Monday, January 3, 2011

Indian Science Congress 2011

What Ails Indian Science Education ?

Vinod Varshney

The truth of Indian Universities is that much attention is not given on research, which is quite natural in the Indian situation when power and money matter more than knowledge and sincerity. The educational culture is being vitiated fast by mushrooming private universities and colleges, many of which have been opened with the blatant intention of only making money.

No surprise that any conscientious academic would lament that even after 63 years of independence we don’t have even one which can be counted among the top 200 universities of the world. This fact was effectively underscored by Dr K. C. Pandey the General President of the Indian Science Congress in his Presidential speech Tuesday in SRM University of Chennai.

Unluckily his speech would not find sufficient space in the mainstream media, which remains more concerned about reporting what government leaders say.

Beleagured Leader Loses Sheen

The 98th Indian Science Congress was inaugurated Tuesday by Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh, a beleaguered leader amidst his government’s multi-billion dollar 2-G spectrum scam which has taken away much of the sheen from his gentle appeal. One can leave aside most part of his lecture, except one glaring reality “that while C. V. Raman won the Nobel Prize eighty years ago for the Raman Effect, most of the instruments available in India today using this principle are imported.”

Why is it so? Dr Singh has not ant remedy for this. He only mentioned the malady that that was not an isolated example. "Many of our outstanding scientific discoveries had been converted into marketable products by technologists and firms based abroad."

So what is wrong with India? Everybody knows that its political culture is the real problem, which breeds, supports and cover up corruption. The culture of corruption has seeped deep inside the educational institutions also and politicians have been active participants of all this sordid happening. If political culture remains as it is, there is no hope that Indian science education would get any major change.  

What Are the Solutions?

What has been offered as solutions? Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, as is his wont, blared out an agenda, which he thinks can make India a "hot spot of innovation". The agenda will include long term academia-industry collaborative relationships with open access to and resources free of intellectual property entanglements; better integration of corporate with higher educational and research institutions, encourage multidisciplinary collaboration among business, government, academia and R&D, thereby creating an environment that supports technological development. Definitely these are fanciful words which an illustrious lawyer politician can always utter.

It will take genuine strenuous efforts and long time to bring into practice even a few of these things as spelling out an agenda is one thing but to do concrete work is a diffrent ball game which requires real sincerity and sense of commitment.


  1. Sir, quite thought-provoking. Happy new year,sir. Belated --never mind.

  2. Thanks for your comments. When do you plan to come to Delhi.