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November 15, 2006

Al–Jazeera a welcome relief

Finally a non-western perspective on global news has arrived and I hope they will live up to their promise. Having literally grown up on BBC World and CNN, I am extremely excited about Al-Jazeera International. BBC is by far the more balanced perspective on global events, and unlike CNN or FOX does not seem to have a political agenda to fulfill. But Al-Jazeera is just what the world needs. While any military chief can criticize their coverage of the Iraq war, in my view it was journalism at its highest standard. As they claim’war is gruesome’ and I am glad there is a news channel out there willing to show just how gruesome and inhumane it is.
Al-Jazeera’s ultimate aim is to revolutionalize the way global news is reported, by highlighting the perspectives of the less economically developed world. It is a noble aim indeed, and I have full faith they will try their best to achieve it.

June 27, 2006

The World Cup so far

This year's World Cup has been exciting but could have been much much better with some sensible refereeing. As a "neutral" supporter (well I do want England to win) the best matches to me have unquestionably been those where the so called underdogs have given the big guns a lot to think about. Right now I'm watching what has been by far the best game of round two with Brazil playing Ghana and Ghana giving Brazil an excellent game, playing some absolutely brilliant football and giving the spectators something to cheer about.

One of the most disappointing parts of the world cup has been the pathetically dismal refereeing in a lot of games. Yesterday's decision to award Italy the penalty at absolutely the last second was completely unnecessary and a major blow to undoubtedly the most spirited team in the world cup. Australia has played with the passion, skill and technique and once again Guus Hiddik has proved that he is not a one time wonder.
Even in today's match Brazil gets a stupid second goal decision where Adriano is clearly offside. Its hard to iimagine how heartbreaking such stupid refereeing must be to such a skillful and entertaining side. As in 2002, Africa has shown us how crafty and ambitious they are in their game play. Its certainly a hell of a lot more entertaining to watch Ghana or Ivory coast play than it was to watch that long drawn boring football played by Ukraine and Switzerland. Switzerland is officially the most mundane team I have ever seen play football. They should never have gotten through to the world cup finals.
Portugal and Holland a match which would have been undoubtedly spectacular was another decent match fucked up by a pathetic referee. Although I must say the portugese players are really violent in their approach. They do not have the rythm of the south americans or the discipline of the Germans and as a result play okay football, mainly due to a few talented scorers. I really hope England find their form which has been ominously absent throughout the world cup and beat the living daylights out of Portugal.
To me, teams such as Australia Ghana, USA and Ivory Coast should be celebrated for their superb display. I loathe Italy, Switzerland and France for playing defensive and rubbish football in terms of entertainment value anyway. I know its not all about scoring goals but its certainly not all about defense either! One just has to remember the superb football played by USA against Italy where a 9 man USA held Italy to a 1–1 draw, again providing a superb game of football even though it was not high scoring.
Argentina and Germany should provide an excellent quarterfinal match, my money being on Germany who have been superb throughout the tournament. Although as in any world cup game its foolish to rule out Argentina.
For everyone's benefit I hope the remaining games are not decided by referees instead of the players.

