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13 Jan, 25 tweets, 5 min read
Some thoughts on Education. This seems to be a recurring theme. India's education is mostly designed after the Sunday School model - where there is an emphasis on learning by rote, and unquestioned obedience is expected [okay- maybe the second is a stretch]. /0
But the bigger problem is something that I have tweeted about extensively, several times over the past several years. It is about saving education from schooling. Schooling today has become a means and end of its own. There is no need for schooling except to fulfill schooling.
Social lives in India revolve around families -- and even in isolated nuclear family units, the life revolves around the society in apartment complexes. Each of these complexes are as well populated as villages. Hence the social argument for today's schooling doesn't hold.
Far from being simply [for most part] useless, today's schooling is positively injurious to our civilization. Yes: there are kids who benefit from a structured teaching framework. But no, most kids just pass through school without imbibing any values or knowledge..
Even though this mediocrity existed a decade ago too, the alternatives like home-schooling were not exactly an option. Students @ 10+2 level need an expert to teach them the concepts. if we remove rote learning school without giving them access to expert teaching, they will sink.
But today - it is a different world. Metaphorically and literally too. The Chinese virus pandemic has done a serious number on all schooling. Students are forced to learn the same mediocre syllabus - but now from the confines of their home.

One wonders: if the kids can learn ++
++ from home for the past 1 year, what purpose did schools really serve? If online teaching can substitute on-site teaching, can we leverage this change in mentality [coming to this next] to bring in high-quality [scratch that] world class online teaching to homes?
Back in 2014, when I mooted the idea of micro-schools run by enterprising tutors, many parents baulked at the suggested. The idea was very simple. Network with subject matter graduates with a great aptitude for teaching, and give them a lesson plan & ask them to start tuitions.
A group of 4-5 graduates can take care of a distributed group of 30-40 students, teach them all subjects from grades 7 - 10 at least. In fact, for lower grades, a single teacher would suffice. The students also build a rapport with the teacher(s) and imbibe values. It is win win!
But it won't be so easy - there are bound to be bad teachers. So, we monitor feedback and let go of the deadwood. The system will have faster response time than the current schooling. We don't have to reinvent the syllabus wheel - NIOS would do.

But still, parents weren't happy
The typical Indian brand consciousness came to the fore. "If my child is being home-schooled, then others would think my child is dumb". Worse - "if my child attends XYZ school because all my colleagues send their kids there". It is a status signal for the parent.
After meeting with and talking with 50 or so parents and failing to convince even one of them that this (micro-school) would work out better for their child's future, I had put that idea in abeyance. This was 2014.

Now, home schooling is the norm & the teacher a face on screen.
It is likely that the really affluent parents will continue with this trend [saves time/effort in commute; more time for other activities] of online learning. It is also because the parents are likely to find and afford other resources that will provide quality edu for their kids
Where the rich go, the others follow. So, in another 10 years or so, it will be a matter of prestige to say "my child learns online fully". I foresee it becoming a reality.

For many Hindus worried about the vice grip of MMM nexus on our education, this is a god send opportunity
Reasonably smart kids waste a lot of time at school. Super smart driven kids use their school time to prepare for IIT JEE. But most other kids hang on to the syllabus as if the details are a live saver. Can we intervene here? Are we strong enough to grab on to an opp?
Imagine creating world-class lectures on current syllabi [btw, the current syllabi are actually good .. it needs impressive teachers though]. And then letting kids learn at their own pace.

Yes, many online courses do this today. But, how many can afford them?
Quality shouldn't be costly. When a market like India is ripe for transformation, quality education can be provided for peanuts and still have some great value delivered. Pricey can be reserved for bells and whistles.

Question is: Is India ready for Ikea of Education?
Yes. This thread is closely linked with my current attempts at reviving the old idea. This time, starting with some edu videos for middle school. But, sooner than later, it has to scale up.

The market is big enough for a 1000 players. May the best team win.
Also: this isn't just about online classes today. This Covid forced isolation will go off in some time hopefully. But then, smaller groups of students can get together in front of one good teacher [10 students per teacher] and then learn things deeper, than 50 students in a class
Why should parents bear the cost of bribes paid to a Edu department babu? A typical school fees for LKG in Bangalore is ~4000 INR per month. Now, take a good qualified teacher who will teach 10 students for 8th grade sitting at home. That is 40K income doing meaningful work.
The teacher can pick their students [women may choose all girls, men may choose all boys]. The teacher also teaches values by acting their station. The teacher earns the respect over time, and the students learn how to lead a respectable life. Excellent teachers charge more!
A typical school day doesn't need more than 4 hrs of teaching. This means a teacher can teach two groups. More income with same investment. Tutoring / teaching is lucrative. Make it mainstream.

