In today’s India, Science and Technology ministry is considered untouchable. Earlier, Late Shri Vilas Rao Deshmukh refused to take charge of Science and Technology ministry for nearly a fortnight. The late minister was moved from his charge in Heavy Industries, and considered it to be below his dignity to take charge of Science and Technology ministry. More recently, after Mr. Jaipal Reddy was removed from petroleum ministry and assigned charge of Science and Technology Ministry, many claimed Mr. Reddy is miffed at his demotion. It is a tragedy that in India, ministers in charge of helping young peoples education consider it to be below their dignity.
In this light it is very refreshing to hear that Mr. Sashi Tharoor is taking active interest in his ministry, as minister of state for Science and Technology. Prior to this, Mr. Kapil Sibal had also been an enthusiastic minister. He brought the right to education bill. Many claim the bill had flaws, however, I felt the minister was genuine in his effort. This may go a long way, when the wrinkles are ironed out, in spreading light of education among poor and disadvantaged.
Mr. Tharoor said that Indian education system is not producing well qualified graduates. Before we run down Mr. Tharoor and call him names, we must ponder upon his statements. To state mildly, our education system is outdated and based on rote learning. There is very little effort and thought to make students apply their learning and knowledge. Our education system is more suited to produce clerks, not independent thinkers like scientists, innovator, enterpreneurs.
Apart from our education curriculum and way we are taught, there are other systemic flaw in our system. We shun merit and encourage reservation in higher education. Not happy with that, our administrators now want promotion of academicians based on quota and not on merit. As a result not many highly qualified people join academia. Even if they join, they leave with a sense of betrayal. Strangely, same people who advocate reservation in India, send their kids abroad amd make them compete in an open system. Now that we have a minister who has an open mind, government must let him unfurl his vision. We must let universities like Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge and other top class universities set campus in India. So that Indian students can also get benefit studying in these world class temples of learning. It will help our people educated in modern and rational way of thinking.