Thane: Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao on Saturday stressed on the urgent need to revive the interest of students in Science and devise ways to get the brightest of the lot attracted to the subject if India wants to rise as the next superpower and bring home the long overdue Nobel Prize.
“More than ever Science is under threat of neglect and apathy. Urgent intervention is needed from the government, planners, educationists and science leaders to stop the declining interest of students and apathy of society towards science if we wish to make any reasonable progress in various spheres of life," Rao said after opening the 51st conference of Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Vidnyan Parishad here last evening.
“I firmly believe that India can become a superpower only if it accords urgent attention to science and technology. We can address our challenges like poverty, hunger, disease, sanitation, malnutrition, water and energy insecurity only through the power of Science, technology and innovation.
I might sound alarmist. But I sincerely feel that we need national level intervention to revive the interest of students in science and make our institutions of science dynamic centres of learning, research and innovation," he said.
India was actively contributing to the field of Science and Technology centuries long before modern inventions were made. The contribution the Indian civilization to human knowledge and advancement has been rich and varied. Unfortunately, long spells of foreign domination did great harm to our education system; to our Science and technology and to our spirit of enquiry and innovation," he said.
The Governor said that it has been 86 long years since CV Raman won the Nobel Prize for Physics.
"Another Nobel Prize in Science is long overdue for India. Our scientific fraternity must rise to this challenge and work towards this goal to revive the interest of Indians in Science," he said.
"If we wish to develop scientific temper and spirit of enquiry among our children, the beginning will have to be made from our schools. The first and foremost thing," he said "that we must do is to promote education in mother tongue.
In addition, the Governor said, "Secondly we must adopt interactive, responsive and participatory methods of teaching and learning. The present education system lays undue stress on examinations and result. There is no place for creative thinking and expression of innovative ideas. This must change."
In his address to delegates from all over the state Rao said, “as Governor and as Chancellor of Universities in the state, I find that there is no worthwhile interaction taking place between our institutions of science and our schools and colleges. Both are working in exclusion of one another."
"I do feel that there should be a regular interface between these institutions and our schools and colleges. Our schools are nurseries of future scientists and innovators. We must not neglect them," he said.
"I feel our institutions of Science must organize regular workshops and continuing education programmes for teachers and share with them innovative practices of learning. There are concepts like Science Festival in many advanced countries. I think school and every Science institution must organize a Science festival every year. It should explain to the common man in simple terms what it is doing for society. We need to think, how the best and the brightest students could be attracted to Science," he said.
"Sixty-nine years ago, India won freedom from the foreign rule. But the real freedom will come when people are freed of ignorance, superstition, poverty, hunger, disease and under-development. I believe that science can help us achieve real Independence and shape the future of India.
I want Marathi Vidnyan Parishad to prepare the nation for this second freedom movement. Together we can realize and fulfill the dream of Dr A P J Abdul Kalam to make India self-reliant and self-assured," Rao said.
He said Marathi Vidnyan Parishad should impress upon the governments to increase the funding for science which is currently less than even 1 per cent of our GDP.
"It should encourage the private sector organizations to support science education, science fairs and such other scientific activities in schools and colleges."