HYDERABAD: Never has there been a subject in such great demand because of the faculty teaching it, rather than the syllabus itself! Over 700 students at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, had applied for what is called the fractional credit course.
The reason: It will be taught by none other than former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. In the end, only 124 were lucky enough to have been ‘taught’ by the missile man. Titled ‘empowering 3 billion’, the fractional credit course at the institute has been a big draw this semester.
The illustrious teacher took the first class on Tuesday. “It is the first batch of students who were introduced to this fractional credit course. The scientist sent across a message to students ‘to be a unique you’,” said Dr Faiz Ahmed Khan, Dean (academics).
The Vision 2020 proposed by Dr Kalam as his dream for a better country was the chief topic of discussion with the ex-president encouraging youngsters to dream and to work towards realizing their dreams. The students were divided into 10 teams of 12 members each which proposed innovative methods for Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) - a strategy envisioned by Kalam for rural development.
Some of the interesting ideas proposed during the presentations by each team which focused on a single pillar of Vision 2020 include an online voting system which would allow people to cast their polls using their Unique Identification Numbers. “Since most of the people who do not cast their votes are educated and have ready access to internet, a parallel system of online voting will allow everybody to exercise their franchise without excuses,” says Gopinath Raja, a student of the team which proposed the idea.
Also, a system for inter-linking villages for local energy generation and self-sufficiency introduced novel development models. Though no one knows the method of evaluation which will be used to grade the course, for once the students seem to be enjoying the process of learning. “The class felt more like an interactive session and most of us were awed by Dr. Kalam’s humility.
He spent a good day and a half with us and sat through our presentations for 10 hours straight,” says Gopinath. A Facebook favorite in IIT Hyderabad, the students are looking forward to three more sessions with the scientist and statesman