The land’s youth used to be exhorted until recently by public speakers, including those holding high posts in government and leading lights in academia, to cultivate scientific temperament and outlook. It is anybody’s guess if the call has been accepted and acted upon by the youth to a perceptible extent. Rush of students to colleges offering courses in professional streams of medical, dental, engineering, information technology, agriculture and commerce provides ample proof of science subjects not finding favour with the youth as well as their parents. Given the current volatile scenario in the country’s job market and dramatic action by major companies resorting to lay off in the IT sector, we may once again witness a reverse trend of science subjects attracting the students, like the proverbial ‘return of the prodigal son.’ If the just launched mass scale mission of skilling the land’s human resources by both the Union Government and a few State Governments, including Karnataka, succeeds according to expectations, one has to keep one’s fingers crossed until the day of witnessing victory of skills over science (as a choice by the youth).
The air is abuzz with voices from various quarters expressing disappointment about the government’s intervention into the education system at all levels forbidding its healthy progress. The country’s intelligentsia has not come out in full strength to set right the wrongs done by successive governments. For example, the clout of politicians in deciding on the choice of persons to key posts in Universities, such as UoM, says it all.
The often publicised information that India hosts the highest number of graduates in science subjects doesn’t quite match the other related information that no University figures among the top 200 Universities globally, with the exception of Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science, which has barely made the grade by being placed at rank 99. One need not be disheartened after learning about the poor showing in the global academic scenario only because the parameters for ranking academic institutions, such as a) publication of articles in journals of repute, b) number of patents in the name of their staff, c) Nobel Prizes awarded to the faculty and so on are more suited to the objectives and goals set for the western society. If India’s academic institutions pursuing scientific research, including Universities, stick to just one parameter of carrying out successful research to redeem the miseries of the land’s poor, we don’t have to ask for more. That done, the scientists also achieve fulfilment in their chosen profession.
The just disclosed measure taken by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) facilitating its research personnel drawn from 38 national laboratories to teach at least 50,000 Kendriya Vidyalaya students under a programme called Jigyasa (curiosity) augurs well for the nation’s future by grooming gen next. Securing high global rank among Universities shall be a goal set for the students of our times.