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Bamboozled in Bapatla (standard:non fiction, 647 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Nov 04 2010Views/Reads: 1690/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A biographical skectch on frustating experience of student.

Bamboozled in Bapatla 

Subba Rao 

“Gentlemen, take your seats,” this was the first sentence he would say
in every class before he starts the lecture. The students gave him a 
nick name “Gentleman.” 

Professor Gentleman taught in an agricultural college in a rural area.
He spoke in a foreign accent, sounds more American. The professor spent 
some time at an American University in Midwestern United States to 
obtain a masters degree. 

This was in mid 60's, most agricultural teaching colleges in India
implemented internal assessment system (trimester or semester system), 
an import from United States education system. Teaching staff from 
Indian universities were sent to American universities to learn 
American system of grading students (GPA system) and some received 
American degrees in their respective fields to come back to implement 
GPA system. Rather than one annual test in traditional system, in the 
trimester system, students were given several tests, as many as 10 in a 
quarter, and a grade were awarded by the professor that taught the 
class (internal assessment). 

Professor Gentleman wore American clothes, mostly plaid trousers and
either a white oxford shirt or a blue oxford. Only Anglo-Indian women 
or actresses in Hindi movies wore plaid trousers or skirts in those 
days. Students found hard to understand him in the class since it was 
neither Indian nor American accent, it was more of his own making. The 
Professor appeared to pay more attention to his accent; in the process 
the subject matter became secondary to the frustration of the students. 
On top of this, he subjected the students to an array of unannounced 
tests, so many, all in the name of American system. 

The professor gentleman was a married man and yet he hung out with a
single woman working on the campus, love American style. The students 
took everything in stride in the name of American system. It was not 
clear whether he victimized the students in the name of American system 
or himself a victim of American system he acquired during his stay in 
America. The students took a deep breath when they were done with his 
course mostly with C's. 

Among other teaching staff that returned from the United States, for
some reason, the students gave a nickname “Bull” to a thin, tall, a 
very fair skin professor. Professor Bull, also spoke with accent. 
Again, it was more like a personal creation. The accent became person 
specific with their own idiosyncrasies. All the students got from his 
course was bull, but that's not what he was named after. 

The Principal of the college, a specialist in plant diseases, returned
from USA with a concept that student union elections were waste of time 
and the student with highest GPA should be nominated as the president 
of the student's union. In this rural town where election of any kind 
was a contact sport, when the students protested, the Principal instead 
proposed that a student from lower socio-economic class should be 
nominated as the president of the students union citing equal 
opportunity motto in the United States. 

Some staff members misused the internal assessment system by favoring
few students in awarding grades. Few chosen students consistently 
scored straight A's by obtaining test papers in advance. Rumor was that 
these students were mascots for certain groups within the teaching 
staff, and each group was trying to prop uptheir candidate to maintain 
straight A status throughout the four-year course. 

Those staff members that spent some time abroad want to prove that they
were changed, change seems to be the keyword here whether it was their 
accent, dress code or mannerisms. People may change with time and 
livingto some extent. But if these changes were to impact adversely 
others, the supervisory staff should have been intervened to prevent 
students being bamboozled.These members of staff should be re-assigned 
to work with crops and dairy cattle not with the students 


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