Researchers and government call for new ideas to revive Indian science yet again. Will it work?
THE Nobel Prize-winning research by C V Raman on scattering of photons can be used to produce scanners to study matter. But even after 80 years, India has failed to put this research to use. Reason: the country does not have the infrastructure to build such sophisticated technologies. Thousands of engineers in the country design semiconductors, but only to meet the needs of global market. India is forced to import them in absence of manufacturing facilities.
The standard of science has steadily deteriorated in India in the past 20 years, say reports. Of every 100 interviews during campus recruitments, only 10 to 20 science students land a job. These tidbits of information were not pleasant to the nearly 7,000 participants— researchers and students—who enrolled for the 98th Indian Science Congress held in January in Chennai.
There were hundreds of presentations on different fields of science but as the speakers pointed out time and again, most of the research will remain unused. The event did try to address the issue through many sessions dedicated to the theme, ‘Quality education and excellence in science research in Indian universities’. But the brainstorming session lacked new ideas. The recommendations are awaited.
Seek private help
While the lack of infrastructure remained a concern, numerous discussions were held on ways to revive Indian science. Most agreed that both private and public education are crucial for improving access, equity and quality. But approaches to how these two could coexist differed. The debate leaned towards promoting the private sector. K C Pandey, president of the Indian Science Congress Association said, “It is better to look at the quality of education and not whether it is private or public.” He emphasised on collaboration with foreign institutes.
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