May 24, 2006

A disastorous decision – one that will cost India dearly

The Indian Legislative committee has just approved a law that will guarantee seats to 50% of the lower caste communities in India's state funded colleges and universities. A worse decision could not have been made.
The government is approaching the issue in completely the wrong way. Instead of focussing on the key issue of providing more education facilities so that more people can be educated, al it has now done is to appease the poor in India by guaranteeing them seats no matter what their merit. That is absolute rubbish. I can understand that money can help richer students prepare better for universities so up to a 20% reservation of seats for poor people is acceptable, but reserving seats for castes is the worst political decision this government has taken.
Not only does the government now acknowledge that there IS a caste system, but it is also encouraging people to allign themselves to a particular caste so as to benefit from it. Instead of taking the mature route of non discrimination it has taken the immature and insensitive route of discrimination. Why is it not just possible to have a means tested ecucation system? Now the rich will just end up bribing officials in some caste committee to allign themselves to a "Backward caste" so they can get in and in the end the poor will not benefit anyway.
University has to be merit based. By taking in anyone from anywhere it just compromises the quality of the education provided at an institute. It makes people want to allign themselves to a caste for no good reason on top of that it takes away any incentive to study at all! why study if I can get in without doing so? Why should the middle class of any country be punished? My parents worked their butt off to get where they are, and instead of punishing them one should make it easier for poor people to do better at school rather than making it easier to do well in life without working for it at all!
Whats the solution ? Same as in the UK – Privatize education! If the government is going to be authoritarian and stupid when it comes to important decisions then the best decisions should be left to the market. The elite institutions of India are all state run and state funded, once private universities with decent professors and facilities start to spring up, they will definetely attract the brighter students and in doing so will take away value from the brand names of the top institutes. At least the government cannot control private institutes in a democratic country! (Thank god for that)
Yes – I acknowledge that poor people have a lower chance of getting into higher education and so entry should be reserved for them. This should result in means tested entry and NOT entry based on a worthless and vile caste system that does more harm to India than any other major social concern. Instead of just reserving entry how about building more institutes so that demand equals supply? obviously there is a net excess demand in India for higher educaton that is causing a problem. Private institutes will definetely help ease the burden on the government and will also help give employment to the hundreds of millions of Indians.
Nonetheless I have complete faith in the market system and I believe all education should be privatized for the good of society. More money means more scholarships and especially if entry is means tested it results in everyone paying the right price for education. Free education is never fair education because some people will always benefit more than others. Instead if everyone payed fees according to what their family can afford, it does indeed become a lot fairer.

May 21, 2006

Mired in controversy…...should it be???

In the long hours in between the sporadic revision, the BBCnews website has now become my favorite haunt, and their latest discussion topic is the Da Vinci Code! (surprise surprise).
After being delayed and censored in India, and booed in press screenings, the reaction to the film begs two questions…....Is the film really that bad??? Or is it soooo good that the church is now afraid it will create unnecessary doubt?

Personally, I think the church is right to object…and so are Christians in general, afterall one can't just take any old theory (written in what I admit is a good read) and then start questioning the morals of Jesus Christ….. Muslims were angry at the cartoons, and now Christians are angry at Da Vinci ….. it is in my opinion understandable.

On the other hand, it does generate a lot of interest in Christianity from followers and non–followers alike. Anyone reading the discussion on the BBC website will see comments ranging from "The Bible is a work of Fiction" to "The film is blasphemous!" but all would agree that it did generate a lot of interest. But is that a sufficient reason to not protest??? In some respects I say yes it is…..because even if the film has a disclaimer on it bing a work of fiction, it does promote a discussion of the history of christianity. And if someone does take the stance that Jesus married Magdalane, at least she would be accpeting that Jesus did exist. But as I have said before, it creates unnecessary tensions all around, especially when people start abusing each other for their views.
In my opinion what differentiates the Da Vinci Code from the cartoons of Mohammad is that it does not degrade Jesus Christ to being a terrorist, but rather questions the power of the church. Although I admit the focus has been on his relationship with Magdalane, which many people would find degrading.

At then end of the day I believe the film should be viewed as based on a very good work of fiction and should be enjoyed for its intoxicating story line, but I doubt it will be. After all we are all humans….and as is obvious nothing gets us going like religion…

May 13, 2006

Google is right and here's why.

I realize this may be a year too late for the debate, but nonetheless I think that Google was definetely right when it took the decision to censor its search engine in China .
As the world's largest search engine one might argue it has the responsibility to condem any form of censorship on the internet – a world, which although virtual provides unlimited opporunities for freedom of expression and opinion, and in most cases where the laws of the "real" world tend to not apply. However, in China the government has a very strong tendency to not realize this fact. I am sure that no matter how much every government believes in the Lockean ideal of a minimalist government, if it could legally have access to all the information on the web it bloody well would do so.
In China the situation that google is in is very precarious indeed. Whilst in democratic countries people to a large extent have free speech without consequences it is obviously not the case in China. If google allowed everyone to search for democratic ideals someday or the other it would definetely be approcahed by the Chinese government to hand over data of the individuals searching for these words, and sooner or later those individuals would conveniantly "disappear". Any society no matter how impoverished or resource laden needs to have freedom to progress. China has managed to achieve immense growth in economic terms, but it has consequently given rise to a population that has a hunger to progress spiritually and internally and indeed should do so, but the government will obviously lose any power it cdurrently exudes and therefore just cannot do so.
If google denied to hand over the information, they would be banned from China altogether, which makes no entreprenual sense whatsoever. Google realises the situation they are in and hence are not even providing email services to the Chinese people. I know that if I was to choose between saving the lives of revolutionary or simply curious people or condeming them to death or worse still a miserable life, I would choose to save them. More so because if I did not choose to do so the government would ban my organization – in other words Google is in a lose – lose situation with the current Chinese government.

