AlaaShaker's Weblog

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The Education System Conversation

with 8 comments

A few days ago, I had this short conversation with a new friend, a colleague of mine ..

Him: Enta eih ya 3am Alaa, enta malaksh ta3yeen wala eih?
  Me: La mazonesh .. momken atla3 be ta2deer 7elw isA bas Me:sh Me:l awa2el ya3ny..
Him: Tab tesada2 7aram 3aleik!!!
  Me: Leih bas ya 3am keda .. πŸ˜€
Him: Leih tayeb? Me:sh tezaker keda w ta5od balak Me:l daragat 3ashan tet3ayyen?
  Me: Manta 3arefny ba2a, ana masharee3 bas w 3’er keda ba7dar arakez w shokran.. laken a3od 3al mozakra 3ashan 2a2afel el emte7an, la222 πŸ˜€
Him: … ah mana 3arfak 😦
  Me: Fe eih bas??? :!
Him: Maho besara7a ya3ny .. sabab fashal el ta3leem fe masr asmalak!!!!!
  Me: …. 😐
Him: Maho lama yeb2a wa7ed zayak, Me:sh ader yo3od sa3tein 3al maktab zeyada yezaker .. weyseeb el forsa lel nas elly fel a5er ba2o el dakatra wel mo3ideen elly Me:daya3enna .. yeb2a ahh, amsalak el sabab!!!!!
  Me: …. 😐

I was speechless! There was nothing I could say  ..
Honestly, I’ve never thought about it this way .. And I never felt that sorry or responsible!!!!!

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Written by AlaaShaker

May 14, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Posted in Personal

Tagged with

8 Responses

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  1. a colleague.. was that me ? πŸ˜€
    no.. doesn’t sound like me

    well i think i thought alot about it, especially in SC, and u know why, but still in the end i didnt think it will be a good idea (for me).
    1- i wont enjoy it, so i dont think the experience will differ with whom i teach to.
    2-i think in our field, you learned much more as an intern than you did in 70% of the courses we had.
    especially if you got to intern twice or more.
    some companies- you know who- put lottts of effort just to provide internship to 10 or 20, 2 interviews,lots of mail ,phone calls, but i think those learn sth at the end , even if it was Java πŸ˜€ .
    3-we have seen a case where a non-staff person taught us.. if u still remember koshary el ta7reer ..
    ——
    i think these 3 points can be so effective, and you wont be able to achieve them being a staff member buried under sooo much paper work
    ——
    but only if “amsalak” would do them πŸ˜›

    fouad

    May 24, 2008 at 7:33 pm

  2. oh .. and congratulations on the new blog πŸ˜€ ..
    looks greaaat ,, update often ba2a ..

    fouad

    May 24, 2008 at 7:37 pm

  3. Well, you do have a lot of points honestly .. I agree to all what you said, esp. I can add to koshary el ta7reer, Mohamed Fawzy, who actually contributes to many courses (esp. like 90% of the OS Course – one of the best) ..
    People like Fawzy always made me believe that if I learned something, I could still pass it over to the rest of the people. That is obvious in all sessions and courses I gave.

    So, I agree to every word you said, and I lived with that belief of mine – he just made me feel “contributing” to the problem of increasing the number of TAs from el type 2eyyahhhh πŸ˜‰ who will eventually become Professors .. coz neither Fawzy or AI will give us the OS or CG courses πŸ˜€

    And thanks, man .. will do my best to keep-up with your expectations πŸ˜€

    alaashaker

    May 24, 2008 at 9:16 pm

  4. You know what, at my first days at university I was looking forward to being a teacher assistant. Why? I have no idea, not a certain goal, It was just because people around me were encouraging me to be like that and it was kinda normal if you were considered to be successful along your school years as well. But a clear goal, that was not there.

    Later during the first year and coming to meet graduated students, I guess you know what you used to hear. “Your grade is not important, being a teacher assistant sucks, you have to learn by yourself and it is experience that counts” That made me feel like it is a shame to be a TA so I unfortunately took the other path which I didn’t take it even pretty well. However if I had thought well I could have done both.

    Anyway time passed and later in second year when coming to see great TAs and elder students -like you ;)- who were always trying to help the young in addition to seeing some of the not very well professors and teachers that changed some of my thoughts. I felt like I have to do something towards that. I had some different dreams by then. I wished I could be a TA in order to be able to help protect the new students from negative destructive thoughts they got their brains stuffed with. I don’t know if I was late by then or not but after that I had some bad circumstances which destroyed that dream completely so now I have to look for something else to be useful and helpful with.

