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When Should I Start Preparing for IIT?

9th Standard IIT JEE

I remember back in 2006, IIT JEE administration introduced a stringent rule which allows maximum two attempts for an aspirant to get into IIT JEE. The step was taken in order to curb the number of students who get into IIT by preparing again and again for 3, 4 or even 5 years. It was infusing not the actual talented persons in the premier institutes. But, those who practice the pattern for more than 2 years and then, show their excellence over junior by way of extra practice. It was always criticized that the pattern and syllabus of IIT JEE is not suitable to be covered within a span of 2 years. But, there are always a lot many students who used to get in IIT JEE in first attempt. Proper guidance, proper time management and dedication towards study is ultimate requirement other than primary requirement of a sharp mind to get in first attempt.

However, the step affected the coaching institution in a big way. As the number of aspirant taking part in the exam reduced drastically for 2007. A new concept came in the market. It was to be The Early Bird. Aim early, take time and then take the shot. It was to start preparing for IIT from 9th standard itself rather than 11th. The concept was not totally new. I remember in 1999 when I was in 9th standard Brilliant Tutorial had a Foundation Correspondence Course for IIT JEE. But, it was not a popular course. Once the director of my coaching class told me that he gets 1 or 2 student each year who comes to join the coaching class to prepare for IIT JEE, where more than 500 students used to enroll in a year. The idea was not so popular as why to put pressure before 10th, if you have enough time after 12th to clear IIT JEE.

Now, after 2006 the concept became popular, may be due to giving popularity by the coaching institute administrators or by the parents who wants their child to be an IITian, but likes to reduce pressure from them. Anyhow, here I’m going to discuss, whether correct time to start the preparation for IIT should start when the aspirant is in 9th standard only.

As far as the positive side is concerned, I see only one benefit, you get much more time to go through every portion of the syllabus. However, I would like to look through all the negative features too.

Self-level is Low

When you have just entered the 9th standard, your level is not adequate to grasp concepts of 11th standard. Even if you are one of the brightest student, it is not going to be easy to understand the concepts of 11th std, leave JEE Advanced standards. But, if you could finish at least 9th std syllabus till 8th. Then, you could think to cover 10th syllabus within months in 9th, say 4 months. Afterwards, study for a year for JEE Advanced. Then, once again start the preparation of 10th, 6 months prior to 10th board. The syllabus of 9th is based on 8th; 10th on 9th; 11th, 12th on 9th & 10th and finally of JEE Advanced on 11th & 12th. It is not a course of the meal which could be ate in any order or a could even be skipped.

First Big Hurdle of Life

Ask any student in school, their first dream in life is to appear and get good marks in 10th board. It is a very important step in life. Many students first time in their life compete with thousands of others in one go. A lot depends on its marks. Before 10th the competition always lies within the boundaries of the school. Those who are ambitious knows the level of their competitor within school. But, 10th board place you with unknown competitors in unknown quantity. Most of the student fear a lot from 10th board than 12th board or any other examinations ahead.

The nervousness for such an important exam is well known. Everything should be perfect and flawless. Hence, it is not easy to divert the concentration and mind from such an important goal.

Young Age

At the age of 13 or 14, a boy is at a very young age to foresee and plan their future. The fun of life will vanish from the life of young kids once they go through the tough preparation of JEE Advanced. They are not matured to take decisions or make strategies. A proper time table with perfect strategy is to be drawn before commencing such preparation.

A Good Counselor

You need a very good counselor who could guide and coach you personally. The steps to be taken needs professional touch with knowledge and understanding of each and every portion of both JEE and 10th.

My Suggestions

If you have decided that you are going to become engineer from a premier institute in India and you can sacrifice your time and can manage the stiff time table. I’m not going to stop you, as “Only Brave Wins the Race”. Success needs talent, aim, dedication, sacrifice, hard work and strategy. Luck could be a factor, but its role could be minimized. I’m going to give a plan of action in detail which would give you an edge over those who are going to start the preparation of JEE Advanced after 10th. I am assuming:

  • You have just gone to 9th std.
  • You are going to attend all the classes in your school.
  • You have 2 years in hand before 10th board.
  • Apart from school you are going to get 6-8 hours of time for self-study. Devote 1-2 to hours at max for school home work. Rest for this plan, min 5 hours.
  • You will get 6 hours of sleep on weekdays and 8-9 on weekend.
  • You are relying on self-study not on coaching or tuition.
  • You are brave and ready to take the pressure. Also, you should be ready to sacrifice fun for study.

If you have any doubts about any of these ask me.

