Friday, March 22, 2013


Chapter 1 : Risk Semantics

I found the last week's debate between the chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), Justice Markandey Katju and his opponents in the corporate media circles quite hysterical. The first thing that I noticed is how Katju and his opponents are sparring with each other while discussing solutions to two entirely different questions. From the desk of chairman of Press Council of India (PCI), Katju poses a very basic risk management question:

"How do we prevent bad journalism?".

This is a question to which he thinks "mandating minimum levels of educational qualifications in registered journalists" is one possible approach to eliminate the bad journalists and consequently, improve the standards of journalism.

If you look at the response from his critics like editors, journalism professors and the corporate tongue-waggers from the media business, their entire argument is on the lines of

"But a degree doesn't make one a good journalist for it's a practical hands-on profession. So, we don't need any regulation."

It's almost like they have completely ignored the real question of the debate. The way I look at it, they all seem to be reacting to the question of whether "degrees would make someone a good journalist" -  a question that was never asked to begin with. The question posed is actually if a minimum qualification could prevent someone from being really bad and that is point we have to argue on. That argument never happened and that's the quality of policy debates in the country. A regulatory body like PCI is not concerned with what makes a good journalist. What makes a journalist good is clearly unpredictable and could be a combination of any number of factors - his talent, passion, education, personal experiences, moral center, professional training etc. Importantly, it is not the concern of a body funded by tax-payers to improve resumes of corporate employees. The tax-payers are interested in one thing and only one thing - "Can someone keep the garbage out of my newspaper ?".

One final thing. The subtle difference here is between that of "doing good" and "preventing bad". Often, risk-informed decision making is all about the latter. How for a small cost (by forcing a rare, 1-in-1000, gifted  child prodigy journalist clear an entrance exam for scribes), a large benefit may be effected (Newspapers have a better quality of reporting). My opinion is that a discussion like this is a useful one to have especially in situations where the cost-benefit is skewed or asymmetric i.e. small costs can potentially yield very large benefits.  

Chapter 2: Statistical Counter-Examples

One thing I want to tell for the last time is how probabilistically ignorant it sounds when you provide a counter-example to disprove a statistical statement. It's amazing how people take things so personally when the comment is about the significant rest of the majority.

“Absolute rubbish,” said Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman of the Outlook Group, when asked for his reaction to the move. “Some of the greatest journalists the world has produced have been without university degrees.” Giving his own example, Mr. Mehta told The Hindu, “I am a B.A fail and was academically the most undistinguished student in school and college. And I haven’t done too badly.”

In this case, one genius journalist like Vinod Mehta or whatever with no relevant qualifications but pure passion doesn’t disprove the claim that "Mandating basic educational qualifications could improve the overall journalistic quality". Because "overall journalistic quality" is a (loose, but still a) parameter indicating a (kind of) statistical average of entire population of journalists - a population that contains the best of them and the worst of them. Singling out one outlier in the entire population does nothing to the statement about the average member of the population. At best, it proves that a passionate journalist is different than the average journalist which is kind of obvious to begin with.

This is, again, one of the obsolete reductionist deterministic thinking from an era where people still thought bad horoscopes are the reason for bad marriages. In the deterministic thinking mode, providing one counter example is sufficient to disprove a statement. In a deterministic universe, a statement like "women can't read maps" means only one thing: that all women can't read maps; and to disprove it, all  you need to do is show is one girl who is good at reading maps (a counter-example) and it would be even better if you can catch hold of someone like Gregory Peck in "Mackenna's Gold" who not only can read but remember them forever with one glance. However, statistical statement(s) require statistical counter-example(s) and providing singleton counter-examples to Katju's claim about improving average journalistic standards reeks of mathematical illiteracy.

People do this all the time and it annoys me when they fail to interpret the statistical nature of our regular language expressions. Worse, some of them even disrupt my habitual stereotyping of people and try to use that chance to prove that they are more post-modern and better moral beings than I am.

Anyway, my point is that I don't care if a good journalist went to a journalism school, but he should do a basic course in probability and statistics.

