Yesterday, Zoli Erdos asked me why Yuvi Panda, the blogger from Chennai, isn't too excited about the prospect of college in Chennai - "What's wrong with college? Is the education too theoretical?" Trying to answer that question in a sensible way would elevate the discussion to a higher plane than it deserves, so simply on a lark, I decided to search for the term "jail college" hoping Google would come to my rescue. You can see the search results yourself: http://www.google.com/search?q=jail+college
That YouTube link is a direct hit (Google, I am really impressed on this one - it is the perfect answer to my search!) I have embedded the video below for your "enjoyment" - if that is the right word here:
The video is from a news channel in India, on the relatively recent phenomenon of the "jail college" in Chennai and surroundings. They follow the time-honored management principle: if you can't gain respect, try fear. Since the colleges don't offer much of an education that gains the students' respect, they tie them down with with arbitrary rules and procedures, the breaking of which attracts stringent punishment. The video mentions only one kind of rule - on avoiding all communication with the opposite sex, but there are many other such rules. They target the primal fear of parents of teenagers world-wide: their boy or girl may do what boys and girls naturally do.
That is what passes for education for a good percentage of college students in Chennai, which explains why we refuse to place any value on it. The best thing we can say is that we don't discriminate against the victims - we would prefer, of course, that they don't become victims in the first place.
Seriously, why are such colleges doing good business? Mainly because employers place value on the certifications they award. It is not like the employers don't know the colleges don't add much value, but it has become a kind of corporate superstition ("everybody does it") to still require a degree. Breaking that superstition is one of the main goals of our AdventNet University.