Step 1: Clear 9th and 10th Syllabus

This step is going to be of 5-6 months. In this step, you will cover the syllabus of 9th, then 10th both for Physics, Chemistry and Maths. As I have already said you can’t skip syllabus of any class and look ahead. You have to wrap up the syllabus as fast as you can. Remember, the syllabus would be completed in school too in a span of two years. So, you would get an edge their, which may help you perform better in term exams. Choose the same books which are followed in school. For numerical problems, you should solve each one of them carefully. For conceptual topics, don’t try to mug up concepts, but rather try to give answers to every questions asked at the end of the chapter.

If you could find a senior who could clear your doubts, it would be very good. Discuss the doubts once in every week, preferably on weekend. It would be very good if senior is in 11th or 12th preparing for JEE Advanced. During this step you have to know more and more about the pattern of JEE Advanced. A lot of students fail in clearing JEE Advanced as they spend time in wrong direction misguidedly. The more you know about it, the better it is going to be. You can also read more about JEE on internet.

If you have a group who are also preparing for JEE, discuss with them the topics and understandings. Min. 5 hours each day would be sufficient. If a term exam comes in between, take one week break before term exam and resume after the exam. Your objective here in this step is to cover the concept of 9th and 10th rather than passing 10th board based on it.

Step 2: Get Closer to JEE Level

You must be knowing that the level of JEE Advanced is higher than 12th level. You are not going to study till JEE level before 10th. It should be done after 10th. However, before passing 10th, I would like you to cover as much 11th and 12th syllabus as much as you can. The step should be stopped 6 months prior to your 10th board to give sufficient time for your board exam. You need books followed in 11th and 12th for Physics, Chemistry and Maths for this step. I would not suggest any book. Better to consult any of your senior for the purpose. But, it is important that the book should be for 11th and 12th rather than for JEE Advanced.

Approach for JEE is quite different from 10th. There are not going to be conceptual questions, like explain the extraction of H2SO4 with design of apparatus or What is a magnetic field. It would be all numerical based, except in Organic and Inorganic Chemistry (Chemistry has three parts after 11th; Physical, Organic and Inorganic; Google it to know more). All the questions would be solved based on some information given and concepts you know. Like

  • 2H2 + O2 = ?,
  • Ken is the star of the cross-country team. During a recent morning run, Ken averaged a speed of 5.8 m/s for 12.9 minutes. Ken then averaged a speed of 6.10 m/s for 7.1 minutes. Determine the total distance which Ken ran during his 20 minute jog.

One by one cover the books of 11th and 12th by solving all the problems. No need to solve JEE level problem at this stage. I think the time would be sufficient and you would be able to cover the syllabus of both 11th and 12th within 8-9 months. For the next 3-4 months, go for revision. Once you are reading books of 11th and 12th. Many a times you would feel the lessons at school to be boring and of low level. But, don’t bunk the school. It is going to be helpful to get acquainted with activity at school and to have some fun time.

After this step, you would be well-versed with syllabus of 11th and 12th. Also, you could join a good coaching for JEE Advanced right after appearing for 10th board. You will definitely understand the advance concepts very easily. 

Step 3: Getting ready for 10th Board

In around October, you should start giving full attention towards the approaching 10th board exam, which normally takes placein March. As you have already covered the syllabus till 12th, you would feel very comfortable with 10th syllabus. Make a good strategy and time table and give full concentration towards secondary examination. Forget about IIT, JEE and its syllabus for next 6 -7 months.

After giving your 10th board, you have both the option to go for a good coaching or do self study. If you are going for self study, start from Step 2 in the article How to prepare for IIT JEE?

I’m open for suggestions and discussions. If you like to share something it would be very nice. You can also share your experience with other aspirants. If you have a doubt better to share with everyone, than just me via a personalized email. As it might help others too. Have a nice day.

Should FDI be Allowed in Higher Education

 

The ‘India Vision 2020′ envisages the transformation of India into a knowledge superpower. To achieve this vision, the higher education sector has to play a key role. At present India is producing highest number of doctors and engineers every year. But, if one considers the quality and quantity of higher education in India. It is worse. In US and UK, percentage of enrolment in higher education is 82.4 and 60.1 respectively. In India, despite recent increment due to private players, current enrolment is merely 12 %. Even South East Asian countries have higher enrolment rate like 31% in Philippines, 27% in Malaysia, 19% in Thailand and 13% in China. According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), public spending on higher education in India is merely US $400 per students. If we consider public spending of US on higher education, it is $9629. It may be argued that the spending of India could not be compared with that of US. However, even other developing nations like Brazil, China or Russia have much higher public expenditure per student, in excess of $1000.