April 22, 2006

Betrayal in the UK? surely not…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4928954.stm

A new ruling by the government now means that a lot of Doctors who came here with the promise of being treated fairly are just being denied any future and all their money is going to waste. What I dont understand i why the doctors currently studying here cannot be allowed to finish their qualification? Surely it is only a matter of ethics and decency to let someone finish what you encouraged them to start.

I have never ever viewed the UK as a discriminatory nation, but it does tend to baffle at times with decisions such as these for which there is no reasonable logic. These poor doctors (literally) now have a huge debt with NO degree…...hopefully someone will fight for their cause, unfortunately they are not of any concern to any of UKs policy makers.

April 18, 2006

"All options including the use of force are open

Bush is scaringly close to declaring war on another nation without properly exhausting all options. I hope he does not attack Iran, its a war this world can do without.

April 16, 2006

Why only one exam?

All that revision has got me angry now – why do we only have one exam every year? Wy can't we have mid-terms, regular test and quizzes which then take away this unusually high stress during the exam period
High-School was sooo much better, we had tests every two weeks, and quizzes every month, a mid-semester and an exam at the end of the semester and finally the final exam which counted for not more than 20%.
It just makes a lot lot more sense to have more regular tests/assignments/essays/work that actually counted, if you think about it. We should be doing most of our work year round anyway, and if all those essays and weekly assignments were made to count towards our grade not only would we put in more effort but actually learn something along the way

I hate this feeling of learning the whole course at the end of the year, this system sucks!

April 13, 2006

They're at it again

Yep its the french again, they've certainly gotten a lot harder to understand over the past few weeks. Anyone remotely interested in the news would have come across the near daily riots by french students over a new law – CPE , which essentially makes it easier to hire and fire workers especially since there is no need to give a reason when firing them.

Now its not so much the rioting thats new, but its the people that are doing so. I agree I am not french neither an expert on their economy, but if 45% of the people aged 18–26 do not have a job, I certainly would not be trying to burn cars if a new law made it easier for me to get a job. Yes I understand that there can be significant stress not knowing when you might be fired, but is that really any worse than being unemployed? The students protesting kept saying that as it is there are no jobs in France for them, neither is the future looking too bright but they dont want this law as it will make it easier for them to be fired. But what about the other side of the equation where it is also easier for them to be hired?

In my opinion france is going down the drain right now, their growth has been spearheaded by the free-market economy, trade liberalization and some good entrepreneurship, but with this continually socialist approach to everything they have forgotten why they are one of the top economies in Europe in the first place. The U.K. has a far stronger economy and is projected to achieve at least 3% growth in 2007, and it has also embraced liberalization much more enthusiastically. The U.K has an unemployment rate of 5.1% whereas France is in double figures…...surely despite their hatred for the British, common sense should prevail when it comes to following the right policy for the future of the country? Instead they have a list of 10 national companies that cannot be privatised and are increasingly wary of any other mergers or take-overs…..even though other countries across the world are quite open to French companies taking over local companies. Some times the right decision requires courage, France has failed yet again and with increasingly socialist attitudes and a desire to isolate themselves from the rest of the world (only 35% of the french believe free trade is good as opposed to 66% of the British), they certainly are not going to fare any better in the foreseeable future.

University students should know a hell of a lot better. Either way why should I be guaranteed a job just because I have a university degree? If I have a degree in a non technical subject why does that entitle me to any job, despite the technical expertise required? The students may have succeeded in blocking the law, but have certainly shown themselves to be disappointing in doing so.