    Ahmad Farid

    May 27, 2008 at 1:59 pm

  5. How are you Alaa? I hope you did well in the exams, you and your colleagues.

    I have some points to say to you and your colleagues about this topic as it seems that some of you such as Ahmed Farid are feeling sorry for not being TAs.

    Firstly, aside from “saving the students” .. do you have any kind of personal interest in academia?

    I am not sure what you feel about it but if you are not interested in research and teaching I don’t think you will enjoy being a TA.

    If you are interested in research only you can have your Master’s and Ph.D. independently and then try to join a research center either inside or preferably outside Egypt. The status of research inside Egypt is very abysmal. Your only chance to do real graduate studies is to travel abroad.

    If you are just interested in teaching you can give seminars every now and then, or you can even think of being an instructor besides your job as a software engineer.

    Some TAs are not interested neither in research nor in teaching; they just feel self-satisfied of being TAs as it seems a higher-level job compared to working in the industry. Those who joined the academia just for self-satisfaction and for showing-up are not expected to succeed in it. Besides, one can still achieve self-satisfaction by working in a great company like MS or by founding a successful company oneself!! It is not easy but not impossible too.

    You should be also aware that many TAs have resigned from the college recently for a variety of reasons. It is not the paradise if you are thinking of it this way.

    Secondly, regarding the “saving our students” issue. I think that solving the problems of our educational system is something far more complicated than the simplistic view of just having good TAs and professors. The environment in Egypt (specially anything related to the public sector) is capable of destroying any efforts of improvement, even in case there are excellent human resources. It is something very profound in our system and in our way of life that it needs much time, effort and most-importantly democracy to change!!

    Hatem Abdelghani

    May 30, 2008 at 11:32 am

  6. Hatem, well, let me first thank you for you comment …
    I will agree to every word you said, literally every word, except for the “paradise” part you thought I imagined. I do know what TAs go though in our college, and it would be useless explaining my point of view which will be nothing but a duplicate of your post ..

    But, answering your question: I do have a passion for research – but not the way I see in our college! Man, this is sick! Where’s the “research” part? It’s just a bunch of professors (except a few) who are full of fear of people like urself being equal professors or even replace them someday. They know they are no good, and people like yourself will be like 100 times better – and you sure know the horrible TAs were’s discussing, we don’t mean you πŸ˜› There are plenty LOL

    So, passion for research? Yes! Here? No! So? We’ll see. But as u said it’s better abroad and most probably I won’t. A research center is a good idea though. And, yes, I will be giving seminars every now and then isA, coz I feel that’s my duty towards the ppl – I learned smthing, I’m good at it, I should pay that back, for social, psychological and most of all, religious, reasons …

    The point u missed from the main post was, ppl like this friend of mine, aren’t even discussing what we’re talking about. I’m not sad I won’t be a TA – on the contrary! This guy just hopes that those whom-he-calls the “good” ppl, become TAs and later on, professors .. rather than others, whom we see and suffer from daily πŸ˜€
    I used to and still do see it your way, Hatem .. I just wanted to bring in a different point of view ..

    AlaaShaker

    May 30, 2008 at 12:59 pm

  7. Oh! Thanks God! I am not in the black list πŸ™‚ That’s good news πŸ™‚

    I guess from your words that you are thinking of CMIC. That’s a good choice. Taking the advantages of a research career while avoiding the disadvantages of working in a governmental institution. But I am not sure why you are not considering the option of traveling abroad, at least as a temporary stage in your life for acquiring experience and knowledge.

    Anyway, I wish you the best for your future career however you decided to pursue it. And work hard for the project πŸ™‚

    Hatem Abdelghani

    May 30, 2008 at 2:18 pm

  8. I thought about CMIC, but I don’t know yet .. I’m not that excited about what they do here in Egypt ..

    Traveling abroad is a good idea, I would go for it if there was a plan (I’m not intending to travel and “see how it goes” if u know what I mean) .. Currently, there’s no plan, so till I fix one isA, I’m here πŸ˜€

    Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll have my own Research Center πŸ˜€
    Thanks, you too ..

    AlaaShaker

    May 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm


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