From my post-Covid lecture series in Kerala at the undergraduate and graduate (postgraduate) levels, I realized a few things. In Kerala the students have really lost two years of their academic life and lost two years of their best part of youth. As a consequence or as side-effects, they have developed random sleeping habits, random eating habits and have become fully disoriented. It will take a long time to come back to the normal mode.
If the faculty members in the colleges and universities in Kerala do not carryout a concentrated effort, our youngsters will be set back at least ten years compared to youngsters in the rest of the country. Try to instil self-discipline in the students by yourselves becoming role models. Try to give regular assignments and then try to correct them by yourselves and return to student after pointing out the deficiencies in each answer. Try to spend extra time in giving them special training to make up the lost time.
When CMS (Centre for Mathematical Sciences) was active, I have tried to give some fundamentals of mathematics and statistics to motivated undergraduate students in batches of 30 each. Each residential training camp was for 10 consecutive days with concentrated training of theory and problem sessions. After I started these training camps, our students started getting admission at the national institutions and some have become good researchers also.
From my recent lecture series to undergraduates, I realized that the fundamentals are missing in their regular training. You can tell your students that two books: (1) Probability and Statistics, (2) Linear Algebra, published in 2017 by De Gruyter, Germany are made free download. These books are developed from CMS Modules 1,2,3,6,7,9. They can go to the website of De Gruyter in Germany and download chapter by chapter. These books give foundations of basic Statistics and basic Linear Algebra, the material that every Statistics student must know. The faculty will also obtain some subtle points from these books.
Another shocking phenomenon that I have seen during the current lecture series is that in a large number of colleges in Kerala, mathematics and statistics are taught in Malayalam. The main reason may be that the teachers are not capable of writing or speaking in English. But you do not realize that you are destroying our younger generations. What are they going to do by studying statistics and mathematics in Malayalam? Science education must be done in the international language of science. During the 19th century, language of science was French. In early 20th century the language of science was German. By mid 20th century the language of science is English. Only having a good command of English, our students will be able to succeed in life and become somebody worth noticing. Even Japanese and Chinese scientists publish their significant research papers in English.
Kerala Statistical Association members must take an oath that they will teach Statistics in English in the colleges and universities in Kerala so that our students can compete with others at the national and international levels. After a few lectures in English, the students will pick up and understand the precise meanings of definitions and concepts. I had written about it in CMS Newsletter in the 1980’s under the column “Food for thought”. In one of the articles, I had created a story of creation of mankind and called Kerala God’s own land. It seems that people had picked upon it and called Kerala God’s own land. I had also advocated for open-question examinations in universities in Kerala. Syllabus in any topic can be described through around one thousand questions. These questions can be published in the beginning of the year and can be made available to the students. Examination questions will come only from this set of questions. Question papers for any test or examination will be made instantly by selecting questions from each sector at random. Once a question is selected all the link questions will be avoided by the program. There will be questions of easy types, normal difficulties and challenging ones to distinguish various categories of students. I am happy to note that Kannur University has put this scheme in practice. With open questions, universities can save crores of rupees in the name of examinations, all types of malpractices will disappear also. The answer booklets must be evaluated by the teachers who taught the subject matter as part of their duties, then double checked by people from outside the Department. Hundred percent double-checking can be done for small classes and random sample checking for large classes.


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