It’s semester end again at college and we’ve got hell lots of journal-writing work. The journal-writing work is a indespsible part of every semester in Engineering, at least in my University and possibly every other University out there.
The general trend in my college, a lot different from others is – A student (usually the topper) is given the format and sample by the professors. They are then instructed to write it (we do it by hand, unfortunately), distribute their copies to friends, and the chain goes on. So basically, every student has the same journal, differing by some extent due to unavoidable errors that creep in the copy-chain and laziness.
The job of writing journals isn’t very hard that one cannot write it by using their brain, but it is a very boring task to do. Hence everyone (that includes me) refers to be somewhere in the middle of the copy chain, and never in the front. Everyone mindlessly copies the things without even thinking what they are writing in their journals – this means they even copy nonsense. But there’s one thing for sure – nobody would try (exceptions do exist, and they are of the order of 0.01%) to even understand or alter the code which was originally written.
I call this makkhi-copy (housefly copy). The name comes from the photocopying process that was followed in old days when there were no photocopier machines. There were people who used to manually copy out the documents. So, there was a copier who was copying a document, when he encountered a character which looked like a housefly (makkhi). He then caught a housefly, dipped it in ink and used that to create the same character in the copy.
Though I am always somewhere in the middle or end of the copy chain, but I never makkhi-copy (unless I’m short of time). I read the thing, check with my senses if it’s correct and then write it, if it’s wrong, I correct it in my copy. The reason is – I hate writing by hand – sensible when a person’s typing speed ranges from 80-90 WPM. If the error is caught, then I would have to write the thing again.
So the actual thing is, I was copying the journal of my PL/SQL practicals when I encountered a hell lot of mistakes in the journal. The topper, as I said above, had written the code in C instead of PL/SQL. WTF? The even more funnier part is, the journal will get checked successfully without any mistakes being caught; after all, it’s the topper! The mistakes might get caught when a non-topper student gets it checked, and the non-topper is made to write it again. The original (topper’s copy) doesn’t get any changes.
The person might be a topper in theory – mug up stuff and vomit it in the exam – score marks/grades. The world sees this, but what about practical knowledge?! Practical knowledge is most important when it comes to working in firm in real life.
Consider the typical case of placements – only students who score above 60% are eligible for appearing interviews. OK. Consider that this person, who has written pathetic C code (Turbo C standard) in place of PL/SQL code in the journal gets selected for the job of an Oracle Database Administrator.
What happens? DISASTER!
The point here is that, the evaluation system needs a change, albeit a big one. The criteria should not be based on a person’s ability to mug up and emit it into the examination answer sheet. It should be based on what a person understands, it should be about how well the person is able to apply the concepts learned.
I’m no one to suggest an improvement in the evaluation system for interviews, and I might be writing this post just because I suck in the mug up-and-emit thing, but I’ve written it. Just give a thought over what would happen if the person who writes C code in place of PL/SQL code gets hired on purely theoretical basis for the role of a DBA.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Do share your views.