In January, our Prime Minister addressed the Science Congress at Kolkata and presented the Science Policy for India. I was watching a debate on Rajya Sabha channel on the same policy. There were some peculiar points which piqued my interest in the debate. One of them was about ‘Research in India’. I prepared this draft post and didn’t put much thought into it.I will try to recall them.
The issue was about reaping the demographic dividend of the country for research & development. The usual laments of inefficient IITs & laggard research work were pointed out. Govt. is proposing PPP model for infusing life into research. Private money may help in creating industry relevant innovations. However, according to me, the utilization of democratic dividend was missing somewhat.After all private money will work for private research and development i.e. the benefits will be reaped mainly by private firms only. The economy can get a boost from the macro-economics mechanisms of the PPP financed research. Though, I would like to propose that the huge student populace of the nation be utilized.
We talk about Demographic dividend – how about reaping it. Most of the research work in India seems to be either left in between or completed in a hurry.Even those research work which are completed needs streamlining or further polishing or updates. At this point the student community can come in handy for the researchers & policy developers. The govt’ is already planning to create a National Knowledge Network (google it)of various institutes & universities. What if the research can be divided into small segments or parts and then distributed openly in the Network. And why only in the NKN, & why not to every school & college across the country. With the collective small efforts of the students can be consolidated to get the better or newer output. It’s similar to how we learn language or code huge software or create huge machines.
Divide ->Distribute ->Combine ->New Output.
One may point out that that’s how it is done actually. And I agree to that but they are done inside closed walls. How about letting some fresh air come in or blasting the walls away altogether. India got so much undiscovered , under-rated talent brooding inside the educational institutes. They should be let loose on some of the critical national problems & have their heads work on them. This will also give them some better perspective about research & real-life , who knows it may rekindle the curiosity in them. This may look like some authoritarian govt. scheme for research but it’s not so. The students will be free to chose whatever he/she wishes to work on or even to do nothing about them. The extra effort done on the component can be given extra credits. This will provide a new ‘CHOICE’ to the students. If as a consumers you have a choice then why can’t students have a choice about knowledge.
The unavailability of luxuries of internet or computer or so as electricity may be an impeding factor in India. That’ why I suggest employ the facilities & infrastructure of colleges. We might not have enough investment into research & development but we have enough minds to invest in them. That will ensure the frugal solutions our nation churns out from time to time.
We are getting whole of human genome sequencing being done by novice students. Huge encyclopedias(Wikipedia) being written down. Mapping of Retinal Connectome done by common internet users. So, why can’t we have a solution of a complex problem being faced by a huge country like India. The answer to solving puzzles lies in India’s hugeness only – utilize the kids mind. They can do wonders at times.
I made it part of SHSF as this has not been implemented yet. And do looks plausible to me or to say one of the ‘inclusive sustainable solution’ to our problems of research & development. If you have any further ideas on similar lines or do know someone. Please let me know.
Also, do look at it with skeptical & critical eyes – I really would like to know the lose point in this proposal.Please do comment about them.
P.S – I may be updating it again because it shoots me into flurry of possibilities & ideas.