NOTE: To be fair, I don't think the journalists in India are bad. It's just that the agenda of their employers i.e. corporate media establishment to deliberately propagandize and create a generation of consistently ill-informed public to enable them to make irrational choices for themselves requires methods that resemble bad journalism. Their opposition to Katju is rather about having the full liberty of journalistic anarchy to fulfill the media industry's destined ignominious descent into total dysfunction. It is important to never forget that all policy discussions/engagements in public are only proxy wars of some kind. 


smanu said...

"One thing I want to tell for the last time is how probabilistically ignorant it sounds when you provide a counter-example to disprove a statistical statement." I really like this statement, the point u r trying to drive home! I've been wexed in professional circles dealing with ppl who don't understand this...

And then there is the opposite case too in personal circles, that is irritating as well...Say I have a conversation personally with a friend and say "I'm family rooted..." I'm talking about me and only me and not about the vast majority of girls on earth, when they say "Ofcourse, all girls are!" it is disgusting to the core!

Sash! said...

ha ha ... oh yeah! there is that problem of over-generalization too. People thinking there is nothing unique about others (especially).

If I may indulge in a little probability-speak, the mistaking of a particular instance of a random variable with the (density function of) random variable itself and vice-versa, both can be nutty !!! :)

Twilight Musings said...


I think the debate sparked outrage not because Journalists don't need no stinking standards, but how to define those standards.

It is true that there is no exploration of what is a good minimum standard on both sides, but if it is perceived that one side is unilaterally proposing a single standard (like a degree) then it is seen as an imposition (Like Bush saying "with us or against us" -- even people with him are slightly insulted that their solidarity isn't voluntary but due to some unspecified threat.)

Even in the West, for the longest time Journalists are based on apprenticeship and hands-on experience (old-timey "newspapermen"). So, perhaps a certain number of publications? or winning some kind of competitions? (like peabody?) or something could be a measure, not necessarily proving that they could mug up material and spit it out in University exams (which is sadly most degrees in India still are..). It is unilaterally saying that degree confers something "special" that gets people's goat, not necessarily because they oppose minimum standards.

It is same thing with "probabilistic" parsing and stereotyping. With every "average" statement, you are offending 50% of representative population (who are going to be better than average by definition of "average" assuming Normal distribution).

It is even more dangerous to compare "averages" between groups. Saying on "average" X-group is better than Y-group says nothing about distribution (bi-modal?), variance (did you follow Larry Summers IQ issue?), and if distribution of these groups had a bit of "skew" you are indeed offending a large fraction of people.

Anyways, pickly people will be pickly about anything (of course, me included) :)

Twilight Musings said...

I just want to add, you can't say a randomly picked person from X-group will be worse than a randomly picked person from Y-group when differences between the group averages is less than 10% (say) of the standard deviation (keeping both standard deviations same). The difference in densities around means won't be so large that random "first" sample will reflect the average difference.

If standard deviations are different, then even with high average, the same density is distributed over wider range such that -1sigma of Y-group will go farther left than -1sigma of X-group.

Apologies for my prickiness again..

Sash! said...

@Twilight: Sure. I wanted to see that debate happen about deciding on a set of decent standards. But, it didn't seem like it happened at all.

Besides, I am too cynical to believe that the media is "really interested" in having a debate but that's beside the point.

I seriously doubt if it would just ONLY AN EXAM that would give them the journalistic license. In Katju's defense, he set up a committee to see all possible requirements. So, we can expand the criteria to a broad range to include other achievements like having written a acclaimed book or Peabody etc. So, I think, we can agree upon a set of decent standards.

Remember, the problem is not as hard as it seems because all we need to do is identify characteristics of bad journalism and block them in a risk-management type way. That way, you can still become a "good" journalist anyway you want through your chosen style - from academic excellence to apprenticeship. But if you suck, the system will let you fail and kick you out. Seems fair to me. That's how one can take advantage of asymmetry in the problem.

As far as offending 50% of journalist population is concerned, I think it's totally ok because would you have a lenient building code because the contractor is complaining ? If you must have some standards, you must have them no matter what. If you don't want to have, have none. Sure, journalists are not going to be happy no matter what rule comes up, but I feel that's ok as long as the requirements are reasonable.

I agree with E[X] vs. E[Y] point you made but I don't think I said anything about that :)

Sure we can get as statistical as you want, but where did I say that "randomly picked person from X-group will be worse than a randomly picked person from Y-group"? Please provide a context so that I can pounce on you !!! :)

smanu said...

