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# India's Engineering Grads Cannot Solve Simple Math Problems

#### chiguy (522222) writes | about 2 years ago

7

chiguy (522222) writes "MIT alumnus Varun Aggarwal and IIT-Delhi graduate Himanshu Aggarwal released a study suggesting that 30% of Indian engineering graduates can't solve simple math problems. As reported in India Today:

"A bag is full of 20 bananas and no other fruit. Rajeev draws a fruit from the bag. What is the probability that he will draw a banana?

An embarrassing 30 per cent of the country's engineers cannot solve a problem as simple as the one above, a study has found. Their ineptitude, however, is not limited to just sums of probability.

It's worse as over one-third engineers do not possess mathematical skills needed in day-to-day life for doing simple transactions, counting and arranging. In other words, they have a weak understanding of concepts as elementary as decimals, powers, operations, ratio, fractions and the ability to apply these concepts to real-world problems."

Is this surprising? How does this compare to American/Western countries?"

### probability problem (1)

#### treeves (963993) | about 2 years ago | (#40126449)

I guy I know on Facebook (well I know him from the Navy) posted a question his sixth grade son got for math homework: you have a bag with 5 red marbles, 3 blue marbles and two green marbles in it. You pull out two marbles without looking inside. What is the probability you will pull out two that are different colors? Show your work.
I answered it and I'm sure I got it right, but he didn't post the "correct" answer and I don't think most American high school students could do it, heck college students for that matter. But a sixth grader? No way.

### Re:probability problem (1)

#### Ignacio (1465) | about 2 years ago | (#40126843)

Elementary school kids can barely multiply these days. Asking them to do hypergeometric analysis is... yeah.

Also, 5/10*5/9 + 3/10*7/9 + 2/10*8/9 = 62/90 = 31/45. So a little over two-thirds.

### Re:probability problem (1)

#### iamhassi (659463) | about 2 years ago | (#40129127)

I guy I know on Facebook (well I know him from the Navy) posted a question his sixth grade son got for math homework: you have a bag with 5 red marbles, 3 blue marbles and two green marbles in it. You pull out two marbles without looking inside. What is the probability you will pull out two that are different colors? Show your work. I answered it and I'm sure I got it right, but he didn't post the "correct" answer and I don't think most American high school students could do it, heck college students for that matter. But a sixth grader? No way.

are you sure that's 6th grade? Because this school has a very similar but easier (just two colors) marble problem and they're saying it's 8th grade. [portangelesschools.org]

More colors means it's more difficult, so I'm guessing that problem is somewhere above 8th grade, at least according to the Port Angeles School District [portangelesschools.org]

### Feynman in Brazil may apply (1)

#### Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40127163)

Anyone familiar with the biography of Richard Feynman will know how he went to Brazil and looked at the country's physics education, and reported back that, in effect, they didn't have any: they just had rote learning. So the student could recite the formula for the deflection of a light ray entering a region of different refractive index, but couldn't even recognise where it was appropriate in a real-world situation.

I would suggest, as an old fogey, that a lot of this arises from course work rather than exams. For one of my second year exams at Cambridge, the questions were deliberately so worded that you had to spend time working out what the question even meant. (I remember it because I had the occasional nightmare about that exam for years afterwards, even though I got a good score). From what I see of coursework, it is all leading on. If the student is always led on, what happens when a new situation is encountered?

### HR doesn't care (1)

#### iamhassi (659463) | about 2 years ago | (#40129079)

HR doesn't care, he has a "college degree" and he's cheaper than Western college grads so he's hired!

Most companies don't give math tests and don't hire engineers to pick bananas from a bag.

### Epic Fail (1)

Speaking from experience working with various outsourced groups doing software development, I'm surprised it's only 30 percent. I cringe every time I find myself somewhere that I'm required to work with these groups because I typically spend more time explaining, hand-holding, code reviewing, and often completely re-doing the work than if I just did it myself. Part of it is a better understanding of the business, of course, but part of it is just a lack of ability. In my experience, those with talent have already migrated here. Many of the best developers I know are from outside the U.S.

### It's not a math problem... (1)

#### unitron (5733) | about 2 years ago | (#40133293)

It's not a math problem, it's a language and logic problem.

Take the number 20 out and it's still the same problem.

If you say there are bananas in the bag and no other fruit, it's reasonable to infer that bananas are a fruit, therefore pulling out a fruit means you get a banana every time.

The numbers are no more mathmatically significant than the symbols used in sudoku.

And despite whatever calculation skills may exist in the populace, there is an appalling inability to employ logic.

Look how many people are convinced that the state of affairs observed in the middle of the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin struggle are proof positive of how it was started and by whom, even though none of the witnesses saw it start.

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