Improvisation of Science Education in Indian Universities: A Call for the Inclusion of Elements of National Importance in the Curriculum

Bast, Felix

Abstract

India is steadily losing its early dominance in scientific research and development- that attained apogee during classic through middle-ages, and since independence it produced not a single Nobel Laureate in Science. This article examines some of the root causes of the problems that Indian science is facing, including extrinsic factors of bureaucracy and skewed funding. Correlation of research and development expenditures and H-index as revealed in the present study, combined with India’s poor 'average citations per paper' benchmark, suggests that a vast majority of scholarly literature that the country produces have little significant research impact. At the same time, the country also delivers a small number of high-quality papers. Almost entire gamut of intrinsic issues can be attributed to the state of science education in the Indian universities, especially much overlooked component, the syllabus. Two new core courses for graduate science curricula across disciplines are proposed: (i) History of Science and (ii) Scientific Ethics. Areas of science syllabi of Indian university curriculum that require urgent revision with respect to the inclusion of elements of national importance are identified and augmentation of curricular resources to subsume modern and effective didactic strategies including podcasts and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are suggested, before concluding with related pedagogical recommendations that include well-developed lesson plans, implementation of Information and Communication Technologies through personal websites, summer/winter internships, and collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

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