October 26, 2009

Article: Experiment on teacher pay
Source: Marginal Revolution

Performance-based pay has long been heralded as the solution to the poor quality of education that permeates US-based primary education schools.  These educational institutions – elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools – significantly lack quality when compared to other similar schools in other countries.  Standardized exams prove this.  The question, then, is: how can we improve those primary education institutions?

The model, it’s often argued, is to copy the strategy that US-based institutions of higher education follow, since these institutions are better than any other in the world.  Professors of higher education (colleges, universities, trade schools, etc.) get paid better than teachers at primary education institutions.  Simple.  The article by Marginal Revolution (above) proves that incentive-based teaching works, at least in their sample size (India).

But, it’s not really that simple.  While student performance may have increased in the study done in India, what about the general trajectory of the teaching profession?  That’s the other side of the equation, isn’t it?

Teaching was once considered an art of passion.  Teachers were required to have a passion for teaching, a love for knowledge, and an addiction to spreading that knowledge to the coming generations.  Will incentive-based pay transform a profession of passion into a profession void of passion?  Or, is incentive-based pay the correct solution to turning around the downward spiral of the quality of education in US primary schools?


A Wednesday

September 8, 2008

“A Wednesday” is by far the best Hindi movie of the year.  Go watch it, and let me know what you think of the conclusion.  Do you agree with it, or are you opposed to that outlook and methodology of solving the particular problem shown in the film?

Don’t read any reviews on it or try to research it.  Trust me – the reviews will spoil it for you and may alter your experience.  

The movie isn’t kid-friendly, so avoid it if you have youngsters.

Download Article: Sanskrit required in London school
Source: Aditya Ghosh and Sumana Ramanan, Hindustan Times

A Christian school in London has adopted Sanskrit into its curriculum. Why? After 12 years of monitoring the results of this move, they say that learning Sanskrit helps develop overall cognitive skills and the ability to better learn other topics like math and science.

“This is the most perfect and logical language in the world, the only one that is not named after the people who speak it,” says Warwick Jessup, Head of Sanskrit Dept., St. James Independent School.

Passion, defined!

March 1, 2008

Download Article: Ram Charan’s strange existence
Source: David Whitford, Fortune Magazine

At $20,000 for a day’s worth of consulting, Ram Charan can easily afford a house. But he never bought one until last year. Why? Because he spends 365 days on the road (if you think that’s an exaggeration, read the article).

He’s one of the highest paid consultants alive. The top brass (CEOs, CFOs, etc.) of GE, Verizon, Citicorp, DuPont, Intel, and a countless number of other Fortune 500 firms rely on him to solve their complex problems. And he does it in one sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.

His two assistants ship him clean clothes, underwear, socks, toothpaste, shampoo and everything he needs to survive. Shipments go directly to the musical chair worth of hotel rooms he visits. He ships his dirty laundry back to his assistants to wash.

It wouldn’t hurt to imbibe even 1% of the passion this man exudes.

Article Link: Re-writing of the Mahabharat…

Did you know that the Mahabharat was re-written in the past at least twice? That’s what this article (and many others by scholars and historians) claim. True or not, the concept of re-positioning the eternal values presented in the Mahabharat are worth a second look and some forethought.

After reading the article, post your thoughts on whether you think it’s a good idea to re-position stories to fit today’s examples, realities, and generational nuances? Is it right or wrong? If the original values are kept in tact while the stories are changed, does that alter your judgment?

Chanakya’s Niti Shastra

December 5, 2007

Download Article: Niti Shastra (Transliteration)

Here’s a transliterated version of Chanakya’s Niti Shastra.

Some of what’s written in the Niti Shastra needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as we all know that meanings and interpretations are very contextual – they may have applied for that specific time and situation. However, I found myself smiling to myself as I read most of this – it still very much applies in today’s world! (Check out Chapter 6, Verse 21. I bet you never thought you could learn something from a donkey)

If you haven’t seen the Chanakya serial already, I highly recommend it. Chanakya has a very candid approach and interpretation to life. There is definitely no beating around the bush.

Dowload Article: Is India Headed the Right Way?
Source: Rediff.com

Here’s an article the raises important questions about India’s growth and development.

Though everyone agrees that growth is the life-blood and an undeniable element of life, this article forces us to discriminate been the different types of growth and whether they are ultimately positive.

Feel free to comment on this article.