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"I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. You must climb towards the Truth. It cannot be 'stepped down' or organized for you." - author: Jiddu Krishnamurthi

Monday, September 25, 2006

Being lucky...

Saturday evening, I parked my car on the side of the road to buy a few things from the mini supermarket across the street. As I popped out of the shop a few minutes later I saw a police constable taking me a contravention. It’s only then that I noticed that I was parked on a single yellow line. The law says you can upload and unload goods on a single yellow line. As I approached the car he asked if it as mine and then for my permit. I kindly asked him to wait and got someone at the shop help me to put the goods I bought into the trunk. The PC waited and after I handed him my permit he asked if I have family in the police. As far as I remember I don’t but still told him I knew the ACP though, which is true :). The guy seems not to know who his ACP is, fair enough I though and asked him who is responsible or anyone I can contact for this contravention to be removed. He then gave me a number and claimed it was that of their office, while in fact it was a cell phone number. Hmm something fishy going on me thought. I noted that down together with the PC’s name and drove off. Later that evening I called the number the he gave me and a Corporal took the phone. I planned to record the conversation on my mobile and if ever anything is mentioned about bribe I would have filed a case against them. As he answered and introduced himself, I asked him about the contravention that the other guy took me and he said he does not know a thing about it and could not do anything. I asked him who I was speaking to several times to make sure I knew his name. When the called ended though I notice that the conversation was not recorded, grrrr… Any case I think that the guy at the other end suspected that as at the end of the call he seemed angry and was getting nervous. I let it go thinking that I would plead non guilty for this since I could argue over that contravention. Later that night I got several missed calls on my mobile, I did not take the calls as I did not want to get bothered by students again at that time.

This morning again I got several missed calls from the same number and this time I did not notice them as I was busy getting ready for office. When I finally took the call later in the morning, a guy confirmed my name and introduced himself; it was the same PC who took me a contravention that Saturday and he was calling from the police station. He kindly told that I need not worry about the contravention and that he will not file it as he is giving me a chance. I was surprised and puzzled, so much that I did not know what to say. I said ok and he said no worries he’s giving me a chance this time but it’s a penalty to park on where I was. Hmmm that’s kind of fishy again. In anyway I guess he came over his decision when he realised something, but what? He could have finally remembered who his ACP was, his friend the Corporal could have told him he suspects I tried to trap them, he could know someone who is related to me or he may simply be a good person… I would probably never know but I won’t complain over that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

IT Professionals in MRU

Following a recent article that was published on the fact that Mauritius lacks qualified IT professionals; I wish to bring forward a few suggestions that could maybe help solving this issue.

The Minister of Information Technology correctly points out that there is a lack in terms of the quality of graduates that the universities in Mauritius produces and what the market demands. It is good to know where a problem lies but nothing would change if no action is envisaged to solve this problem. Also it should be noted that the 2 main tertiary institutions in Mauritius are owned by the government itself. So instead of doing a “constat des choses” it would have been better to take actions.

It is recommended that students at university level should have a one year industrial attachment. The problem is that we don’t currently have enough companies that can afford to provide industrial attachment. The main reason for their reluctance being that inexperienced people tend to slow down the already running processes in a company. Having a trainee is a win-win situation; the company needs to benefit from the trainee as well as the trainee acquiring hands on practical experience. But if the trainee is not at the required level then there is no point in doing this. This is the case for most of the IT companies in Mauritius.

So going back to the root of the problem again, universities should be the ones that initiate changes and to do this they should focus more on the quality of the graduates that they deliver to the working force rather that focussing on how to be more profitable or how to acquire more students. The universities being a supplier and the working job market being the consumer, they should talk to potential employers to know what is lacking and produce what is really required. Holding working sessions between students and employers does not really change anything.

Identifying who has the skills required to be a good IT professional and coaching those that can develop these skills is an essential step in producing high quality graduates. One may not have the entry requirements for a computer science course at a university or even good results when graduating but still could have a good problem solving attitude. Those who are academically good do not necessarily become good IT professionals. Universities should aim to reconsider how they select candidates for their IT courses. A logical entry exam would be the best way at identifying candidates for such courses. If industries are doing such tests before recruitment why not identifying brilliant people at a lower level, before they even enter a course? Courses could also be more technical than academic, technical institutions have been successfully training people that can be injected directly into the job market. Is this not where the solution is for such a technical job as IT? Seeing the IT field as a technical sector could maybe help universities achieve a higher quality.

Promoting call centres in Mauritius can be a good thing for employment but it should be pointed out that this is only an alternative to those who are not qualified enough to join the IT sector directly. At no point in time should HSC holders be encouraged to work in call centres to the detriment of pursuing their studies at tertiary level. Producing a large pool of IT professionals does not mean that we should employ 15000 people in call centres. Maybe we should note the fact that IT professionals do not include call centre staffs. We incorrectly tend to associate people working in call centres and telemarketing as being IT professionals. Maybe in terms of the Mauritian legislation we all fall under the ICT act, but correction should be made where appropriate. IT literate does not mean IT professional. For the sake of clarity, the definition of an IT professional at the lowest level is:

A person who can undertake programming under general direction and a variety of information technology work under routine direction. The work involves the application of knowledge of information technology and information technology techniques and principles and requires initiative and judgement. Where programming is the process of writing a program using a programming language.

As the level vary, some may specialise in areas such as networking, business processes and telecommunication services among others.

Monday, September 11, 2006

We are god

God, a simple word with so many translations. A meaning that is present in all languages, cultures, religions, beliefs, whatever you call it. Yet people use it to to gain power and take control of the mass. What is it about exactly, in its deepest form.

"We have invented GOD. The thinking created god for itself. That means due to unhappiness, fear and depression we created something called god. God did not create us after his imagination, I wish He had" - Jiddu Krishnamurthi

We tend give the attributes to God being a supreme being, something that goes beyond words and yet invisible to human. We say God is the greatest entity of our existence and is the root of us being here. In an attempt to explain the unexplainable, all we coudl do is to give another name to Nature.

Nature being omnipresent, omniscient and being the environment in which we have built so many artificial structures and in which we are living. There is nothing more than Nature and all our descriptions of God in fact describe Nature.

Failing to identify a unique entity, which our image driven mind tends to do, we imagined God as being behind Nature. Fact is, there is nothing more than that, even if it seems unreasonable. Our mind is conditionned to think in terms of an image, thus the need to visualise objects and words. But Nature is something that we cannot symbolise into an image in our mind. Nature IS, it has no form. Our environment is Nature and we have derived God as the symbol of Nature.

Since God is in fact Nature, we humans as living beings are a manifestation of Nature, thus we are part of it. Then we are what we call God.