Scientific research in Indian universities is declining, because a career in science is not as attractive as our business operations, engineering or administration, and the universities are becoming consumer oriented. Critically comment.

Published: October 2, 2016

With newspapers splashing the highest pay offered to an IIT or IIM graduate in the latest round of placements, people are increasingly placing great emphasis on pay scales. Students look for positions that either guarantees prestige or influence or huge monetary recompense. In Indian society, all of the afore-mentioned business operations, engineering and administration all guarantee one of the three. We as a society do not look upon research positions as being particularly desirable. While India produces more engineers than there is a demand for, there are very few people who pursue a study of the pure sciences. Research positions are underpaid with little scope for growth, so it is an unattractive option for students.
Universities have limited funding options, which at times forces them to function more like business ventures than centres of education. Universities abroad collaborate extensively with corporate organisations which allow them to receive large amounts of funding for conducting research. Lack of such collaboration between industry and educational institutions in India has severely inhibited research and development in universities. With fees being the major source of funding for universities, the focus moves to courses popular with the students like engineering and business degrees instead, by offering which the universities can attract more students. In this scenario, the students become the ‘consumer’, and the university becomes the ‘corporation’ fulfilling the demand for certain courses. If more students opted for science courses, universities will begin to offer more of those. Thus, it is the combination of all these factors that has resulted in the neglect of science by universities.

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