@Sash: Not that I don't make such generalized statements, its part of normal communication because of different context-setting of different people. I'm sure I might have hurt many people around me coz most of the times my context is 'collective setting'! Its just that its a bit offending(to have said 'disgusting' is just exaggeration) when u r on the receiving end owing to ur own plight.

I only gave a quick example that I could pick from the limited data set I have! Just to assert the point that more often we do context swapping, like resisting when one should assimilate and indulging when one should resist :)

If we were to decipher contexts before we even talk, for just about every conversation, then it'd be called 'Context decoding' and not 'human interaction'!

I choose to stay out of the probability-speak, owing to my ignorance in the subject :)

smanu said...

But I will speak in general terms on the standards of journalism. It seems true that mandating a degree might help foster better journalism coz it'd filter ppl - only serious ppl wud take the efforts of going thru a curriculum(the quality of the course and the aftermath of exam and the worth of the degree, are different issues altogether, just like the B Tech degree these days - the syllabus is good but imparting it sucks!). And yes, that curriculum might include ur recommendation prob and stats and my recommendation "samajika spruha" kind of things and a lot more! The whole idea is to streamline the flock of people attempting journalism.

More importantly, a degree would never impede self-sufficient journalists(or the outliers as u wud call), wud it??? It might only hone their skills.

Listen to the TV9, ABN, TV5 and similar reporting sitting in AP or perhaps other regional channels in India and I'm sure the first thing that strikes us is - are these ppl qualified to deliver such an important responsibility? The need for such regulation comes especially when media is playing an important role in shaping up things(remember Radia Tapes scam! but again this instance might be termed an outlier)

Twilight Musings said...


Hehe. Actually it is better if India concentrates on lenient building code and license-less contractors. There is much more "real" harm in that than whatever Journalists do, because Journalists are dependent on people paying attention to them. I have seen rampant "soft" storey mid-rise buildings in historically known seismic zones...but well..they all have to go hand in hand.

I get that your point is minimum requirements will keep bad journalists out but if some good ones are keep out, it is no big deal. (same as EAMCET or JEE and engineering. There were some smart math types but they didn't do good under pressure and limited time.Having lower rank or going to low-end schools didn't stop them from shining but it did limit advantages with "pedigree" stamp and networking).

From your cartoon,"If you pick a random woman from the street, she most likely would be bad at reading maps."
There are two ways of quantifying that "bad". Either "worse than Y-group person" or "performs at z% less than standard expected level"

So, either you are making that statement from comparison of expected values. (or) you are pissing of 50% of women who do better z% level.

Either way, dropping all the information on distribution and variance from "general way of speaking" will only promote stereotyping rather than conveying any probabilistic sense.

Pounce away..:)

Sash! said...

@smanu: hehe ... happens all the time. You are talking to a professional verbal assassin. Have said so many right things in all wrong places :)

But, come on. Do we need to get all formal with context switching all the time in our personal lives ? I find that arguing and irritating friends just for the heck of it has a lot of soul-healing power. But, when it comes to policy debate, nothing wrong in defining the context right and having a legitimate discussion. Isn't it?

But like I said, I am too cynical to think that some how people having it their way are any interested in having a serious debate to start being responsible.

Yes! All non-media people will agree that something needs to be done about these strange lizard creatures with a mic and make up speaking "wolf, wolf" on news channels 24/7 !!! May be a degree or may be not - but something reassuring would surely be nice :)

Sash! said...

@Twilight: True. The Gujarat EQ comes to mind.

And totally agree, I care less than two hoots (actually 1.5 to be exact) about what happens to journalism for there are very very serious problems that won't get fixed - with journalism or not. i only wrote the post because the debate reminded me of how people misunderstand risk-analysis, prediction and management.

REPLY TO: "So, either you are making that statement from comparison of expected values. (or) you are pissing of 50% of women who do better z% level".

If I must pick, I like the second criteria better than comparing the averages for the reason you gave about E[X] vs. E[Y] earlier.

But why would it be that I'd be "pissing of 50% of women who do better z% level" ? It could be very well possible that only 5% of all women meet that criteria of being better than z% level. Then, I would have a problem with only 5% population. It's not always 50%. Isn't it?

