Showing concerns over the decreasing number of students taking research as career, vice-chancellor of Bangalore University (BU), N Prabhu Dev said that colleges today are no longer interested in offering pure science courses since there is little demand among the students.
“We have to create an atmosphere where students want to take up research and want to pursue subjects such as biotechnology, cytogenetic rather than just opt for professional courses. The problem we have is that IT courses guarantee jobs, Bachelors in Business Management guarantees jobs, but that is simply not the case with pure science,” he said.
The V-C was addressing the 11th All Indian Conference on Cytology and Genetics organised by the department of molecular biology at BU and the Society of Cytologists and Geneticists.
He also said that in the previous academic year, nearly 800 biotechnology seats in various colleges affiliated to the varsity went vacant and that many colleges wanted permission to downsize their departments.
“There needs to be a policy put in place by bodies such as National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) wherein colleges just can’t decide to close a department because they don’t think there is any demand. At the other end of the spectrum, there is always demand to increase the size of a course that sees an upsurge. A government policy should be passed to address both these issues,” he said.
Prabhu Dev also spoke about the importance of creating a research-centric environment in educational institutions. “BU has recently passed a bill that will endow students in undergraduate courses Rs10,000 for presenting papers in pure science subjects. The overall budget for this is Rs1 crore. The point is to inculcate the importance of research from early on,” he said.
Universities ought to be equipped with dealing with advanced research and there are very few institutions in the country which can set up advance research departments. While BU has the basic infrastructure necessary to set up departments such as molecular biology, there needs to be more, he added.
Genetics has so much to offer, If you want to study information technology, then you would better take a look at what genetics has to offer, said Prof S Mahadevan, Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
“Studying genetics is like a more sophisticated version of studying information technology. You get to see how the living system operates. Parents should not discourage their children from pursuing pure sciences because there are plenty of opportunities here,” he said. (DNA)