Pune, 4th November 2009

We are attempting to democratize education. Socratic is same as upanishad type model. father’s dialogue to sun – nachiketa’s dialogue with yama in katho upanishada. Yudhishtra with his dad. Upanishada means sitting at the feet. Oxford and Cambridge – they wouldn’t let people into univ. England has a Socratic way of teaching. There system is called the tutorial system – one on one – it was v.interesting. Homoerotic relation between teacher n student. Whitehead n Bertrand Russel – student pupil relation – principia mathematica. Williams college in MA – only college in USA to follow Socratic or tutorial method of teaching. How to deal with bad kids – drunken German univ. Type of kids – how are you going to deal with this? Find out some rules of thumb on you can find out – you all have to empirically work on. Ideal is Socratic because we will not always have s pupil like Plato. Under Elizabeth in England they achieved 60 pc literacy. Many Nobel laureates collaborate with students to publish great work. Jerry didn’t have an answer and urges us to engage with the question. Keep daily dairies. Coming generations of teachers would be able to us the paradigm developed by us.

you are going to teach Shaheen and me by telling us what works and what doesn’t matter. keep the diaries with Socratic and upanishadic method as the baseline..don’t maintain slipshod diaries. It is not like corporates u can measure the outcome quickly it will happen in 10 years. You also have a whole system that is not working.

There is volumes of Current research against charter school – what people don’t have a historical background. Teacher is a woman usually historically. These are things that have worked elsewhere. One teacher multiple subjects is best model. If there is a general ambiance for learning by and large those kids have progressed.

How to deal with parents?

Create an atmosphere of respect for knowledge.

We just don’t know what works. The Indian middle class is the best exam taking class.

Learning and exam taking technique to take exams – u have to teach the students and parents this – we have to remain competitive.

Learning by rote is important for math and poetry.

Through your experience create case studies, and a body of knowledge to crack this problem of canning.

Korea vs. India – avg korean is much better than avg. India. there per capita gdp is 25 times ours.

Problems with higher education in our country. – we have just 3 Nobel laureates – that are British educated. More Nobel laureates in Israel which is the size of ratnagiri district.

So i am troubled with the outcomes of our education. We need to produce newtons.

Maharaja states paid lot of money to teachers than under the British commune. British didn’t want to democratic education.

Teachers believe they come from a higher social class and students come from slums. They think that students are karmically supposed to do this.

‘you know where they come from’.. Book – govt brahmin -kannada book- he is now a sociology prof.. written by a dalit. All of you should read it.

Combined expenses of 6 IITs = revenue from coaching classes.

If your kids are slightly more educated they have a huge differential to the GDP.

Why we don’t produce Nobel laureates?

1. Creativity is squeezed out

2. Amount of resources spent on research.

Koli, chairman emeritus TCS – said there are more phds in sanskrit in US than in India.

What jerry suggested sibal?

Give institutions of excellence full autonomy and grants. And make them multiple disciplinary. Impose condition they will adhere to reservations, second no poor kid should go away without a scholorship. The govt shudnt tell what the college should do.

All of them were given charters of how to run themselves – and slowly a culture of excellence will come.

In our anxiety to go downside, why forget the upside.

No country has become rich until and unless it has achieved 90% literacy. Really to create wealth we must increase female literacy to at least 85%.

You can tell them you can become richer in other ways such as BPO.

Most 10th fails are useless – most of them can be very useful citizens but they create social tensions.

Particularly in education there is no immediate feedback. Govt wants to spend money but its not clear on what. Give autonomy. Some may do scams or frauds but it doesn’t mean that you wont let companies work freely.

Yes certain minimum marks are important and that is okay, but lets look at child’s creativity.

There is a lot of focus now on class 7 and 8.

About 60 pc of staff in cruise ships in Florida are Indians. Assistant chef on a ship is not a menial job. Hdfc bank is doing data entry in villages – attrition rates are low and cheaper.

We need to get them away from low rate dead end jobs. For them the present income is more imp. than income later. their discount rates are very high-35% and ours are 12%.

T.S.Elliot’s poem – wasteland. God is dead but we are alive and we are dead.

*Disclaimer: Please note this is the version of our discussion with Jerry Rao I recall of my memory so it may have some discrepancy between what he said and what i recollect.