See, this is a trap. right? You are making me explain more and more and making me sound more and more like a jerk ... really unfair :)

Twilight Musings said...

The statement said "most likely" which refers "highest likelihood". Highest likelihood is around mean (keeping Normal again).

So, you are implying an 'average' women and that goes with average definition.

You can unambiguously say 95% of the women are bad at reading maps as your opinion ('cause, unless you tested large enough "random" sample on some test, that's all it is, your opinion). This reflects more your opinion than framing it as "most likely" and as an objective distribution you (or someone else) evaluated on data.

After all, along with probabilistic statements comes our "confirmation bias" and building wrong PDFs, no?

Again, if you keep some z% level on test which 95% women fail, it isn't a statement on women, unless rest of population doesn't fail at z% level. It is like saying "99% of women can't be astronauts". Yeah, but 98% of the men can't be either (knowing that astronauts are more weighted towards men than women). So, it is much fairer to say "most people can't be astronauts", unless again, we are stereotyping.


smanu said...

"Do we need to get all formal with context switching all the time in our personal lives ?" No, definitely not. Was trying to convey the same thing as u said. Just that I was trying to bring out the 'comedy of errors' triggered by professional-personal context swapping. To start with, my first comment was written as one of those 'irritated' friends :)

Sash! said...

@twilight: FFFine ... you win :)

But, here's a general wondering. How would the "most likely" estimator change if dist. was not normal and suppose we had only a discrete distribution with, say, 2 choices: "good at reading maps" and "not good at reading maps" ? What happens then ? :)

But, hey ... that 95% was totally, totally arbitrary. It could have been 70% or whatever. I just wanted to point that it's not 50% always that I would be pissing off (corresponding to a given z%). None of this is personal, just so you know. I never wanted to mean that 95% of women suck at maps. After all, they have GPS :)

But, sure. Confirmation bias can lead to "Wrong PDFs" occasionally and in disingenuous cases. But, what about statistical statements that are indeed (sort of) right ? May be, instead of a negative example, let's switch to something positive and often validated by data like "Girls score more at board exams than boys". That's stereotyping too because that's not always true but still perfectly acceptable. Isn't it ?

I fully recognize the dark side of stereotyping but I sometimes find people being way too touchy about all sorts of generalizing and stereotyping hysterical. What I was writing was the same thing that they should not take everything so personally every statistic, grasp that it's a way of expressing general trends and have a little fun with it too :)

Sash! said...

@smanu: hehe ... yeah ... what works for professional is opposite in personal context.

Goddamnit, why does life have to be so hard? :)

smanu said...

What to do, such is life? ;)

Twilight Musings said...


I know you don't mean personally. That's why I can engage only in technical aspect of interpreting something. If things were personal and people getting mad instead of discussing, there will be no point, really.

Yes, there could be discrete distribution too. Then there are only two bins with two probability assignments. And, yes, you can pick a different "percentile".

But you do know that any percentile other than "mean" would always need more data. It is the only parameter with minimum error for a given amount of data.

I did acknowledge the stereotyping and the people using "mean" as group predictor before. It sucks for the outliers (on both ends of the curve) of the group but it is the most rational course of action.

It is fun to play on stereotypes when there are only minimal consequences for it. But, real world offers far more negative consequences for low-mean-score groups, statistically aware people don't need to add to it, right?

And, when people are "touchy" it usually stems from some personal loss due to stereotyping (of both genders). If two candidates are in competition with equal qualifications, and one is preferred due to group advantage, the other person is going to be bitter. What is wrong with that?

It is fun for people who haven't been there, but should we discount the reality of people who were in that spot?

Anyway, I have already advanced my apologies and I will do it again. I know I am not at the most fun spot on the sense of humor spectrum these days. :)

Sash! said...

@twilight: oh puh-leeze ... what's all the apology garbage. I am not going to tender you any and God knows how many I owe :)

The reason I came up with the 2-bin discrete model is that "most likely" estimator then would predict that "(women) suck at reading maps" if there are only two options in the possible domain space. This is where statistics get totally evil.