Our edu output will take a huge leap in just 3 - 5 years.
From a business perspective: Indian parents spend a lot on education. Make the spending meaningful. Also - spread the wealth around! Millions of USD into building one school with 1000s of USD per annum fees makes ZERO sense when the same education can be delivered for much less.
If Hindus and Dharmics are serious about capturing education for their own kids - there is NO better time than this. The bright side comes with a dark message too: as we dither & question the opportunity on theoretical assumptions - know that the Church will be working on it too.
If we don't flood the market with our own version of distributed schooling in the next 5 years, the church will occupy this space AND enact laws that will stop your entry here.

And that, gentle folks, is how the game is played. /Fin

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More from @SirJambavan

13 Jan
It is fashionable for people to create sympathy to the unseen / unknown organisms. The poor things that can't stand up and fight for their own existence.

It makes for a brilliant narrative. It melts your hearts. And you get to play saviour of the oppressed by outraging. /1
But, for most part, such things are also false.

Amazon are the lungs of the world. Never mind that most of the world's oxygen production happens in open oceans. But these are harmless ones. Of course, we all love to maintain forests.
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9 Jan
I hear a lot of calls for an alternative to / Indian version of Twitter.

When they created Twitter, they didn't say "I want something like this". Instead they picked something abstract and willed it into existence.

Note for Indian techies. Don't chase Indian Twitter. Imagine.
Unless we become brave enough to imagine things that never were, we will never become leaders. And we have seen that there is only space for one large such platform in the competition for mindspace.
Have been in many official (Govt initiated) and unofficial tech discussions .. we don't take the time to freely imagine. Our techies don't care about human nature. Those who care about human nature don't care about monetizing it. And our power players don't understand tech.
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trying my hands at @OnlyNakedTruth 'esque thread. /0
Everyone knows energy is the basis of life. Energy as in the physical definition of energy [F x Dist kind of energy] and not the cosmic kind of energy. I don't know about the latter for writing a tweet - let alone a thread.
Life is diverse. You find life in sub-oceanic volcanic vents, Alkaline lakes [btw, it is far more difficult for life to exist in alkalinity than in acidity. Story for another time], acid lakes, artcic, antarctic, in Mariana trench, & quite certainly on Sagarmata too.
Read 27 tweets
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A bit of reminiscing on this news. Way back when we were students, our Plant Biotechnology professor (K Veluthambi) was teaching us about seed specific promoters. He said SSPs are so specific and complete that if you expressed a vaccine candidate ++
All you have to do to get your vaccine is to collect the seeds (industrial grade process, hence cheap) and purify it. Because seeds have limited num of proteins compared to any other system (say, yeast), and because SSP can drive high levels of expression, the purification is ++
++ far easier and far more economical. What is more? You end up with less contamination (less adverse effects).

Sometimes it is fun to see what you read in theory come to life after 20+yrs.

Also a point here: plants are extraordinarily versatile factories. We can use them++
Read 6 tweets
1 Dec 20
Don't quote me.

There is a responsibility with leaders of states (like the leader of the liberal world) that goes beyond their own ideologies, whims and electoral compulsions.

A country has longer memory than an individual and civilizations have longer memories than countries.
When an enemy state like Pakistan talks about internal issues of India, the logic is palpable.

When countries like Canada with a lot to lose by antagonizing the world's largest democracy, become mouthpieces for a Terrorist State, it is inexplicable.

Canada just lowered itself.
All for what?
For the whims and fancies of one self proclaimed saviour of liberalism in the world.

It would be interesting to note that Trudeau, a man from Quebec, hasn't said a word in support of France's crackdown on extremism.

Hail liberalism. Or should I call it doormatism?
Read 4 tweets
20 Nov 20
A few thoughts on @RMantri 's views on Shrārdh!

Any act associated with a meaning, when repeated over a long time, will become a ritual. A ritual has its own intrinsic beauty that comes from predictability. Predictability also gives rituals their aesthetic appeal.
Now, it is a great ambition to hope to replace a ritual with another.

But first, there has to be a positive buy in. A large enough number of people should be willing to replace the existing ritual with what you offer.

It is key to both mimic the act and provide the meaning.
When we replace a ritual from something taken from elsewhere (say from Mexico), you are picking an act out of its context, and using it to replace another that has a context.

For instance: beheading has a meaning and social sanction in Saudi Arabia. You won't bring that to India
Read 8 tweets

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