Which Countries Win the International Mathematical Olympiads

IMOI was asked on twitter how students of Indian origin do in the maths equivalent of the US spelling bee contests. (I had written a blog post on how students of Indian origin appear to have cornered the market on US spelling bee contests.)

I guess they do well in math too. I did a bit of searching on the web and here’s what I found.  Continue reading “Which Countries Win the International Mathematical Olympiads”

The IITs are not really what they are cracked up to be

It is time once again to lay that old chestnut to rest. The specious claim that the IITs are better than some of the best universities in the world is beyond slack-jawed silliness. I am reminded of that by this tweet by my friend @KiranKS

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Nursery Schools and Government Malfeasance

Mumbai makes me mad. Never mind the alliteration, I cannot stand the horrendous traffic, the repeated demented wail of mosque loudspeakers, the incessant honking of vehicles, and the crowds. But then, I was on Bangalore a few days ago and it was not much better. (Bengaluru is now the proper name but it sounds strange to a Bengali.) Bengaluru too has horrendous traffic, demented wailing from a few thousand mosques, the honking, . . . Signs of urban decay and disastrous descent into chaos is depressingly ubiquitous and inescapable. If that has not cheered you up, continue reading.
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Like the NREGA, the RTE helps destroy whatever is left

The NREGA, as feared, has caused tremendous harm and will continue to play havoc on the Indian economy. The Right to Education (RTE) is another act that will surely help destroy whatever little there is left of the Indian education system. It is as if the UPA led by the Congress has sworn to destroy India. Go read what Manish Sabharwal has to say about the RTE in the Economic Times of Jan 12th. An extract below the fold, for the record:
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Innumerates of the Times of India

Those who refuse to do arithmetic are doomed to speak nonsense. That one is a favorite quote from a computer science guru John McCarthy. To it I would add that those who are incapable of reasoning are doomed to being innumerate. The ability to reason is a prerequisite for knowing how to do arithmetic. Let me give you a shining example of innumeracy arising from an inability to reason.
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Unwelcome Competition in Education

An addendum to the previous post on “Education and Corruption.” Here’s a story that I recently heard which illustrates the engineering of scarcity in education and the resultant bribes and low quality. No names are mentioned because the people involved are powerful people in the government.
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Education and Corruption

The Indian education sector is in distress. How does one explain the lack of outrage among the population at something which affects them so forcefully? Could it be because they are not aware of how dysfunctional the system is? That must at least partly explain the apathy. Perhaps they know but accept it with the fatalistic resignation of the type that accepts corruption among public officials? Perhaps they mistakenly consider pervasive corruption as normal. But how can they not see that government control of education, the rampant corruption, and the crippled education system are all of a piece?

Here’s a news item which reports that medical post graduate studies involve bribes of up to Rs 2 crores (around $ 400,000.)
Continue reading “Education and Corruption”