India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (India), which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state. As of 2009, India has 20 central universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 13 institutes which are of national importance. Most of these institutions are public funded. Some of these institutions have been globally acclaimed. However, India has failed to produce world class universities like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge or MIT.

The state of higher education is very bad in India. The education system in India is often criticised for being Rote Learning, rather than problem solving. The status of teaching in most of the public run colleges in India is ill. If we see the situation of colleges in metros and cities, it may come under average level. But, the situation of colleges in small cities is very bad. The main aim for the students here is to get certificate. Corruption and negligence could be easily found in the examination conducted by these colleges. Some private universities have started operations in India. But, most of them are not giving the quality, they are for money making. In the recent years, many of the new private institutions have opened in India. But, most of them are for engineering and B-schools. The scenario is this that India is producing almost 750,000 engineers and 100,000 MBA graduates every year. But, if we see the skill in this army of graduates only 20-30% of them are doing the particular course due to interest or skill. Rest of them are there just because it is going to give them good jobs.

India in the process of becoming a developed nation needs to be technologically independent. Right now, India is dependent on other nations for technology. We are not spending a lot on Research and Development. In fact, if we see the track record in many sectors we are dependent on technology imports. Like India is the largest importer in the world for defence equipment. For the current 3G mobile technology, India is looking towards China and US for imports of machinery. India needs to spend a lot on research work. But, the atmosphere here is not research oriented. Even, in IITs, many professors find it hard to get funds sanctioned for researches.

Every year nearly 0.4 million Indians go abroad for higher studies spending approximately $ 12bn. This leads to not only loss of foreign exchange, but also ‘Brain Drain’, as most of these rarely comes back to India after completing their courses. The primary reason for a large number of students seeking professional education abroad is lack of capacity in Indian Institution. There is no doubt that the situation in public universities in India is not so good. Also, with increasing enrollment in higher education, it is not possible for the government to provide higher education on its own. But, the private institutions are themselves sick. Many don’t have experience and many are trying to just gain money without quality. Foreign investment in this field will not only check brain drain, it will also help to balance the demand supply ratio. It will develop competitiveness among private universities to deliver better quality. It will also generate employment and result in inflow of money instead of outflow. Further, the infrastructure will improve. There will be better scope for research as foreign university have different methodology to run and generate revenues. They are more research based universities. Plus India may move towards practical study based learning rather than rote learning. Other than that, India could develop itself as a provider of higher education for developing nations.

At present India is allowing 100% FDI in higher education through automatic sector. But, still no university have established a campus here, due to a large no. of guidelines and regulation. Also, many rules are unclear. Indian government is trying to pass a bill, The Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, in the parliament to directly allow 100% FDI in higher education. Right now 106 institutions are running programmes in India with collaboration with foreign universities. But, only 2 out of 106 are approved by AICTE. Indian government does not allow foreign universities to award any separate degree. It could only provide dual degree with collaboration with local institutions. Currently, many degrees given by these foreign universities are not even recognized in their own countries. Most of the universities which have tie ups with local institutions are small private universities in their own countries. If The Foreign Educational Institutional Bill will be passed, it will not only allow foreign universities to set-up campuses and award degrees in India, but simultaneous facilitate Indian government regulation of their operations.

The purpose of the bill is to regulate entry, operation and quality of education by the foreign universities. The bill will allow them to earn the status of Deemed University, which in turn will make them come under the domain of University grant commission (UGC). The foreign university then have to invest at least 51% of the total expenditure for such establishments. There will be large amount of money allocated only for the development of higher education. Plus scientific research will not be in the stage of shortage of money.

Features of the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill:

  • No foreign institution can provide degree to Indian student unless such institution is confirmed as Foreign Educational Provider by Indian Government
  • At least twenty years of establishment in its own country
  • Have to maintain a fund of at least 500 million rupees
  • Quality of education, curriculum, method of imparting and the faculty employed will be in accordance to guidelines of UGC
  • At max 70% of the income raised from the fund can be utilized in the development of institution in India and rest should be added to the fund. No part could be used in any other purpose other than growth and development of the institution established by it in India
  • Institution has to publish prospectus writing clearly about fee structure, refund norms and amount, number of seats, condition of eligibility with min and max age, detail of faculty, process of admission, min pay payable to each category of teachers and staff, infrastructure and other facilities, syllabus, rules and regulations, etc. at least sixty day prior to date of commencement of admission
  • In case of violation of any guidelines a penalty of min 10 million and max 50 million rupees along with tuition fees should be refunded to the student
  • Any foreign institution not confirmed by Indian government as Foreign Education Provider which is awarding any certificate to Indian students should submit a report regarding course to the commission

