Indian Computer Science (CS) & Information Technology (IT) Academic Reform Activism Consolidated Blog Document

Ethics Policy for Sharing Content of Mail Exchanges on This Blog

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Ethics Policy for Sharing Content of Mail Exchanges on This Blog

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This blog deals with "Peaceful and Amicable Indian Computer Science (CS) & Information Technology (IT) Academic Reform Activism". It is a tightly moderated blog to ensure as high a quality of discussion & debate as I can manage and feel appropriate for this topic. I also try to ensure that the views expressed are peaceful and amicable.

As part of this activity, I have had the privilege of interacting over email, other web contact interfaces (e.g. Indian govt. grievance portal for citizens) and paper mail with some important people in international academia as well as Indian government. I also had the privilege and pleasure of extending my interaction with some friends and colleagues to this particular topic. Initially I was a little casual about sharing views that I received over email with others. Now I have learned that many people, especially, leading lights of the CS & IT fields and government officials, have a genuine concern that their comments may be taken out of context and used for purposes that they do not approve of.

So I felt it is appropriate for me to put out my policy on sharing content of email, other web contact interfaces and paper mail exchanges (referred together as mail below) on this blog.

Firstly, mail exchanges to public offices like government and editorial offices of publications/media are "public" by default unless expressly declared as "private". So I consider it fair and ethical to share such "public" information on this blog if I want to. However, I may choose to not share some or all information about my interaction, say with government and academic regulatory authorities, to ensure that such information does not get "abused" by somebody for purposes that I may not approve of. I would very much like to be a team player working, in some small way, with the government and academic regulatory authorities to help improve Indian CS & IT academics from the viewpoint of students, parents of those students, and employers. I do not have any intention of becoming a "trouble-maker" activist for the hard-pressed government and academic regulatory authorities of India who have the HUGE AND ONEROUS BURDEN of planning and implementing policies for a country of over 1 billion citizens.

I will treat mail exchanges with academics, students, industry colleagues, software users, friends etc. as "private" by default unless expressly declared as "public"/"Open". I will not share any part of the content of such "private" mail from others on this blog without prior permission/approval/OK from them. The content of my "private" mails to them is my intellectual property but, to be on the safe & amicable side, I will typically avoid putting the exact content of my private mails on this blog. Whenever needed, I may suitably edit the "private" mail content that has been composed by me and put it on this blog without having any references to the persons I sent the mail.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Truth Telling - A Tough Job

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Trying to be a truth-teller in today's world is a tough job. It is an unpopular affair.

I recently saw a few videos and read articles about how the great physicist Feynman faced the same challenges when he investigated the Challenger disaster. It was an eye-opener to me that even such a world-famous physicist had to face significant resistance from powerful administrators. If you have not seen it I recommend you see this 4 min 42 sec. video, Richard Feynman - Space Shuttle Challenger Investigation, The official view now seems that Feynman did catch the real problem:

The wiki page above states, 'He concluded that the space shuttle reliability estimate by NASA management was fantastically unrealistic, and he was particularly angered that NASA used these figures to recruit Christa McAuliffe into the Teacher-in-Space program. He warned in his appendix to the commission's report (which was included only after he threatened not to sign the report), "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."'

My respect for the great physicist Richard Feynman went up enormously after I recently came to know of the above human goodness side and the sheer *guts* to speak out the truth in the face of powerful opposition side of him.

So, I guess, it is always a challenge to be a truth-teller - material truth-teller - and far more challenging perhaps to be a spiritual truth-teller (e.g. The saying goes: Sathyam Bhruyath Priyam Bhruyath Na Bhruyath Sathyam Apriyam. [English translation: Speak the truth; speak the pleasant truth; don't speak the unpleasant truth.]

Perhaps the safe path is to just put out one's views on the Internet and provide opinions only if people ask - a low-key activism and not a pushy activism.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Free Coaching for CSIR-UGC-NET Exam in AP University

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I was very heartened to see this news report, "ANU tops in UGC-JRF-NET" in The Hindu a few days ago,

It mentions that Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU) of Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh has topped the UGC-JRF-NET results in the country with 142 applicants clearing the Lecturer-ship level of the exam. It also mentions that 4 applicants cleared the JRF (research fellowship) level. As I understand it, those who cleared JRF level are eligible for Rs. 16,000 p.m. CSIR or UGC research fellowship for 2 years initially followed by a few additional years (max. 3) at Rs. 18,000 subject to some conditions; and are also eligible for Lecturer-ship. JRF is the higher bar; LS (Lecturer-ship) is below it.

"Acharya Nagarjuna University is situated between the cities of Vijayawada and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh on Calcutta and Chennai National Highway (NH-5).", That seems to imply that it is a tier-2 city or semi-urban university. In my humble opinion, that makes the achievement even more laudable.

The interesting point for me is that the article mentions that ANU has, with the assistance of UGC, provided free coaching classes for the NET exam since 2005. That may have been an important contributory factor for the wonderful results. Perhaps other semi-urban/rural universities could emulate ANU in this regard.

It would be interesting to know the break up of NET results streams wise. gives the results but without any break up stream wise  - I mean CS&IT, Physics, Maths, etc. gives general info. about the CSIR-UGC NET exam but I could not find links to streams wise break up. An interesting link is the information bulletin for the coming Dec. 2012 Joint CSIR-UGC NET exam:

I did some quick summing-up of the numbers to get a feel of how many cleared it. To facilitate the summing up I copied the data into an Excel sheet. 

Note: A result row has a maximum 10 pairs of roll no.-rank entries/columns.

Quote from result pdf document "1. Junior Research Fellowship(JRF-NET):The candidates whose roll numbers are listed below have qualified in the test for JRF-NET. These candidates are also eligible for Lectureship-NET subject to eligibility criteria of UGC/Universities/ Institutes."

The number count:
[(37 + 49 + 33)  rows * 10 rank-columns]  + 1 rank-columns  = 1191


[(11 + 49 + 49 + 21)  rows * 10 rank-columns]  + 0 rank-columns = 1300

Quote from result pdf document "2.Lectureship(NET):- The following candidates have qualified the eligibility test for Lectureship-NET. The candidates qualifying for Lectureship-NET will be eligible for recruitment as lecturer as well as for JRF-ship in a Scheme/Project, if otherwise suitable as per the eligibility criteria of that Scheme/Project. However, they will not be eligible for Regular JRF-NET Fellowship. They will be eligible to pursue Ph.D program with or without any fellowship other than JRF-NET."

The number count:

[(21 + 49 + 49 + 49 + 49 + 49 + 49 + 12)  rows * 10 rank-columns]  + 4 rank-columns  = 3274

To summarize: 2491 candidates passed JRF and 3274 candidates passed LS (Lecturer-ship).

So ANU's count of 4 JRF seems to indicate that it is not really in the top bracket. Therefore the article's statement that ANU "topped the country in UGC-JRF-NET" results seems to be quite a stretch :). Nonetheless 142 applicants qualifying for lecturership seems to be quite an achievement and ANU may have topped the results country-wide from this numbers-count point of view.

Another point, important from CS/IT perspective, is that I was told that, at least for CS&IT stream (Computer Science & Information Technology), this NET exam pattern has been changed to more of an objective test type recently (perhaps from last December) and so is somewhat less difficult to clear as compared to previous years.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

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