During the National Science Day celebrations in Ahmedabad on Sunday, senior educationists and scientists called for a change in the existing education system, especially in the science stream. The day also saw the inauguration of science exhibition centre at Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in the city. “The Indian science system is suffering from a bacteria of favouritism. People are counting research papers to evaluate a researcher rather than reading these. Number has become more important than the quality. Today, we are teaching our students the techniques and facts, but not what is behind these. This is the biggest challenge to our education system,” said director Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Gandhinagar, Dr Sudhir Jain, addressing students and teachers at the PRL.
He added, “We need to teach students to create and solve problems than asking them to prove science formulas in laboratories that have already been proved years ago. Knowing about something is not important, but the capacity to know and learn and the ability to synthesise these facts is more important. School and colleges need to introspect whether we are teaching right values and attitude to a student.”
The existing pressure to crack competitive examinations was doing no good to students, he said. “They are completely devoid of physical activities, reading habit, music, painting, communication skills due to a self-centered mode of study, values and ethics and ability to deal with the societal issues. If we are able to solve this problem at the school and college levels, we would really help our country develop,” said Dr Jain, replying to queries during the interaction session.
Referring to the the gender bias and the impact of nuclear families on education system, director of Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad, Tapan Misra, said, “In our society, boys are sent to private tuition, private coaching centres while girls to government schools and colleges. The result of which, I have noticed, has done more good to girls than boys. I have noticed that girls have more originality than boys. Similarly, earlier children had a lot to discuss and learn from their grandparents and teachers, but now due to nuclear families, they lack those skills and the learning desire.”
Kartikeya Sarabhai, director CEE, said, “We need to learn how to beat the existing system. Unless you ask questions and challenge assumptions, students cannot grow in science.”
Coinciding with the National Science Day, a permanent science exhibition centre was also inaugurated at PRL. . The centre is open for public from February 29 till March 1.