The academics, educationists and politicians are sharply divided on whether this will be a good move for India or not. As till now the experience with the foreign universities is not so good. Foreign investors in higher education have so far brought just commercial products, and may be in the future too, will bring copyrighted courses and workshops modules in order to make money. There courses will be less in accordance with the need of the Indian students or requirements of Indian science and research. Also, questions are raised about the Intellectual Property Rights, who will own the IPR? How the benefits of any research will be shared? Also, India should choose the area in which investments be invited. We should invite investments in the field where we have something to learn, where we need to build ourselves not necessarily where we are leaders ourselves. For instance, India is already doing top class research on stem cells and could collaborate with other top class institutions, but not necessarily invite FDI in this field.

Right now India discriminates its students on the basis of caste. A student’s scholarship mainly depends on his/her caste. Foreign institutions will find it hard to get inferior quality on the basis of caste. A scholarship program for economically backward students could be facilitated, but caste will be problematic for them.

The main concerns with the Bill are as follows:

  • The bill envisages regulation of fees to tackle commercialization of education which will definitely deter entry of quality foreign universities, reared in an environment where commercial success and good service quality go hand in hand.
  • It provides for government monitoring on admissions criteria which again might deter entry by high quality foreign universities which believe in using their own set of criteria.

A clear cut government regulatory policy which balances the need for freedom of foreign education providers with national interest is necessary. In other words, the accent should be on optimal regulation and the avoidance of over or under regulation. Also, Indian universities either public or private should be improved in order to compete on the same level with foreign giants.

If we see the approach of Indian government at present is to gain good quality education environment by suppressing profit motives. But, actually the correct approach should be attainment of high quality with, in accordance, profit motives. If India wants to attract world class universities in India it should have to give some liberty to foreign universities too. It should not look like exploitation of foreign university just for the sake of our profit. We should use profit as a channel to raise the quality of education.

We could take example of Singapore in the matter of framing the policy for foreign investment in scientific research. Singapore allows only world-class institutions to enter, and that only when they bring their own money. For instance the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a leading technical institution in the US, has collaboration with the National University of Singapore. From Australia, a country with which it other-wise has close contacts on several fronts, it is only the University of New South Wales, considered a premier institution, which was permitted to establish a campus solely on the basis of its own investments. As a result of its policies on foreign investment in education, Singapore has successfully achieved two goals, one to make itself an educational destination for neighbors in Asia who can now go to world-class institutions in Singapore rather than go to Australia or the US; and two, to bring in top-quality programs and skills to upgrade their own research.

If we look at the problem India is facing in development of higher education, one may say that FDI are being allowed just because we don’t have enough money to spend on this area. But, the problems are others too which FDI will focus. FDI in higher education will solve the problem of enrollment rate as we are in a situation of less supply high demand. Indian money and talent going abroad will come in check. India will become educational hub for at least neighboring countries. Infrastructure will improve. Some new methods and technology will be used in teaching. Also, it might happen that India may develop one of its own world class universities. Lastly, India needs to fill the technological lag as fast as it can to compete with China.

There are a lot of fears regarding the future of FDI investment in higher education. But, all in all on larger scale, it is going to benefit India. With better guidelines and rules, we can overcome the minute problems we assume may arise. But, in no way FDI in higher education should be discouraged. Foreign Direct investments should be allowed in India.

The impact of economic reforms has been that rich people have become richer and poor people poorer

 

In 1991, when the foreign exchange reserves had reduced to such an extent that India could barely finance three weeks’ worth of imports. Economic reforms were introduced in Indian economy. Before 1991, India was closed for foreign companies. It was a period very much known as License Raj. During this period, up to 80 agencies had to be satisfied before a firm could be granted a license to produce and the state would decide what was produced, how much, at what price and what sources of capital were used. The government also prevented firms from knocking off workers or closing factories. Indian economic policy was influenced by the colonial experience. There was monopoly in many sectors by state owned enterprises. This was the period which encouraged the corruption and red tape system in India. The annual growth rate for India during 1950 – 1980 was around 3.5 % compared to 9 % in 2009.

