A friend recently told me that she has taught her kid to say thank you each time something is handed over to him. The kid was quick to learn it but each time now he hands something to her, she too is forced to say thank you. The kid in fact find silly excuses to hand stuff to her and forces her to say thank you each time. She too complies because she knows that if she fails to say thank you even once the kid is going to give up a good habit he has earned.
So when we preach things to others, we should ensure that we are able to maintain even higher standards.
In last few months I managed to visit several engineering colleges in and across mumbai. These colleges were supposed to be reputed once. And each time I was deeply disappointed. Several jerks manage to get the job of lectures and professors in these colleges and then preach students about engineering, something that they haven’t themselves practiced in their own lives. You listen to them for 5 minutes and you will hear 10 sentences like “I did this..” , “I did that…” where as college campus would simply say otherwise.
Every now and then I meet a junior lecturer who is eager to do something good for his/her college but the higher ups would not miss an opportunity to pour water on their enthusiasm.
With the general experience I visited College of Engineering Pune yesterday and I was very impressed. We met the Director of the institution and a professor from mechanical department who were not only very humble but no where did we hear them bragging about their achievement. In fact most of the time I heard them saying how they are not able to do enough.
Their labs were fabulous. Even our IIT does not have the facilities that they had. Most importantly, I really liked the cross disciplinary approach they had taken towards engineering education. They robotics lab was accessed by students across all the streams. Thus they were also able to deliver some real good projects. A robotic fish was something that really caught my eye.
I dont know other things about the college but whatever I saw impressed me. I think the real reason is their director.
When we visited various labs, the director knew the lab staff by face and name. He knew how various projects worked and also knew some students by face. When we go to other colleges the scene is generally like Munnabhai pretending to his parents that he is a doctor.
Another lady visitor with us said that her sister is studying in this college to which director immediately remembered that she has won some prize in a recent competition.
More-ever in the end when we were passing through a subway inside the college we were crossed by some girls who ate a chocolate and threw the wrapper on the floor. The director saw that promptly picked it up and dumped it in the near by dustbin . Yeah many times you see that people do such things to impress the visitors but not in this case. I am sure those girls must have learned a lesson which 10 minutes of sermon on how they should keep their campus clean would not have achieved.
We need to have more colleges like this across the country. The college after all is not about the buildings but about people in it. The only matrices that is used these days is of marks. I feel we need to go beyond that.
We should focus more on investing in people.