It has been over an year that I got back to the academic arena. Personally it has been gratification to the fullest, but on the other hand have got acquainted with the many grave flaws/
The acceptance of ‘imparting education’ as the primary goal of academia is the fundamental problem, and I shall not delve into that notion as yet. This crude effort paper of mine and a fellow collaborator would convey it better Evolving Pedagogies beyond production line models of education .
In this post I want to express the deep anxiety that has come as a natural consequence of witnessing another inseparable facet of academia – Research.
I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I very much am aware that I am not an abstract research person – I am simply a problem solver, who can see problems when others cannot. That being my strength I already know what would be the nature of my research in academics. And it did not take me long to realise that ‘arriving at the problem’ is the fundamental requirement for performing research, and not necessarily the solution. It is quite the opposite with the persons I have observed for the last few months.
Now, with the shifting environment from industry to academia, not as a student but as a teaching faculty I have been overwhelmingly disappointed with the majority of research instances I have encountered. As students are taking up engineering education without any aim, but of getting a job, the incentive for performing research is all contorted. Research for the sake of climbing up the hierarchy in an institution seems to be the most common incentive, which has an associated perk of better pay.
Research when motivated by anything other than passion to solve a problem is futile, and the many instances of research I have seen are in essence futile. A thesis which sits in a booklet impacting neither science, nor society but only adds a prefix to the title of an individual is in all senses derogating all the progress we have made in science and society.
Researchers lacking clarity of the problem they are trying to solve, in a domain unrelated to them is a commonality today in India. With the easy access to content on the Internet, most work is outsourced to search engines and effort is minimised on the individual’s part.
And hence, the lack of research in India.
Not to end this post on a low, there are a handful of minds I am lucky to know, who are immersed in the subjects they are working in. They are researching problems which they are obsessed with, and these are the specks of hope for a better intelligentsia to usher India into a future that is bright in all senses.