Read the text below and answer Questions 1-6.
While India celebrates Science Day on February 28 and remembers the contribution of Raman, it is also an opportunity to take stock of the status of science in India. Such introspection is necessary as science and technology have become the most important drivers of the economy of a nation. Information Technology and Biotechnology are two live examples of knowledge-based industry. With globalisation and the WTO in place, those countries, which do not update themselves with the latest scientific and technological advancements, would fall behind. Technology has changed the business models of companies across the world.
Since Independence, India has travelled a long distance in research and development activities. Our scientific and technical manpower is amongst the largest in the world. Two scientists of Indian origin, Hargobind Khorana and S.Chandrasekhar, have won Nobel Prizes in Medicine and Physics. It is difficult to find a good university or research institute of repute in the US, where Indians are not working at the top positions.
There are, however, a few disturbing trends which need immediate attention. First, good students, undergraduate and graduate, have started moving away from sciences- Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology. Instead, Economics, Commerce, Engineering and Medicine are the coveted subjects. Those who do join sciences keep looking for a changeover at the first opportunity to more lucrative disciplines. Not many go willingly for doctoral programmes. Jobs in sciences are few and pay packets low.
Secondly, the universities have become teaching colleges, research having taken a backseat. As a result, students of universities hardly have exposure to frontline research work; they lack motivation to take up a career in research. By contrast, in all the advanced countries, the universities contribute to good quality research.
Thirdly, research institutes also need improvement. They should be made truly autonomous and professionally managed with more accountability. An effective system of rewarding good researchers should be evolved.
Fourthly, the view that research in basic sciences is not important as it is of little utility to India is short-sighted. Good technology cannot flourish without good science.
Fifthly, the universities face acute financial crises. The universities themselves are unable to raise resources by way of increasing fee and user charges. Governments are unable to support them to the desired extent due to budgetary constraints. The result: these institutions are unable to keep pace with the changing times.
Sixthly, there is a need to look at the structure of universities, most of them being affiliating institutions. They suffer from the huge drag of the affiliated colleges. The biggest casualty is quality of education. Should we not try to move towards the system of unitary universities?
And finally, the time has come for inter-disciplinary research and education. Our university systems have become water-tight compartments within a department and people do not interact amongst themselves. We continue to promote very specialised institutions such as medical colleges, engineering colleges, agricultural universities, etc., where as the scholars of leading institutions elsewhere are trying to collaborate with each other and promote all branches of knowledge. For instance, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is well known for Physics, Economics, Biology and Medicine!
We need to bring about reforms in higher education. Research in basic sciences and technology should be liberally funded by the government. We should allow good private universities to generate competition for government-funded universities and research institutes. Career scientists should be paid well and working conditions improved. We need to formulate a comprehensive strategy and implement it with vigour. India should also aim for at least one Nobel Prize during the next 10 years for the work done here. Let us pledge to repeat Raman.
B. MULTIPLE CHOICE
- It is necessary to introspect about the status of science in our country because
- it is how Science Day should be celebrated
- it is required for knowledge based industry
- it is a requirement of globalisation
- it is important for the country’s economy
- Which of the following is one of the ‘disturbing trends’ that needs immediate attention?
- more and more students want to study science
- there is dearth of jobs in sciences and salaries are low
- there is too much exposure to research
- research institutes are autonomous
- Universities are facing financial crises because
- of poor monetary management
- ways of raising money are few
- of lack of autonomy
- of wastage of money in useless research
4. Inter-disciplinary research and education should be encourage because
- create interaction and mutual learning
- bring discipline in research
- reduce the cost of carrying out research
- make specialised institutions easier to manage
5. The phrase “comprehensive strategy”(paragraph 10) means
- plan for understanding
- a strategy for comprehension
- a system for planning
- a detailed and well thought out plan
6. “Let us pledge to repeat Raman”(Paragraph 10, last line). Which of the
following best explains the suggested meaning of this statement
- there is need to acknowledge Raman’s contribution to Indian science
- we need to produce another Noble Laureate
- Indian scientists must carry out inter-disciplinary research
- we need to improve the standard of scientific research in India