Ah! I didn't know that mean is associated with minimum error but I can easily see why it could be. Thanks for teaching me that :-)

Of course, bitterness is totally acceptable. It's one of the tastes in Ugadi Pachhadi and is a more effective motivator than self-help books, TED talks and commencement addresses :)

Believe me, I have had my share, especially in the last few months of the consequences of being stereotyped one way or the other. But, my defense mechanism has always been a cynical hopelessness over humanity :)

As I have made it clear, no one is trying to condone all kinds of reckless stereotyping but seeing your argument makes me think of the other kind of asymmetry associated in over-generalizing. How for a small amount of gain (fun by exploiting stereotypes) carry great costs (lack of empathy towards the outliers).

Hmm …

Twilight Musings said...


Just want to note, why I find Katju's argument and comparison ridiculous on one level:

Medicine: Common man can go and trust a "doctor" and get hurt

Law: Common man can go to a "lawyer" for legal advice and get hurt

Education: Common man can trust a "teacher" with children and get abused.

Journalism: Common man goes to a Journalist for news?? No. He/She turns on TV or opens a newspaper.

There is no difference between a Journalist and a common man until there is a public medium for Journalist.

A newspaper(magazine/print media) or a TV Channel is required to hire/pay and promote a news item before a common man knows about a "Journalist".

So, instead of focusing on holding corporate entities controlling print and visual media to hire "truth checkers" or have evidence before creating "public panic", or maintain ethical standards in their employees, we are going after individuals??

Talk about transferring risk/liability from corporations to individuals.

If a doctor/lawyer/teacher gets licensing, they can open their own corner consultancy (i.e., clinic, firm, tutions) and make money. If a journalist gets licensing, and nobody hires them, what is the value for the money invested in license? He does the same work as a blogger does for free.

Why this strange fixation on Journalists leaving out Editors, Publishers and TV Channel Owners for accountability?

Sash! said...

I said it. Didn't I? That the editorial policy is the real problem :)

"To be fair, I don't think the journalists in India are bad. It's just that the agenda of their employers i.e. corporate media establishment to deliberately propagandize and create a generation of consistently ill-informed public to enable them to make irrational choices for themselves requires methods that resemble bad journalism."

I make it very clear at the end that I don't take the debate seriously at all for what we witness is always a silly, theatrical proxy war for something grave and bloody which if really discussed in all their raw glory, will blow the lid off people's heads.

I know what I have written sounds like I am defending Katju but only partly because he posed the risk management question, a thing that interests me. In fact, my focus is never on his arguments at all. I don't find it productive to ignore an entire issue because of an individual. Sometimes, they are merely the vehicle to let the cat out of the bag. I often compartmentalize and see that while their particular solutions may or may not be wise enough, may be they managed to raise a relevant question. All I wanted to point out in this post was a parallel between the usual setbacks noticeable in daily risk management conversations (we see in seismic engineering or whatever) and this debate.

I love the points you raised wrt to with the problem of risk being transferred from organizations to individuals. Couldn't agree more. The profound dumbness in the fallacy of this fantasy public policy fairytale called "if only everyone changes, everything will be alright" is depressing. The individual is indeed becoming the most fragile unit.

And, I try not to care about the outcome - because whatever it is, it's not going to be fixed till we figure out how to tackle corporate mischief. Mused about it sometime back in a post called "How to kill a corporation?"

(Warning: I wasn't any wiser back then too)

smanu said...

Yeah exactly. More often Katju brings out relevant issues into limelight, but hardly did his perspectives make any sense to me. I will use the term "hardly" with all my senses on. Being a regular follower of 'The Hindu' and hence his articles too, his narrow perspectives were most of the times 'not very convincing'. There was an instance where he talks abt the technical institutes in India and their net contribution to Indian governance. That link up hardly makes any sense, every thing in India cannot contribute directly to governance. Most of his view-points used to run on similar lines. I hence stopped following his articles since recently!

Twilight Musings said...

@ Sash!

No. I wasn't directing it at you. Katju just grates me. I thought I would vent here while you are being patient with my idiosyncrasies. That's all. :)

Risk transfer is a funny thing. Right now our local government has put in a new rule that "prime contractor" has main responsibility no matter whom they sub-contract the work to.
Usually, big construction companies sub-contract and transfer the risk of penalty for failure of performance to them. But sub-contractors are usually small firms with limited money and so, pay back only a small amount of the total damage assessments due to failure.

