Engineering Education

Visit by Prof DK Joshi

Prof DK Joshi retired as the HoD of the Mechanical Engineering department at COEP in 1990. He and his wife visited the school in Sep 2018. We started by discussing the building design theme being good ventilation. I informed him about the sunlight through skylight problem. He felt that we can have two vertical curtains near the skylight, which will narrow down the lighted portion to a smaller area. We then went on to classes. He visited all classes, except the Nursery. Maam was carrying chocolates for the kids. We made a game out of it – giving chocolates only to students who asked questions.

Primary students were put in one class and Sir addressed them. He started by asking some interesting math questions. You go to the market to buy 1 kg of potato @ Rs. 20 per kg and 1/2 kg onion at Rs. 15 per kg. What should you pay the vendor? Interestingly, no one got the answer. I requested him to talk a bit about engineering. He gave an example of the school – and talked about civil engineering.

We ended with a teacher chat. Teachers asked questions.

How to improve interest in writing? His suggestion was to combine writing assignments with drawing – and start with simple words. Another idea was to make them write and draw in the outdoors – say a place like a park.

Sir feels that student initiative is very important. A simple assignment suggested by Sir is to get students to talk about what their parents do.

For improving English, he feels that reading aloud in front of people will help. Or we can have a podcast where lessons are read aloud – and then it is repeated by a teacher.

A question  was raised about Nursery kids not concentrating. We need to make the lesson fun for them. Make them speak more. Montessori system should be followed.

Mobile misuse: Relook the problem as an opportunity. Make them play English and Math games in class.

How to make a good citizen of our students? Ensure that they have good role models – these could even be other students themselves.

How to work on improving concentration?  Find out what the student is interested in, He talked of his own grandson – who spent 2 hours making one tea spoonful of coconut oil from one coconut.

How important is it for kids to do HW? Initiative is important. He recommended the concept of a bagless school.


Visit by Nitin Akhaury

Nitin Akhaury is a metallurgy engineer from IIT Roorkee. He is a classmate of Kislay and Chetan. He started his career with Tisco – worked there for 4 years, before doing his M.Tech. After his PG, he jumped into ERP. Stayed in his second company for more than 17 years. He is now in his third company – Decos – which provides digitization solutions – mostly to the government sector. Most of the clients today are European, but they are also looking at Indian govt as a customer now. Nitin has deep connections with education. His dad worked with NCERT and UNESCO. His wife is a MA and B.Ed. Nitin has two kids – son is in grade 8, and daughter in grade 2.

He has been taking coaching for IIT JEE – he started by working with 12th standard students at DPS – and some of his kids were also from DPS RK Puram – at that time the JEE Mecca of India. He taught Math and Physics over there. He is keen to contribute to the education sector in a small way – hence his visit to PTP. We invited him to take a class for the 1-5th kids. He did a good job by doing some basic addition problems for the 2nd class, some word problems related to addition and division for the higher classes. He got quizzed by the students about his own education and his work.

We then arranged for a teacher interaction. He talked about the basic functioning and use of an ERP system – taking the very interesting example of a client – British Aerospace and the manufacturing of their Jaguar Jet. A typical jet has 70,000 parts that come from 20,000 suppliers. The average build time for a jet was 3.5 years. It came down to 2.5 years after introducing an ERP. Teachers asked him questions thereafter. Here are some of the questions and answers.

Nidhi: Does everybody get a good salary at the IITs? Most people do. It was a little bit of a problem in our time. Nowadays it is not a problem at all.

Nishi: Your son was not doing well till 4th – he was below average till then. After that he started doing well. What happened? We knew he was good in English – from Grade 1. But he struggled with his math. It was then that his mom decided to take things in her hands. Dec is typically vacation time in Malaysia – as it rains cats and dogs. She sat with him through the vacation, working on his math. From then on, he improved. Today he is 3 levels above his class in math. Though he still prefers English over math. Give him any book – he will gobble it up.

Anjali: If we end up doing too many games in class, will student concentration not suffer? In fact it will improve.

Rohini T: My son is not ready to do HW, What can I do? One of the stories that I did not tell you about my son, is that sometimes the mom has to sit one on one and chat about life in general with the son. It could be for hours together – only once the rapport is built, does the learning happen.

Swati: It is difficult to get parents to agree to our methods. What should we do? Getting parents to agree to a different method will take time. You have to communicate very often with them. Also make them realise their own role in this method.

Nilam: How did you find school education different in Malaysia? (Nitin stayed in KL for a few years) They do not believe in rote – but application. They also make children more creative.