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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Untalenting Talent"

Read this interesting article by Joel on Joelonsoftware. Got me thinking. In India we are doing our best to "un-talent talent," yes, I am coining a phrase here, which I hope to develop into, erm, a cliche on this blog, by telling our talented youth that there aren't seats in medical, engineering and management institutions. In America, as Joel's article states, they are willing to take pains to absorb students as interns and nurture them as future employees.

Well, honestly, India is "untalenting talent" by asking for huge donations - I hear it is Rs 5 million for a medical seat, around half a million for an engineering seat, and about that much for a management seat - with the result that what comes out of our high profile institutions are rote-learned, uncreative, disillusioned, unmotivated engineers, doctors and managers. The best and brightest of them go to the US where they can get scholarships, jobs on campus, or, can be picked up by a corporation that is interested in employing them.

Hm, well, who is the loser and who is the gainer? While our colleges of higher learning are becoming richer, the US is getting a steady stream of talented programmers, doctors and managers because of the short-sighted policies of our country. Look at the roster of developers in any software development company in the US and you will find a lot of "Sridhars, Shuklas, Samuels, Samants, Ramakrishnans, etc." in their list. Whereas in India a government that believes in e-governance do not have talented programmers to maintain their own sites. Visit any government sites and see if they are regularly updated. I needn't give the answer here, for obvious reasons.

And our reservation policy has contributed its mite to "untalenting talent." According to the policy, I am a bit dark here, but, will plod on, half the seats (50 per cent) are decided by the management (that means whoever pays more gets a seat) and half are decided by the government (that means around 40 per cent of the half is reserved for students who do not have the talents, but have been born in the right caste). These two chunks add up to 90 per cent and there are only 10 per cent seats available for students who have any merit, and who are genuinely interested in studying. For all I know, I am being quite cynical here, the 90 per cent who have a seat reserved for them becuase of their money power or their birthright may not be repeat may not be interested in studying at all, and may disrupt the studies of the honest and talented students. Here again "untalenting talent" takes a heavy toll.

Who gains, who loses?
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