The same goes with a company pushing liability to its employees. Sacrificial lambs and all that...

Sash! said...

@smanu: yeah ... hehe ... Regarding governance, I think governance is way over-rated and after a limit quite impossible.

Some people (Katju sometimes) naively think that somehow if we have "the perfect set of rules", everything will be alright and base everything upon that. If we can make people stand in line the right way, that will fix it all. That didn't work in our games-period in my school and it won't work with society. These are the ones that are really bad with probability and should do a basic course first to understand the nature of things.

Our souls are sculpted out of laws of probability; they are not as boring as our brains. They always are looking for a little adventure, love playing with the fires of chaos not have a stable, boring life all the time. Misunderstanding this basic human impulse is why we will never get that fantasy of having perfect set of timeless laws, as much as we desire. Any society that curbs this spirit of seeking adventure and risk-taking will be a failure. The examples are all around us. Ideal society for me is where everyone gets to do what they want. I mean, everyone - not just the powerful.

Habitually enough, I think I digressed :)


@twilight: hmm ... I am surprised, when I worked in the construction in India, the prime contractor was always responsible, no matter what (I think).

Yeah. "Too big to fail" institutions is another example. What's the incentive to behave themselves when they know they don't have to pay for their mistakes.

Well. Anyway ...

smanu said...


Prob and stats is not my forte, to use it to analyze the soul sculpture. I used to be happy if I answered decently enough in exams when questions on that were asked. My tryst with prob and stats ended there :) If I really have to talk at the soul level, 'instincts' seem more rational to me than the rational prob and stats. I believe our souls have a "natural tendency" to arrive at that state thru instincts, which brains arrive at, thru the rational way of prob-stats problem solving. But yes, if that was necessary at some point in my career I wud have definitely spared some time to explore it in more detail!

smanu said...

"I am surprised, when I worked in the construction in India, the prime contractor was always responsible" I don't know abt the construction route, but this rule of percolating the liability thru the whole chain of players involved, was arrived at, in the Nuclear liability act last year.

Sash! said...

Probability is indeed the (closest) rational framework for instincts and the irrational ... and is fully consistent with them ...

I am sorry for being nerdy ... it don't have to be this way at all ... :)

There is nothing wrong with having the liability proportional to the benefit you stand to gain. In the nuclear non-liability bill, the company makes profit when things are fine and pays nothing proportional when an accident would happen. This incongruity is the problem.

On the other hand, no one will invest in India if we don't have these lenient rules and since, the nuclear plant is not going to be next to any backyard of the lawmaker or the businessman, the law is easy to make ...

smanu said...

@Sash: I can see why u believe laws of probability can explain the soul sculpture. I see that specialists have a tendency of exploring the world solely thru a subject at a given point of time. My Music Sir has an amazing knack to do it thru music, I used to use Physics, some use chemistry, others geography. Its amazing to understand the intricacies of the universe thru laws of Music. At any point, to me music seemed the closest :)

Sash! said...

wow ... I would burn all this probability functions at the stake for an ounce of musical talent ... :)

smanu said...

Yeah, music is such a soul-healing gift to mankind. But living in the current times of competition and commercial interests, its very hard to dedicate time and efforts for it unless there is reason and passion enough. Coincidentally, today is my last day at the 6 month-long Music classes! My Guru has stopped offering carnatic vocal because the group lost interest and got scattered and I was the sole student left and the institute does not derive money out of my fees for the space and time it offers for those 2 hours a week! They offered me to teach violin and I chose to take a break!

Sash! said...

Ayyayyoo ...

That's wonderful ... I always wanted to learn classical vocal ...

Having the experience of doing 2 semesters of guitar classes and blowing up nearly $700 and failing miserably, I totally connect with what you are saying. In fact, I connect more with your class-mates who ruined it :)

I gave up owing to my poor time management skills during grad school and unable to make time for practice. I hope someday, someday ... :)

Twilight Musings said...

In other news, I took up Violin again. Going through "twinkle twinkle little star" variations again.... :D
At least makes me feel young since I leave embarrassment at the door.

Sash! said...

wow ... cool ... all the best ...

smanu said...

I finally got hold of the link to Katju's article I referred to, in one of the comments above! I got few details wrong there, its actually this article criticizing Katju I had on my mind then. (
Basically the article "agrees" with the problem pointed by Katju, but does not agree with his line of argument, just in line with the views we exchanged earlier.

