In the recently published results for India’s AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), the public was shocked to hear that Stuti Khandwala received an almost perfect rank of 10.
This is a new record and that has ensured her a position at MIT’s research program in Bio-Engineering.
As reported by the Times of India, “she secured a 90 per cent scholarship offer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a top ranked US research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts."
Stuti is an 18-year-old who hails from Suraj, Gujarat in Northwest India. She will go to the US to do a research program in Bio-Engineering at MIT.
This, as the young woman says in her own words, was what she always wanted in life, “I always wanted to get into research. It requires one to study and understand the flavours of all subjects. This was one of the reasons that I took up both Bio and Physics.”
In the MIT Bio-engineering research program, she will have many opportunities.
From supporting innovations in female reproductive sciences through pathophysiological analysis to the cancer medicine departmentş which has been known throughout the world as a leader in the development of Precision Cancer Medicine.
What is the AIIMS test all about?
In a recent YouTube video, Stuti Khandwala spoke to her fans about the rigors of the AIIMS exam.
She explains how one must read long scientific studies in a matter of minutes; spending no more than thirty seconds on a paragraph that could consist of more than six sentences.
The testing is hence, focused on a student's comprehension and deduction skills, which are of key importance in the fast pace, detail-oriented reality of the medical research fields.
Why research over medicine?
Many are curious about Stuti’s preference for research over medicine. She said it was only after careful conversations with parents and teachers that she chose the research path.
Why the United States over India for study?
Many top ranking Indian students go West to study – especially in the humanities where India is perceived to have less of a tradition and preference for investment.
On the other hand, in the hard sciences, India is more competitive, as observed by India Today:
"In the hard sciences, biotechnology, and related fields, the situation is more favourable with a few institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and some others, despite limited acknowledgment from abroad, being internationally competitive by most measures. But the numbers of students who can be served by these schools is quite limited."
The other major issue drawing students away from their local universities is older teaching methods.
Some blame this on the colonial disciplinary traditions imposed by the British which enforced unrealistic teaching schedules for professors while ignoring the lives of students:
"The UGC (University Grants Commission) demands 18 periods of teaching per week from an assistant professor. "Isn't that reasonable?" one might ask. Of course, it is, if you ignore what the word 'teaching' means, the practice of calculating teachers' daily work by counting the number of periods they stand beside the blackboard exposes the hollowness of our system and the concept of education."
Will Stuti Khandwala return to India after studies?
It is a question one could ask many of India’s top ranking students.
Stuti expresses her interest in supporting her homeland and looks favorably upon the idea of coming back home and advancing the research field locally.