What does it mean to be educated?

Around June this year, a couple of weeks before my 23rd birthday, I expect to be handed my master’s degree in physics. Besides extensive specialisation and research for a doctoral degree, this is the highest honour a person can obtain to signify his mastery in a particular field. In essence, there is no doubt that I, and the many others in my graduating class, would be looked at as “educated”. Things and behaviours will be expected of us now that a formal closure has been made to a two-decade-long journey of learning. But, two decades later, what does it all mean? Continue reading

iPad in the classroom: aid, distraction or disaster?

As somebody who is fairly tech-savvy, I am surrounded by people who will take a stand against technology at a moment’s notice. This is especially true when technology seems to be successfully replacing more conventional methods — some even environmentally harmful, such as paper.

When the issue of using technology comes up, though, I would myself strongly back a minimum age requirement. I never had my phone until I was 17 or so. I think that 15-16 years is a good limit, not because of elitist adult thinking, but mostly because the Internet, to the unaware, can quickly become one of those forbidden dark alleys no ten-year-old is sent into at night. Continue reading

My stance: why I am against the ‘Anna Hazare Movement’

A few hours ago I received a couple of invitations on Facebook (apparently that is how society invites you nowadays) to take part in what they termed a ‘bike rally’ to support Anna Hazare in his melodramatic agitation against corruption in India. This has been dubbed, now and then, as the Anna Hazare Movement. And I am not taking part in the rally.

I am not to be misunderstood, I do not advocate corruption; far from it. But I definitely am against the approach Anna Hazare is taking. And I do not entirely believe in the apparent promises that the Jan Lokpal Bill claims to hold. Continue reading

On why 2011 is a year to take heed of the climate

Perhaps Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, belongs more to the present times than a few years back when it was released. I remember having watched it in school, and there was hardly anyone in the class who was not mesmerised by it. And we were young then. It is quite surprising, therefore, to see much older men, leaders of nations not being awakened by its call.

This year, we saw them alarmed. And they had a good reason for it: this year, 2011, is coming as close to a terrifyingly erratic and human-unfriendly climate as we have ever seen before. Continue reading