March 04, 2006

I'm starting to like this Bush chap

His trip to India certainly has gotten my attention! A much needed partnership formed between the worlds largest and the worlds richest domocracies. I hope the nuclear deal comes through for the sake of India's energy needs and Global warming. Its a pleasant surprise.
Bush is also now not opposed to the Iran-Pakistan-India Gas pipeline! a $6 bn project which will definetely improve ties between India and Pakistan, something that the two countries desparately need.
This is definetely the recognition India deserves, for being one of the most stable democracies in the world and one of the very very few fast developing countries using democracy as a political model.
I'm happy with Bush, for once he has done more right than wrong…..it certainly is the way forward.

March 03, 2006

Anyone at the union know maths?

Just got an email from Brian saying that we are fully going to support the AUT on the strike action. Personally I completely agree, professors in UK are heavily underpaid for the amount of work they do and they must be recognized. What I dont get is how the union is thinking about this issue.
The problem with all the officers is that they want to be loved by everyone. I can understand that they want university professors to get better pay but then where is the money going to come from? Its certainly not going to fall off trees (although that might help). I realize that the professors were promised an increase in fees, and rightly so. But I don't know how the union is opposed to top-up fees and yet wants professors to get a higher pay at the same time? Obviously someone somewhere making these decisions needs to take a crash course in mathematics.

March 02, 2006

India and the US – Its about bloody time!

India and US have finally signed a highly contreversial yet in my opinion (I know I'm Indian and all that) a deal which is historic. India IS the world's largest democracy and it has always always annoyed me that the US did not consider it important enough in its international agenda. I think this deal highlights the coming of age of India in the global field. One would have thought that the US would want to have great relations with the world's bigest democracy that is quite stable.

The deal itself is contreversial because it gives India complete access to the civilian nuclear technology possessed by US. India like Pakistan and Israel has not yet signed the Non-proliferation treaty and does indeed possess a nuclear arsenal. Now what everyone has a problem with is how can US deny Iran nuclear technology while encouraging research in India? I think the answer is simple – India is much much more responsible with nuclear technology than Iran or Pakistan. In fact Pakistan has actually illegally sold nuclear technology to a lot of countries, but India did actually recognize the sensitivity of the information. I am in no way anti-Pakistani just stating the facts.

I believe the deal must be honored by the US congress as India is a responsible DEMOCRACY with humungous energy needs. If the deal fails, India will have to rely on Coal and with the amount of energy required it will do no good to the environment.

This is the first time I feel positively about Bush…...although its bound not to last long.

February 19, 2006

What's all the fuss about?

I just heard on the Radio that in the Baftas Brokeback Mountain was the film that bagged 4 of the main awards. I have no idea how the judges regard Brokeback mountain as being any better than The Constant Gardener? I have seen both the films, and while Brokeback mountain is a good film with some brilliant acting it is not half as gripping as The Constant Gardener. I also feel the subject matter handled by The Constant Gardener is of great importance. Pharmaceuticals have been known to exploit the poor and vehemently opposed the production of generic drugs until just recently. When a child every ten minutes is dying of Malaria, and drug companies are still a lot more worried about profits than saving the lives of the poorest people who need medicines the most, it becomes a cause for concern

I personally believe The Constant gardener should have one best movie, best director and best acting for being able to portray brilliantly the exploitation of the poor. It has a a far superior script, awesome acting and is a story which makes one more aware of whats goes on in the world, it is sad that it did not win many awards.

February 16, 2006

Guantanamo Bay, the view UN got right.

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4718724.stm

Its interesting to note how America is always on about Human Rights abuse in other countries, happily choosing to ignore similar situations in its own backyard.
Two of the prominent ones I can think of are the nuking of innocent Japanese and locking up prisoners in Guantanamo Bay without trial (let alone a fair one). I bring up the issue of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings to highlight discrepancies in historical records. Where many americans to this day claim that the bombing of Japan was the difinitive end to WWII, BBC has released a documentary in which it has shown how the bombs were completely unnecessary and were only used by the US administration to show the world that they were indeed the superpower everyone made them out to be. In fact it goes on to claim that Japan had indicated many times to surrender, but US chose to ignore those signals completely. Whether the unneccessary loss of 360,000 innocent people was just a ploy to showcase its military strengths or not, in no way can such a huge loss ever be justified and must be condemned forever.

