Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking at 94th Indian Science Congress, touched on a raw nerve of the Indian education system. Expressing concern over the decreasing enrollment in the basic sciences courses in schools and colleges of India, he called for new initiatives for the ‘revitalisation’ of the scientific institutions in the country.
That concern also highlights the Government’s apathy on science & technology. In the era of the patent regime, it is lamentable that the annual expenditure on science and technology stands less than 1% of the GDP. There has also been an alarming decline in the standard of advanced research in the country. The U.R. Rao Committee (for higher education) remarked that against the annual 10,000 doctorates required for a vibrant R&D base,
113 universities of India could produce only 4,000 of them.
On quality, the Mckinsey Global Institute contended that only 25% of India’s engineers were considered to be ‘employable’ by MNCs.
It is time when the Prime Minister moves beyond expressions of concern. After all, the Indian Institute of Sciences could find a place only in the 301-400 category in the world’s ranking