On 26th May 2014, after a very long time India got a Prime minister with absolute majority, means we got someone who can deliver what he says. Prime Minister Narender Modi is the second prime minister from BJP, the first being Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. People have lot of expectations from this regime, especially due to their electoral slogan “Ache din aayenge”
In his maiden speech PM beside many other things emphasized upon skill development and the lack of research in India especially in the fields of Agriculture. He is not wrong India has a very poor research performance in all fields. Research is not something which a person does only in/after PhD, research is a way of life and unless our students are taught research from the beginning, they will never understand the concept of research.
A good way to improve our contribution in research is in analysing what is different between our education and education provided by countries with maximum number of patents and publications. Two countries which lead in theses area are: China and US. Let us see how, our education policy differs from theirs.
If we want a true comparison we should start from school education, but since that is not my field of expertise I concentrate on undergraduate programs offered by theses countries and us. Our National education policy as of now is 10+2+3 policy that is our undergraduate programs are of three year duration. But both China and US offers four year undergraduate program, with emphasis on research and dissertation and independent project work in all fields. In US there is an option of both two year and four year undergraduate program, with two year degree referred as associate degree to meet with need of skilled/ vocational mid level jobs.
As the American president W J Clinton has said: “It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us”.
Even the UNESCO report on research in developing countries emphasizes that developing countries should focus in research for growth. India should concentrate on both providing skilled employable youths and a good research platform, and if this requires going through our national education policy and changing it, we should do it. We should introspect and make a national policy which has scope for skilled youths and cultivate research.