T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology.
The INSPIRE programme of the DSE seeks to promote science as a career choice. How far has it succeeded?
The objective of INSPIRE is not to promote science as a career choice. It is to attract talented youth for inspired research considering science as pursuit'. Hence, the programme has focussed on several intangibles and exciting experience with the joy of pursuing science right from the early stages of one's learning process.
The programme has been received with high enthusiasm by all age groups. We have constituted a review committee under the chairmanship of Dr R.A. Mashelkar. The committee is excited with the level of response from talented youth so far and has recommended doubling of the number of people covered under the scheme.
The success of the programme is necessary for India to emerge as a global leader in science in, say, a 10-15 year time-frame. On the basis of initial projections and results, there is a high probability that the programme will succeed. I would like to revisit it in 2015 for possible directional changes and enrichment of processes.
Do you feel it is necessary to impart science students with some education in liberal arts?
In my view, compartmentalisation was never a good idea, at least in the initial stages of education. At tertiary education levels, when specialisation becomes the norm, it is highly beneficial to integrate both science and a certain degree of liberal arts in the curriculums of universities. With modern technology choices being strongly linked to social impact and interfaces, delinking science and liberal arts serves no purpose. We should revisit our educational curriculum and focus on development of good citizens and personalities rather than good employees.