Especially I agree with the author when he says - "He asks whether the higher education system in India has managed to raise the standard of living of the poor Indian masses who are struggling with massive unemployment, skyrocketing prices, huge problems of health care, housing etc. I have fundamental issues with this line of argument."

Nevertheless, re-reading the article, I get to understand Katju's intentions behind this funny "link-up" between technical education and the governance related problems its unable to solve. While its true that every entity has an impact someway or the other on other entity, in a connected world, I see that he tried to link-up not so relevant cause-effect factors! I see the application of "Give back whatever u take" motto, as if to determine the net-charge direction in an electric-circuit diagram, way too much in his line of argument :)

smanu said...

And again, this discussion would be incomplete if I leave by not appreciating the courage Katju displays, when he makes statements like this - "90% of the Indians are fools!" (

Sash! said...

I completely agree with the Hindu article you posted.

The way I look at it, it's not the government's job to promote education for education's sake. Quite frankly, higher education is a waste of time in India. What are people going to do with one more degree ? And sure, people and students know better thanks to their BS meters - which is why they treat the education system as a joke because very little taught in colleges in the country translates any useful survival skills in the country.

Instead of dumbly throwing money at the problem, government should invest in programs that require higher education professional. Create indigenous industries like aerospace, public health, environmental preservation and then people feel the need to go and study more. Without that, IITs will remain a place for Morgan Stanley to pick engineering graduates.

Besides, the 150 crore or whatever per university is not a big amount at all if we allow ourselves to step out of our bubble and see the kind of facilities top-class educational institutions offer in terms of libraries and access.

As far as primary education is concerned, sure, by all means we can do better. But, there's too much money to be made off the insecurities of the middle class that the private school industry will never let government into the game.

smanu said...

Yeah tapping and channelizing the talent and energy of the youth is the real challenge, I believe! Whatever u discussed in 3rd para is a holistic take of a specific instance of what I was discussing in the blog post while talking abt research for Alternative Energies(

While I felt govt is not doing enough to take "from" higher education sector, Katju was arguing that higher education sector is not doing enough to give back "to" the governance aspects. That was the real crux of my discussion. That was the "missing link" that was being emphasized - a change in the 'direction' of pro-activeness.

Fire Dragon said...

Bạn đang muốn sử dụng dịch vụ giao hàng nhanh toàn quốc. Có quá nhiều nhà cung cấp dịch vụ giao hàng khiến bạn bối rối. Bạn không biết lựa chọn nhà cung cấp dịch vụ giao hàng nào là thích hợp. Nếu là như vậy thì hãy chọn chúng tôi vì những lý do do sau. Chúng tôi chuyên nghiệp, nhanh chóng, uy tín, giá cả hợp lý, phục vụ tận tình. Một số dịch vụ tiêu biểu của chúng tôi có thể kể đến như dịch vụ vận chuyển hàng đi campuchia, giao hàng nhanh, giao hàng thu tiền hộ, cho thuê kho bãi, gửi hàng ra hà nội, ship hàng nội thành tphcm, ship hàng nội thành hà nội, vận chuyển hàng hóa đi đà nẵng, chuyển hàng đi cần thơ,... Và còn vô số dịch vụ hữu ích khác phục vụ cho bạn cho việc vận chuyển hàng. Nếu bạn còn thắc mắc đừng ngại mà hãy cứ liên lạc với chúng tôi để được giải đáp tận tình.

Hoàng Minh said...

Có làn da trắng là mong ước của mọi cô gái , sản phẩm thuoc uong lam trang da ivory caps giúp thuốc uống trắng da toàn thân ngoài ra bạn cũng có thể sử dụng các loại kem chong nang tot nhat. Ngoài ra nếu bạn muốn làn da luôn tươi trẻ thì nên dùng my pham sakura nhat ban như kem duong da chong lao hoa sakura giúp làn da luôn trẻ đẹp xóa các nếp nhăn. Cách thuốc herba vixmen an toàn và hiệu quả bằng herba vixmen , vậy thuoc herba vixmen co tot khong , có an toàn không và mua ở đâu sẽ được cho biết sau đây.

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