What’s The Fuss About SIES Graduate School of Technology?

by Tejas Nair

This morning I received a message on a WhatsApp group chat. It was a screenshot of the front page of April 19, 2014 issue of the Mid-Day newspaper. It read Navi Mumbai college fines students Rs 5,000 for using cell phones!” By the time I bought the newspaper to read the whole story, the particular message had probably been forwarded more than a thousand times. Along with a smiley. By the students who are currently studying in the same college.

Later in the evening, another message popped up, which was a link to the Indian Consumer Complaints Forum. The complaint is about the arrogant attitude of the staff and draconian rules that govern the system inside the college. It can be read here! And do not forget to read the comments.

So, I, as myself a student of SIES GST, Nerul grew curious as to what is all the fuss about that everybody seems to be talking these past 24 hours. Actually, there is no fuss at all. But I will break down this story into small parts so that you can at least deduce some meaning out of this brouhaha. You should note that the SIES complex in Nerul harbours many organizations of which the Graduate School of Technology aka GST is the Engineering section.

Story 1:
Some over-smart kid, who has got to definitely be from the final year (graduation in 3 months) and has got some connections with the newspaper and so, spilled the beans about his/her own college focusing on one single attribute: the hefty fine levied by the authorities for mobile phone usage! This can be taken back to January 2014 when the third year students of all branches went for an Industrial Visit to Bangalore. This topic had cropped up when a theatre group called “Yours Truly”set out on a questioning spree to enact their spontaneously impromptu repertoires. So much that even a tiny tiff occurred between the Students’ Council representatives and haughty renegades where the former fought for the college and latter against. So the correspondent guy/gal in the question could be from this group. Phew!

Story 2:
The above complaint, on the other hand, was registered in the ICC forum sometime in October 2013. The rule came out in early 2013. Hundreds of students, including me were furious at first. With the rule actually taken seriously, many kids even got the opportunity to reduce their wallet’s weight. Further, the rule grew into us and mobile phone was looked at as a taboo and whenever a smartphone came into sight, the 4 digits 5-0-0-0 appeared everywhere in the air in bold typeface. Some influential students bothered to complain to the higher authorities but in vain. Now the campus had partially become mobile-phone free but it did more damage than what would have had the phones been not banned. Now here, the comments of this particular complaint comes into picture.

The user has complained about a lot of things, which somehow are related to this rule if we connect the dots.

  • He/She talks about partiality. Please tell me one organization, not necessarily an educational, where partiality (or nepotism) or discrimination doesn’t occur? Yes, tell me? No. So this point is invalid. If you are in the negative side of this partiality, you probably are the guy who comes up with “Teacher ka Pet” category in the farewell awards. For cryin’ out loud, stop!
  • Ragging by the principal. Now come on! A principal has got to be strict but that doesn’t mean you can misuse your vocabulary prowess and tag it ragging. Now can you? This accusation is ludicrous.
  • Faculty. I personally know the Electronics & Telecommunication staff and there’s nothing to complain about. And so much animosity? It is purely unnecessary. Low grades may have something to do with how you behave in the class, but as far as EXTC branch is concerned, all accusations are frail. I can’t comment about other branches’, though. You may want to read my articles on similar topics to get a brief idea: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4, Article 5, Article 6, Article 7, Article 8.
  • Donations. Let us not talk about it as we all know what’s what when it comes to management quota seats.
  • Placements. The college has a wonderful TPO, on whom the actual burden of calling companies for placement falls. I personally don’t know why SIES doesn’t have good companies at its doorstep, but again, should the principal bear the brunt?
  • Attendance. Is 75% attendance asking for more? Think about it! Unless you are a football-pampering, skirt-chasing, careless nomad who’s come into Engineering by mistake.
  • Humiliation to parents. It is the worst-case scenario wherein the student is so mischievous & notorious, the faculty has to take a look at the gene line-up. A bad remark or two of their pupil is no humiliation. Go play Counter Strike & get knifed by that cheat flashbang-fragger: that is humiliation.
  • Lab equipments. I agree. Some of them are outdated and faulty, but when the curriculum is outdated, what more do you expect? I have successfully completed almost all the practicals in my sophomore and third year. And tell me, do you really pay attention in those 2-hour practical sessions? They say the syllabi still teaches us about CRT TV and not LCD/LED/Plasma TV. You nimrod, when you don’t know the basic operation, why do you want to focus on the displays, which is secondary?
  • Assignments & examinations. True. But give me an example of one institute which doesn’t burden its students? You, my friend, are watching too many Hollywood college/teen movies.
  • Grades & Certifications. Let us not talk about it, either.

So, there’s that. The exaggeration quotient of both the complain & the Mid-Day article is astronomical. First, media is not a a plaything where you can fret over small issues. Second, none of the points listed in the complain have credibility enough for an action to be written.

Now, there are some grave stories that have originated from hearsay about the college which aren’t quite believable. Maybe they are true, maybe not. But, I personally know that if a parent of a student comes over to the management of the college to get respite from the fine, it will be allowed. Maybe a warning or two & then the mobile phone is returned. Should we punish if he repeats the mistake?

So, that is what really occurred. But there is a conspiracy theory about all this fuss. That the whole charade is a subterfuge by the college authorities to up the reputation. Parents do want their kids to go to a regulated, restraint-oriented college and what is more disciplined than the one which fines for using silly items like mobile phones. The story gets interesting when you learn that there apparently is a statute passed by the country’s Education authority that mobile phones are, in fact, banned in educational institutions and its premises. Looks like only SIES GST follows it. But, then again, it is a mere canard.

And mind you, if someone comes to me and asks for a good Engineering college for their ward, I wouldn’t think twice before recommending SIES GST. Period.

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