India not investing properly in science

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The report titled “Whither Science Education in Indian Colleges?” said that the lack of proper investment has affected the research sector in India.

The report showed that India invested only 0.88 per cent of its GDP in science research, while the US invested 7-8 per cent, and South Korea 3-4 per cent.

The think tank said that India has one of the lowest R&D spend-to-GDP ratios and it is investing on areas that are not strongly connected to industry.

“More than a quarter of (India’s) R&D investment goes towards basic research, against 5 per cent in China and 17 per cent in the United States,” the report states.

ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni said the “tight equation between a degree certificate and education has created several distortions, both in society and in the system of education itself”.

Kulkarni added that we have placed a disproportionate emphasis on standardized examinations and put pressure on the students to score well in them.

“Memorization of facts and formulae has triumphed over mastery of concepts, independent and creative thinking, integrative thinking that connects understanding of different subjects, and ability to apply that understanding to solve practical problems of society,” said the ORF head.

“Theory is prioritized over application and time constraints do not allow teachers to explore all concepts, in depth. As a consequence, students are frequently exposed to many concepts but fail to understand them in depth and explore their application,” the report said.

The authors of the report are Catarina Correia, Leena Chandran-Wadia, Radha Viswanathan and Adithi Muralidhar.

The study noted that though the population of tertiary student in KIndia is quite large, India has failed to increase the number of PhDs in science and engineering significantly (from 54 per 10 million in 1983 to 70 in 2004).

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