Friday, September 17, 2004

Sops for the fat cats - Part Deux

This post initially started as a reply to comments for the previous post. But then I thought I'd rather post it directly.

My point is, this money could have been better spent. Now anyways Loyola and Ethiraj have to submit plans on how they are going to spend the money. But these colleges seem to already have one of the best, if not the best ever infrastructre. So my idea is that, this money has been given to them solely on the trust that they will be able to come up with good plans for spending it. But why these colleges in the first place? Technically there should be a lot of other contenders for this money, because if I look at a mediocre institution (or even an institution like the Shanmugha of the late 1990s), I can give you 10 different schemes to improve the place. And that's from a green horn like me.

So a better way to go would have been look at some college where the infrastructue is mediocre. In my eyes this would be the colleges of the type that were in the erstwhile DOTE-III category of engineering colleges (just as an example). Ask them to submit plans/proposals just like the applications for a research grant. Choose the best proposal in that and give the money to them. Now what this would mean is that the average standard of education could improve just a wee bit.

Anand: I agree with every word that you have said, regarding your earning of the right for a subsidy. In fact on the hindsight I realise that such an award is suitable for a college like Loyola, which I think is run by a management that looks more at the positive social effects than the money. But what about Ethiraj? What about the students there? I frankly dont know, which is the sole reason that prompts me to criticize the award.

Capri - I am not criticizing Loyola or Ethiraj, but the UGC! I certainly cannot trust the goverment in India to do something impartially! And the UGC is government!

if the other mid range/lower range colleges needed it, they should have worked for it

I am sure they are working on it, but they shouldn't be working on it while competing with the likes of Ethiraj or Loyola. I mean, these are the big boys (or the big gals). And once someone wins an award, it is always the sign of a good sport to congratulate the winner. But to me, an award should generate more awardees in the future. So if you had given this award to say - the Gummidipoondi College of Arts and Science (an imaginary institution) which has been started in 2001 and is looking for funds to improve its facilities after a decent start by itself, then tomorrow, the dedicated visionary who runs the Gangaiamman Arts Science and Technological Research Academy (G.A.S.T.R.A) will be prompted to apply after following the successful Gummidipoondi model.

Ethiraj and Loyola winning this award is akin to Ferrari winning the Formula 1 races so easily these days. Competition should inspire more competitors. However if one team wins it all, it actually has the opposite effect and drives away the others. But that will not take any sheen off the winnner, just that in a couple of years the sport will be dead! But there is a tradeoff, if you seek to limit the run-away winner(s), ultimately everything will stagnate. As opposed to Formula 1, in the US, the NASCAR championship has been run on almost identical cars (to ensure a level field) and over the last couple of years it has become a farce, at least in my eyes.
And the general consensus is that while success or the drive to succeed in motorsport has led to so many advances in technology in auto manufacturers in Europe (Audi, Mercedes etc.) and Japan (Subaru and Mitsubishi for example), in the US, during the same period, there has been so such events in Ford and GM, because the technology insulated NASCAR is no inspiration! Infact the relative improvement in Chrysler has been due to knowledge infusion from Daimler Benz.

So the idea would be to give sops to the second and third rung competitors to raise them to a level where they can compete with the big guns on a level field and let them fight it out afterward.

At the same time, should you be giving away scholarship to a student who is mediocre or the one who stands first.

Guru: That theory makes the assumption that people who get into apparently mediocre colleges are mediocre themselves! A lot of ppl get into such colleges because of issues like the "free seat, payment seat, management seat" system. A lot of students still beat such a system and get into instis like the IIMs later on in their life! So by denying such institutions the money, you are making the life of such students a wee bit more difficult. But am sure they will still come out tops! As for the gals of Ethiraj, I don't know much, because I spent my "formative" years out of Chennai. So for me, it was some gals in RECT! And I think the RECT-ian gals knew that at least some of us guys from SCE rocked. We rocked their campus for a couple of days every year during Festember! Aaah... Festember... *Sigh*.......

But I did spend a couple of evenings every week for the most part of six months of 2000-2001 in the immediate environs of another such institution - Stella. And I will gladly endorse any such statement that alludes to similar facts about Stella Maris!

And Nilu: Moodum. Who was talking about a college like SASTRA?


Anonymous said...

Performance ought to be rewarded for the same reason that there are always buyers of great performing stocks. Nobody likes to bet on a mediocre or losing horse just to encourage better performance. In a capitalistic environment where the goal is to always get the maximum bang for the buck, it helps to err on the side of wisdom, and in this case track record. I think this itself should serve as a motivating factor to other colleges aspiring to achieve better. In addition, such grants can help more students in the city get into such schools by expanding their facilities.

So, yes it would have been nice if some college like MGR got some moolah. But what have they done so far to deserve it ?


Nilu said...

Nobody was. Thats why it's called analogy.

Vallavareyan Vanthiyathevan said...

hi anti..when we got the CORE status to develop our neighbouring settlements we didnt analyse the neccessity of the grant to our college..then y now??