Day 93: Don’t call that gender bias now

A foot into Switzerland

The morning was spent on the streets in front of the visa processing center. We paid for premium services, meaning we did not have to stand in the infamous queues for a visa application. But that also meant we had nothing to do. So we stood around on the road, chatting with PGS.

The agents got us some fancy deal and we did not pay most of the visa fee. We’ll know soon what major games were at play. Overall, between herding the women around the office and collecting their money for the processing, I got a sense that I was their chaperoning teacher while PGS was just another student. Strange strange feeling being the responsible one.

Things got whacky when all the women wanted a ride back and we decided to stuff into the Red Beast. So that’s a record 9 passengers, with 4 upfront utilizing the baby seat to the fullest. It was a really stupid thing to do and I should learn to say no to such things soon.

Col Fr Dr TCM Sir

The Student Council had its first meeting with the big bosses today. So we were armed with all our suggestions and queries to make every student’s life better. Ha, where we stupid!

Here are the highlights:

  • A fist fight that broke out in the elevators because students were riding the wrong direction is a petty issue.
  • Faculty evaluation during the mid semesters is a matter of utmost interest: specially since nothing is done about the end-term evaluation itself. Faculty who have been consistently rated poorly are still enjoying free will.
  • A class cannot have 40 students, instead of the current 60, because who would compensate for the lakhs lost from those 20 students?
  • Libraries cannot be open on Sundays because we’re not getting enough footfalls on weekdays itself. And that’s how the value of a mall is calculated.
  • Students cannot understand anything that the teacher from Korea teaches. Too bad, we pay her a lot; so, have your students listen harder.
  • We cannot ask the food vendors to reduce plastic and stop selling plastic bottles on campus. Because, have you listened to Trump? Climate change is a farce and nobody is truly environmentally conscious now, are they?
  • Girls cannot wear leggings under their salwars because there are boys, and fathers, on campus. The leggings unleash the beast within them, I presume.
  • Easy access to sanitary napkins is something the Fr Col Dr VC doesn’t concern himself with. Because, he is a Father, you know, and let women bleed out of their vaginas; not like a Father is ever seeing one. Right?
  • Girl hostelites pay for their laundry while the boys don’t. And the girls are in their cages 30 minutes before the boys. Why? It is a needed precautions and don’t ask us why. And that is not gender discrimination now, Cmon!

2 hours, one vada and a coffee, later, it was very evident how powerful the Student Council in this University really was. It was evidently a facade of student representation, where all that was expected was for us to look pretty, hold umbrellas for cultural events and herd a crowd when needed.

Maybe what you told GardenMan is true, S. You guys are leading the #IndianCynics band, and looking at it all with dark shades.

Don’t mind me. I’m just sharing my doggie wisdom. That’s all!” Scotch

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Day 84: School visitsĀ 

Christ State

We started the day by visiting Christ State school to conduct interviews for the radio project. The principal, a father of CMI, was one of the most arrogant leaders I’ve seen in a while, the kinds that is comfortable being in the position he is in. My disdain for the people of religion in education is growing by the day.

We visited students of grade 9, and they were unusually shy. We visited two classes, both in the process of copying notes from the blackboard. The smart boards and the fancy institutional title all seemed to be wasted on the students and the teachers.

Anyway, we did a quick interview of some students, their teacher and some counselors on campus. It was really annoying to see TallSwiss lax around, not contributing to any of the interviews at all. I’ll give him today, for coming back from a hectic weekend; but the slack ends there.

Government school

After lunch, we went to a government school, run by a haughty lady principal. It seems to be the day of meeting bad principals! She couldn’t speak a sentence in English and she told us about how she visited Germany, France and Switzerland a couple of years back for a fortnight long trip. When we told her about our intent to walk around the school and observe a few classes, her onky question was what we had to offer for the school. Bold request from a school that is funded by the government, and supported by various. NGOs including Teach For India.

The students did surprise me, though. We went to a class that had been split into English and Kannada medium, and it was the Kannada medium students that answered, and in pretty decent English. The general opinion that one has about poor soft-skills amongst Government school students is quickly corrected.

While it was a session in Indian schools for the Swiss, it was a great eye-opener for us Indians. If true change needs to be brought about in Indian schools, the haughty principals need to go. Young and dynamic teachers need to come in, who are invested in the education of each child.

While you’re busy visiting schools and complaining about principals, I’m still sleeping away the strain from the weekend, sis. You relax!” Goose 

Day 54: Lacking vision

I’ve been pretty irritated by the head of the department and his clear lack of vision for the team he leads. What pissed me off most recently was his ‘expert opinion’ that it would be better for us students to attend class than skip sessions to be at a national conference on National Universities. A conference held two blocks away, in our own campus, organized by the department of advanced studies in education and chaired by one of our own faculty. What a logistical nightmare for the three in my class to attend!

Our syllabus is the most hollow effort at a program that I’ve seen in a while. Most teachers themselves comment about how most of the topics covered are repetitive and they simply put their hands up in the air when I question about the purpose of studying some outdated concepts. I’ve come to peace with this, rationalizing it through the fact that the syllabus is just a guiding post, not the journey itself. That is why I look for opportunities to learn, through conferences, seminars and workshops. Remember I wrote about the one on Service Learning here? So it really pushes my buttons when I’ve been forced to sit in class instead of listening to some eminent deans and vice chancellors from across the country about improving the state of higher education through the concept of national universities.

Only last week, this leader of ours canceled my class’ trip to a special school run by the same management as the university. His reasoning? Our class was missing too many sessions and reallocation classes was becoming a pain. He has made it clear more than once that we were spending too much time and effort in visiting Bethany Special School as well.

It worries me when such gentlemen, with regressive ideas, are made in charge of a team. They clearly lack a vision for the department, are comfortable doing the mundane and their biggest effort is spent in maintaining status quo. They are the ones that sit in presentations for the sake of it and question the authenticity of the project purely because they themselves faked their way to their PhD. Honestly, I don’t know if I should be happy that the man is at least honest enough to accept the flaws in his own research, or sad that the state of research in the country has been reduced to just a degree.

They are also the heads that stop others from voicing their ideas and innovations. They fervently oppose any new proposal because they would then be forced to think of ways to match themselves up. They lecture on experiential learning and activity-based curriculum, and restrict learning to the four-walls of the classroom. They let their male ego decide all their official decisions and treat the women in the department as mere door mats. They most often do not realize the effect, in fact the ill-effect, that they have of students and their minds.

The past year has been a huge learning. I’ve been unschooled. I know what kind of a leader to not be.

You’re busy complaining about your HOD when there are bigger things in life? We should be worrying about dad and mum leaving. 

Maybe I could sit on their bag and not give it to them. Then they’d stay back. Right?” Scotch