During the national economic crisis of 1991, when India was on the verge of Bankrupt, Government of India decided to bring up several economic reforms. Then PM, Mr. Narshimha Rao, appointed Manmohan Singh as a special economic adviser to implement the reforms. These reforms were mainly focused on liberalizing foreign investment and privatization of loss incurring government corporations. Some latest results have revealed that the scope and pattern of these reforms in India’s foreign investment and external trade sectors followed the Chinese experience with external economic reforms.

The impact of these reforms were seen in just few years as the total foreign investment in India grew from a infinitesimal US $132 million in 1991-92 to $5.3 billion in 1995-96. In initial years of reform, 1991–1992, poverty increased in India slightly. But, later on number of people below poverty line decreased. And, a steep declined in number of person below poverty line in between 1993 to 1998 was seen. Currently, number of middle class in India is expected to be 300 million, which is expected to double by 2025 to 600 million. It is sure that as the economy of India will boom, new millionaire and billionaire will join the list. There will be new addition in the upper class list, mostly coming out of present middle class. Also, the 300 million new middle class people must come from non-other than lower class or poor people list. These trends are taken from the last 5-10 years data. So, the poor are quickly transforming in middle class with increase in their earnings. This shows that the impact of economic reform is helping poor to convert them into middle class. So, impact of economic reforms has not been that poor people have become poorer. But, yeah rich people have become richer.

With revolution in many sectors in India, GDP of India has showed a tremendous growth. Telecom sector is very much saturated in metropolitan and many urban cities. Now, new companies are aiming at rural area with immense network of towers coming around rural sectors. Obviously, this is going to strengthen rural economy. Till now, urban economy has played a major role in economic progress of India after the reforms. However, with improving the network of roads in rural areas and good communication, our villages are going to see sure success. This all is going to help the poor.

 

Management Education is only for the Rich

 

Last year, I sat for the CAT exam for the first time. On the very day, I reached at the exam center a bit early than the reporting time. Other aspirants were coming to take the CAT. Waiting at the gate I was observing almost all the candidates arriving to take the test for that slot. I found a very different scenario than that I used to see at the exam center during IIT JEE. Most of the girls were coming on a car with parents or siblings. Few girls were coming on a two wheeler and, very few by auto. Boys were basically coming mainly on bikes with friends. There was huge number of vehicles compared with just around hundred candidates. But, at the IIT JEE center very few people used to come on car, few with bike and mostly by auto. The trend was very easy to understand that management courses attract upper middle class more than lower middle class or poor.

Management education is getting expensive day by day. Some IIMs have increased their fees to more than 12 lakhs. Nearly, all the top 30 institutes have a fees range of 7 lakhs – 15 lakhs. This is creating a huge pressure on the aspirants. Those whose family income is not even 3-4 lakhs, how can they think to study in these institutes on their own. There are institutes who are offering management course at even less than 2 lakhs. However, most of them have poor placement scene. Who would prefer to start their career at less than Rs. 20,000 if they can get starting salary more than Rs. 50,000?

The only hope for the lower middle class or poor student is bank loan. But, there are a lot of requirements for the banks for giving a loan. Other than for the case of meritorious students seeking loan for prestigious institutes, banks ask for an account in their bank, active for at least past six months. Plus, one needs to submit an insurance policy of the candidate. One most important process is to submit the annual simple interest incurred on the amount withdrawn for loan till you get the job or six months after passing the course, whichever comes earlier. These are few requirements for applying for a bank loan. But, still it may happen that processing a bank loan took a long time.

Just suppose a person takes a loan for taking admission to a B-school with yearly expenditure of around Rs. 300,000. So, yearly interest to be paid to the bank will be around Rs. 36,000 – 40,000 for the first year. During second year this will be just around double at around Rs. 75,000. This amount is to be generally paid by the parent. Which in no way is a small amount for many middle class families? These amounts do not include the basic expense for a student, like mobile, conveyance, clothing, etc. Just imagine the burden on a student’s family.

Management institute seeks intelligent candidates having good communication skill in English and who is smart. The best institutes focuses on those candidates who is well-balanced with all these features. Even one of these is a bit less. Your chance is little to get an admission letter. As English is not first language for most of the lower middle class or poor student, neither the surrounding in which they live gives stress on learning English, the students from these class are generally weak in English. One needs a good encouraging surrounding to develop the English to the level required by B-schools. A good option for this is to join a good coaching to get students seeking to clear management entrance. But, this needs money. Most of the institutes have fees around Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 40,000 plus other expenses.

At every step, non-rich students face problem in getting management education. Even if someone is extra talented, there are big obstacles for them also. But, for the rich most of the steps are easier with the money. Therefore, in my opinion “management education is only for the rich”.

 

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