Restructure education to increase scientists says CNR Rao
India should restructure its education system to increase its contribution to science and technology like US and China, CNR Rao, National Research Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research has advised.
“We only have few experts in every field. If they go, we would be helpless. We are running short of talented youth who pursue research. We should create a large manpower capable of doing high capacity research. The contribution of US and China towards Science is 17 per cent and 13.5 per cent respectively, whereas in India it is just 2-3 per cent,” he noted.
While interacting with media after inaugurating an international conference on Advanced Materials at PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore, he said he was saddened by the fact that not even a single Indian institution is included in the top 100 scientific institutions world wide.
“We have to restructure our education system to mould more scientists and technocrats. It is time for India to ensure it provides quality education to the next generation in way that would benefit scientific research and extension,” he said.
He added, “Only if we can produce knowledgeable youngsters, the country can include itself in the list of highly advanced nations. India has to emerge as the supplier of knowledge, technical and scientific manpower to the world.”
He claimed that bureaucracy especially senior IAS officers who are also decision makers, were still continuing as a bottleneck for hampering India’s development in research and development. “If we want to recruit a talented young researcher and pay him a salary of Rs 1 lakh per month, we cannot do that. Bureaucracy has increased everywhere and it has turned out to be the biggest bottleneck for development or research. Appointment and promotion of faculty has been hit in many universities (due to this). In central institutions nearly 50 to 60 per cent of the faculty/research positions are vacant mainly because clearance has not come from the Ministries concerned. Bureaucrats are reluctant to clear proposals to pay higher salaries and incentives for scientists as the former does not want the latter to earn more than them.”
Rao added, ” But private institutions like PSG College of Technology do not have such kind of restriction and should start working on various research activities and produce results, as in the case of many foreign countries.”
“We need to ensure that mediocrity is thoroughly removed from all spheres of life. The youngsters must have a sense of national pride that our forefathers had,” he said.
Rao added money was no longer an issue in Indian science. “I did a degree from the US and I was paid a salary of Rs 500 during my time. Now professors and researchers are paid hefty amounts,” he said.
He said there is a need for much stronger research centres.
About the research on energy sector he said, “The country may require 4 lakh MV energy in the next 20 years. So, we should do lot of research work on solar thermal energy, which countries like the US and Israel have already started. Solar energy will be good only for local supply. When the 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalapakkam is commissioned, it will show a new way of producing nuclear energy.”
According to him, water will be the coal of the future. Many countries, including the US, were doing research to separate hydrogen from water. The US has allotted 120M $ for this research. “Research work was going on in Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Reseach, Bangalore. The problem arises in storing hydrogen. No one has found a solution forthis issue,” he said.
“India faces lots of problems, including safe drinking water. In our country, nearly 60 per cent of diseases were caused from water. Younger generations should do research work to get a solution for these problems,” he urged.