The issue with Guantanamo Bay although not similar, is just another way in which US is unnecessarily exploiting its military prowess for inhumane means. It is a plot of land owned by US (thanks to Castro) in Cuba. The US has been usig it as a place for detaining anyone it sees as a threat. This includes 12 year old Afghani children, I don't know how a 12 year old child sitting in Afghanistan is capable of blowing up America, but apparently he is. Now just as in Abu Ghrain with the British and US troops abusing Iraqi soldiers, there is not less torture in Guantanamo Bay. I quote from the U.N. report "The report expresses concern at the use of excessive force during transportation and force-feeding through nasal tubes during hunger strikes, which it says amounts to torture." These people are not even allowed to die in peace. The US refuses to to investigate any allegations, it refuses to give any prisoner a free trial and it refuses to ovey the Geneva convention. This is a country that lauds itself on its spick and span Human Rights record, it accuses nations such as China of Human Rights abuse regularly and fails to consider its own atrocities. Shame on you America.

February 14, 2006

Smoking to be banned EVERYWHERE

Writing about web page http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2039595,00.html

Yes I know you are all tired of me going on about it, but just to let you all know that smoking is now going to be banned in almost every enclosed public area including pubs that don't sell food! It should be in place by early next year.
Also I quote “Over time we estimate an additional 600,000 people will give up smoking as a result of this law and millions more will be protected from second hand smoke."

At last our union might be completely smoke-free after all! So despite what the stupid executive committee decides there will be no choice!!!! I guess things worked out for the best after all

February 11, 2006

UK Universities must change or face international student decline

As I have argued in my previous article, top-up fees are the best idea for a long time in the UK higher education system. I have stressed that a university education is an investment and that universities must be allowed to charge fees so as to increase their competitiveness.

Now I know most of you do not agree with me, but the truth is that British universities are in desperate need of finances. As of now one of their greatest source of income is the international student (outside of the EU). A nice article on how international students are financially important is the following one

Universities prefer hiring international students because we pay a hell of a lot more, I pay almost 9000 pounds and students in engineering and WBS pay more than 11,000 just for tuition alone. Like it or not, we are one of the best source of income the universities can get because the income gotten from international students is not subject to the restrictions imposed from the money given by the government bodies. Together international students pay 4,000,000,000 pounds in tuition fees in the UK and that is a LOT of money. The sad part of it is that international students are so much in demand that universities are even willing to lower their entry requirements for some of them and there have been many news articles on that alone. Even Oxford had announced that it would recruit considerably more international students at the expense of local ones.

The above is exactly why I would like you to consider the universities as business firms and not only places of learning. I am not saying that it is the right way of looking at it but asking you to accept it as being true. If Warwick university had not spent a considerable amount of money into building its image, into brand building as well as prettying up the campus, it would not be as desirable as other universities. Universities also have to sell themslves to students. What makes you pick Warwick over Sheffield university??? Or pick Oxbridge over Nottingham??? It is the advantages that come with having Warwick university on your Degree, or of having Oxford on your degree. At the end of the day everyone's first impression of you will be positive if you tel them you are an Oxbridge graduate. You might argue that you picked Warwick because of its campus or its repuation of good teachers or of its high ranking. But again it is all a part of brand building that lets other people know of the good proffessors or of the excellent facilities (pah!) on campus. It is true that the RAE (Research Assessment Excercise) and other methods are extremely important for determining the ranking of universities and universities know that. Warwick has a steering committee specifically for that purpose and it invests in proffessors that already have a good reputation in their field, it invests in facilities to develop research(hard to imagine I know) and at the end of the day when it gets the RAE ranking of 5 it makes sure to tell the whole world about it , especially to students like me that pay too much.

