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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gurukul

This Sunday I accompanied a friend to "Sree Chaitanya IIT Prep school" at Ameenpur where he had gone to see his brother. Now, this place on the outskirts of Hyderabad is an all-inclusive world for the near-1000 students enrolled for 2 years to crack the JEE. The points which I find striking are:
  • Students are not allowed to leave the campus
  • Students have to get up at 5:00 AM everyday
  • Students have to sleep by 11:00 PM, no late-night studying, no night-outs
  • Students have to study during designated study hours
  • It's a boys-only boarding school, so no girls within sight for days/weeks at a stretch
All this reminded me of Gurukul, the movie, wherein a bunch of youngsters defy authority in search of "love" outside the confines of the institution. Obviously the institute is well within its rights to provide a suitable studying environment but I ponder how the crave for IIT has transformed the students' life. The shortage of good institutes of higher learning in India has reached magnanimous proportions even as the government continues to deduct 2% education cess from the tax-payers -- I wonder where all the money goes.

I don't blame the institute -- it's just catering to the demand from the public, and it's doing a good job. I don't blame the students -- they're just working hard in hope of a better future, even if it comes at a huge price, literally or otherwise. Whether or not the students are grown up enough yet to realize their freedom is a debatable issue. But something still doesn't feel right.
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