'Overhaul varsity system to make India S&T leader'

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 05, 2013 13:20 hrs

Kolkata, Jan 5 (IANS) India's ambition to be a world leader in science and technology depends upon a drastic overhaul of the university system, experts said at the 100th Indian Science Congress here Saturday.

"A drastic overhaul is needed if India wants to lead in science and technology. Urgent action is required to prevent reaching a point of no return," said S.C. Lakhotia of department of zoology at Banaras Hindu University.

Attesting to the above, former Delhi university vice chancellor Deepak Pental feels for starters, youngsters should be encouraged to start research in the country.

"Induct fresh and young talent to start research in the country, within our universities. Later on they can pursue higher education abroad," he said.

Another aspect that hinders students from pursuing science is the lack of infrastructure at the school and university level, said the experts

"Most students do not have access to basic lab facilities. They need good labs to get the best hands-on training," said Lakhotia.

Expressing concern over specialised courses at the outset of a student's career, he felt education in science and technology should be "pyramidal".

"Students lack basic knowledge of various science disciplines. They should have a broad based education. By doing a specialised course at the start, they fail to learn the basics of all disciplines of science. Such fragmented knowledge is bad. It should be pyramidal," said Lakhotia.

Pental suggested a four-year undergraduate course with overall improvement in mathematical, analytical, computational and language skills.

Apart from learning the basics, he highlighted the lack of scholarships and fellowships to researchers.

"Scholarships are needed to encourage them. Otherwise they will shift to other disciplines which pay well," said Pental.

According to him, freedom of the faculty to run their own research projects will ensure steady work for students.

"Furthermore, train teachers to become good mentors and encourage students to take up teaching," said Lakhotia.

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