‘Government must identify and nurture students interested in science’


New Delhi : The government must make a concerted effort to identify talented students and nurture them for scientific pursuits, says Rajya Sabha MP K. Kasturirangan, who is heading a forum of academics formed to address problems related to higher education.

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The forum, called Emerging Directions in Global Education (EDGE), held a brainstorming session Wednesday and noted that one of the major challenges is the dwindling interest in science among students intending to pursue higher education.

The entry of multinational companies and the lure of making fast money with easy management, marketing and arts-oriented jobs have robbed science of its fair share of brains.

Addressing the conference and later in conversation with IANS, Kasturirangan, who is also the director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) suggested five ways to wean back students to science.

“First, I would like parents to give a little more importance to the spirit of inquiry among their children and teach them that pursuit of science is a pursuit of enrichment. Young minds can be moulded easily.

“Second, science as a profession should be made paying and put on a par with all other professions with better scholarships and fellowships. Third, the government and private academic institutions must come up with excellent programmes and an inspiring ambience to create the best of infrastructure and laboratory environment,” Kasturirangan said.

“Fourth, creativity should be supported and there must be no hindrance to creative thinking and innovative ideas should be duly recognised. Fifth, there are very young bright minds in India and the government must make a concerted effort to identify such potential talent and nurture them for scientific pursuits,” he added.

Outlining the agenda of EDGE, Kasturirangan said: “As globalisation has touched all facets of our lives, the need of the day is to adapt to the global forces of change. Macro forces like globalisation and economic changes are perpetually forcing the education sector to adapt itself to the changing dynamics. The rapid pace of change will pose major challenges and offer opportunities to the education sector.”

According to him, in a knowledge-based economy, education has become a resource provider and while transforming education institutes for emerging global opportunities, educators in India will have to adopt new management tools and techniques to face the future.

Keeping in view the increasing mobility of students and the growing demand for higher education in the globalised world and the need to promote greater scientific research, the forum has drawn up a set of recommendations to reform the country’s education system.

The forum’s suggestions include internationalising Indian education, bringing the best practices and the best education initiatives to the country, creating a paradigm shift in education through emerging technologies, and introducing innovative financing solutions in education.

It also suggested making the process of learning technology-enabled and making India a global education destination to harness its growing resource potential to impart advanced scientific and humanities training.

Besides, the forum has also emphasised on generating revenue through higher education and making a viable business model.