Ok – now to move on to the real crisis – decline in application of internatonal students!
Hard as it may be to imagine but international students are now not applying at the same rate as before. As pointed out in the articel this is because of the intense competition int he higher education sector. US Australia and UK have had the stronghold over the past few years but are not immune to foreign competition. The article explains it well

My personal views are –

The US was losing applications after 9/11 due to factors such as increased security to many visa problems etc. But are now back on track. Why??? Because they are simply the best. They have the most resources better universties and the most important factor -they give a hell of a lot of scholarships to intellignet students from abroad. UK apart from the top 10 universities does not have the quality of education that US can provide. It barely offers scholarships as universities can't afford to. The value of a degree from the US remains the highest (only for the top 50 or so universities) in the world. I have ranted about it already in the top up fees article.

Australia is another big player in the higher education sector. It has some superb universities such as University of Melbourne and Australian National University and they don't charge as much as UK universities. Australia is also a lot more agrresive in its marketing espcially in Asia and again it offers more scholarships and grants as well as for some degrees the promise of citizenship afterwards (especially Engineering and Medicine)

Singapore, UAE and Malaysia are emerging markets but especially singapore is a really important one. The National University of Singapore has an amazing exchange program with the top 25 universities in the world, not only amongst students but also proffessors. Singapore also has a tie up with the University of Chicago for some research and teaching.

To sum up my views. The UK is losing out because of competitiveness (or lack thereof) in its higher education sector. If universities were given more finances, more freedom to choose how to spend their money and especially more fees the situation would be a lot different. Price is not the only factor determining where students go. People will buy a BMW even if it increases its prices because of the brand image of BMW, just as people are willing to borrow $100,000 to do an MBA in Wharton or Harvard because at the end of the day the investment will pay off. So Uk needs to do a lot more to build the UK brand in the higher education sector – by hiring Nobel laureates as proffessors or people of similar calibre, by investing in research institutes like the 100,000,000 Math research laboratory being built in Cambridge, by adding value to a degree beyond pure knowledge becaue at the end of the day you may be brilliant but if you do not market yourself well you will not recieve the right pay.

I have come to UK becaue my parents chose it for me and because I prefer the people in UK, I have heard of a lot of negative attitudes towards people of south asian origin in the US and have experienced racism in Australia myself. UK is also a beautiful country and it has the largest Indian population outside of India. But I chose Warwick because of its high ranking in economics, good reputation back home and the fact that representatives of Warwick came to my school to persuade us to come here. The fact is rankings matter, branding matters and how you sell yourself as a university is also extemely important.

February 07, 2006

The Danish PM deserves respect

As blogged by many people, the issue of the newspapers publishing cartoons of Muhammad have seen a storm of protests. I personally believe Ankit's entry link has a good argument on the issues of free speech. Although I believe the newspaper was wrong to publish the cartoons and so were the other newspapers, who then did not apologise in the name of preserving free speech, I believe the anger at the Danish people must stop.

The Nordic countries are peace loving countries and have always helped the poor, unlike the USA or Australia, Denmark gives 1% of its GNP towards international aid, one of the highest percentages amongst the rich nations. Norway is helping out with the peace agreement between SriLankan government and the LTTE. They do not possess nuclear weapons, they have the lowest rates of corruption and are probably the safest and best living conditions. Denmark also has a 200,000 Muslim population, who themselves did not react with such violence.
The prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen rightly says "We need to resolve this issue through dialogue, not violence," apart from pointing out that Danish people are not the enemies of Islam. But what truly caught my attention was his remark

"[This] is a very unpleasant situation for Danes, we're not used to this,
It is true, Danes are peace loving people who live in probably one of the best countries to live in. They do not interfere too much with messy politics and respect the values of democracy. Unfortunately the newspaper that published the articles failed to recognize that free speech does not mean depicting Muhammad as a terrorist, and its failure to apologise has put an entire country of innocent peace loving people in turmoil, as well as giving fundamentalists another reason to take demonstrations to an entire new level.

I fully respect the Danish PMs stance in this issue, and hope that the Danish people aren't misrepresented due to the action of one newspaper being copied by others arounf Europe.

February 05, 2006

Should we follow Oxford?

Oxford recently announced that each student must sign a contract upon being accepted to enter university that would require them to attend lectures and classes.

