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The interesting story of India’s educational system | Adhitya Iyer

Adhitya Iyer presents an interesting story surrounding more than a million students in India built around a booming IT industry, a machine like education system, a race to a seat amongst the top engineering colleges and student suicides in our system

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Adhitya Iyer presents an interesting story surrounding more than a million students in India built around a booming IT industry, a machine like education system, a race to a seat amongst the top engineering colleges and student suicides in our system. The Indian education system in all its complexity has turned out to be one of the most fascinating educational stories in the world. Watch him in his talk share his travel around the country discovering the truth behind the common engineer in India.

Important Excerpts from the Talk:

Thomas Babington Macaulay: Macaulay was a born genius. He had an estimated IQ of like 180 to 190. He had the tremendous ability to learn any language within a fortnight. OK, so the Brits told him, ‘Dude, like you know India is one of our newer colonies and one of our more important colonies. Why don’t you go there and you know help figure a few things for us. So he said, ‘India, there is no way I’m going to India’. So then the Brits said, ‘Dude, can you please do this for us’.

So Macaulay didn’t have a lot of friends, OK and he was dearly attached to his sisters. So he pleaded with a certain Hannah, saying, ‘Hannah, these guys want me to go to India. Can you please come? I don’t want to go alone. So Hannah said, and I quote, ‘I see India only as a country of filth and disease’. So this is what the Brits did next. They said, ‘OK, fine. We’ll give you 10,000 pounds’ which in today’s time translate to half a million pound. Now, face it, if somebody gave me half a million pound right now, I’d be willing to go to North Korea.

So this guy forcibly got his sister to India and he roughly spent four years in India, did not bother learning a single Indian language, went back to the Britain Parliament, OK. And on February 2, 1835 made a very momentous speech which I’m not going to quote entirely but I’m just going to pick up one line which kind of summarizes the spirit of the entire speech. Macaulay said, and I quote, “We need to teach Indians English. If we do not teach them English they are going to waste their youth touching a cow’s ass”. This is what he said. And that’s how English education came to India.

Adhitya Iyer completed his engineering degree from Mumbai University, where he studied in an institute interestingly named after Sardar Patel and was inaugurated by Nehru. He was listed as one of India's Top 30 student entrepreneurs by the NEN. He later spent 2 years in Bangalore selling chai, before he set out to write a non-fiction on the complex life of India's engineers is Kickstarter funded and is India's highest crowdfunded book. He thinks the society needs to be re-imagined and that humans can't be spending more than half their life doing something they seldom enjoy.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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