enough s/he will tell you what is wrong with her/him." -Clip 4

Medicine is more of an art than science. The great teachers like Prof K G Das at Bangalore have immensely demonstrated it by even mimicking the cardiac murmurs , sounds etc. Amphoric breathing is another sound mimicked by another physician in the examination. [He was teaching while examining the student]

I had the pleasure to listen to Prof Hegde once. I still remember his style and content. Thank God for great teachers like Prof Hegde.
Total Comments: 16   Showing: 1-16
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