They have done this to prevent them from being sued if a student does not do well as the student can easily blame the institution for not teaching well….. etc

However, thinking of Warwick uni, I wonder what would the reaction be to such a contract? Many students don't go to all of their lectures, while some don't go to any. I went to do a lecture shout in an engineering lecture in which there were only 20 (out of maybe 250) students present! It makes you wonder what students come to university for?

If lectures were made compulsory then I think the outcome would be more positive, as proffessors that can't teach will be given a lot of negative feedback and hopefully relieved of their duties, as well as in my view it will increase to some extent the grades obtained by students. While many studies show no connection between lectures and grades in introductory modules (e.g. economics 1), however attending lectures positively affects grades in modules which go into deeper understanding of the material.

Most importantly – a lecture has to add value to a text book for students to want to go there. For example I went to all of my Phil lectures in term 1 because the lecturer never just followed the core text, but added immense value to the core readings making attending lectures compulsory by default. Similarly econometrics or mathematical economics lectures I feel add real value to text book knowledge. In the current situation only the most value added lectures and those given by good professors will be attended by most of the students, whereas ones where it is just as easy to read of a text book will (should) not get too many attendeea. So may be if we make it compulsory to attend all lectures, just maybe the lecturers will also feel obliged to do more on their part to make us want to be there out of choice.

So I think it just might be a good idea after all (but not if its a 9 am one!)

February 03, 2006

One World Week and Biasness of the Boar

It seems to me that the Boar (my favorite source of inspiration) has made a complete mess of the idea of one world week. So far in its features or sketches or opinions I have not seen any praises for one world week, instead only criticisms on it being created by the upper middle class for the upper middle class and being a waste of time.

That annoys me because not only does it take away all the credit the organisers deserve but it also destroys the spirit and the intent of the week. In my opinion one world week is an event to make us students much more aware of the problems faced in the world, while at the same time learning about and respecting other peoples' cultures. If anyone attended the talks they would have seen the diverse range of topics, and a lot of them focused on the problems faced by poorer regions, and the efforts or lack thereof to rectify them. Now you may argue that knowing all of this is not sufficient, it does not help change anything, but that is the wrong attitude. It is only when people become aware of human trafficking or of the speed of development of China or the negative side of globalization can they form a knowledgable opinion on the issue as well as take action to rectify the wrongdoings upon graduating. University is a place of learning, one world week is just another way of learning

Apart from talks, the days for the different regions of the world and the themed cinemas were absolutelyt brilliant. I saw Control Room in the arts centre and it is truly a great documentary, and I would not have known of the middle-eastern perspective on the Iraq war had I not seen the movie. I also got to see dances, eat great food and meet amazing people! Is there really anything wrong in that? Should I be feeling ashamed that I interacted with "middle class" students along the way? Have I done a great wrong by enjoying myself?

The Boar, as well as a lot of students talk of integration between British and international students, but this will never happen if there are no opportunities for them to integrate. I saw a lot of British students at One World Week, and as far as i could see they enjoyed themselves as much as i did. All of the events were sold out, most recieved great responses and everyone involved had a nice time.
It is not just to enhance CVs that the event is created, nor is it to satisfy a desire to show that students are capable of it. It is to inform, to make people aware and to influence them to make right decisions or atleast informed ones in the future.

February 02, 2006

Why can't we kick out non –uni students from union events?

The past two issues of Boar have described some serious incidents going on around in the union. Now although the union denies certain aspects of it, the fact is the incidents were quite serious and frankly I dont see many warwick students doing it.

What really really angered me are the local youths of coventry picking a fight with uni students. I have seen them drive past bus stops at night in their cars, honking at girls cursing guys and fucking about basically and I can't stand them! Who the hell do they think they are coming to our uni, messing with our students???? I have no problem with people coming to the union having a nice time and enjoying themselves,. but if they abuse the union and unnecessarily cause havoc should we really allow them here?

Our university does not even have a main gate! Its just open road, anyone can come and go and it is obvious that they will abuse this right to do so. I have been egged while walking three times and funny as it might seem it is annoying and not something any student should go through. Think of the dangers of getting raped if you are a female, think of the possible muggings (has happened) and the increase in thefts ( I worked at the union and know that a lot of stuff gets stolen).