Friday, May 19, 2006

Reservation in higher education - Improve primary education instead

The politicians have done it again. They, as one columnist rightly said, are going to ram the 27% reservation in higher education down the throat of the nation, whether India gags on it or not. And knowing India and it's people, we will gag for a while and then continue as usual.

There has been a lot of debate on this topic. I am sitting at work dressed in black because of an email campaign being cirulated through most of India's IT companies. However most people seem to miss the basic point here. Why do we need reservation?

We need reservation in colleges and other higher education because our primary education system is a complete failure. The backward classes, which is supposed to mean the economically backward; the ones that are so because they belong to an underprivilaged section of Indian society, cannot afford to pay the fees of private tution colleges. These tution setups are required because our students don't learn anything at school. So they need help to pass the entrance exams to the IITs and the IIMs. And since the fees charged are beyond the means of most, we need reservations so that the students who fare badly because of the education system that failed them in the first place, can now go on to "higher education".

How many good teachers do we have in our schools and colleges? One in a ten thousand? And why don't we have good teachers? Because the profession does not pay enough to make a decent living. So the brightest and the best leave our shores and go teach at the MITs of this world.

What faclities do our schools provide? Most primary schools in our villages don't even have basic equipment. Drop out rates are unbelievably high. And those that don't drop out end up not learning anything of value.

If only the govt of India would pay more attention to primary education! I am a tax payer and I have been paying a 2% Education Cess (surcharge or tax on tax) on everything I buy for the last few years. Where has this money gone? After paying for education for so long, why is my children's future jeopardized?

I am a Brahmin, and proud to be one. My parents have struggled to pay for my education just like most other middle class parents. I am an IIT Kharagpur graduate and I entered the IIT based solely on my own merit. Long live India! However if this continues, I will not hesitate to take my family to another nation that values us more and gives us a better future.
Ask your local govt why primary education is still as bad as it always was. And where has our 2% cess gone?

(Posted via Thinga Web)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Problem with InstallShield Multi-platform Installer Wizard with Java 1.5.x

I downloaded the JWSDP 2.0 (Java Web Services Developer Kit) installer from Sun's web site today. Also Sun's AppServer. Both these products use InstallShield's Multi Platform installer and both had problems on my laptop. Both the installers found my JDK 1.5 directory and displayed the installer wizard. At this time however the UI is frezee. No mouse clicks registered. Only the Enter key seems to work and that triggers the defailt dialog button. No radio box selections etc.

I am not sure why this is happening. A Google threw up bug reports, a few forum posts but no resolution. Pretty frustrating!

Then I decided to try from the command line. I had no clue that InstallShield had a command line option. On a hunch, I opened a command prompt, Cd'ed to the folder containing the installer and typed it at the prompt with a -help & a /help. Well I ended up with the command line usage instructions. After that I had to do a text only installation. Worked like a breeze! Takes some getting used to but the damn thing works!

I then tried the same thing with the AppServer installer and that worked too! So, the next time you have InstallShield freeze up on you, try the command line!

(Posted via Thinga Web)