Read this essay to learn about the science and technical education. After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Growth of Science and Technical Education in India 2. Role of Science and Technical Education in National Development & Economic Growth 3. Recent Trends in Science and Technology Education in India.

Essay Contents:

  1. Essay on the Growth of Science and Technical Education in India
  2. Essay on the Role of Science and Technical Education in National Development & Economic Growth
  3. Essay on the Recent Trends in Science and Technology Education in India

1. Essay on the Growth of Science and Technical Education in India:

The role of science and technical education in the life of a nation is im­mense. We live in the age of science and technology. Science to-day is the concern of everybody. Even is ancient India the art of warfare was scientific and technically biased. The people of Mohenjo-Daro showed advanced knowledge in town planning, civil engineering and architecture.

But this high standard of scientific and technical efficiency in India gradually de­cayed due to several reasons.

First, it was hereditary in nature. Our conser­vative character and outlook also gave a death blow to scientific and tech­nical education. We attached importance to bookish, narrow, theoretical and impractical knowledge. Education of the brain was considered vital, and education of the hand was neglected. Scientific and technical education was originally neglected.

The state never paid serious attention to science and technological advancement except in recent years. The colonial, imperi­alist Government did not attach much importance to science and technical education. It did not want economic progress and industrialization in India. The East India Company wanted to produce clerks and administrators to run its administration in India.

The Christian missionaries established some vo­cational schools for the converted natives. The despatch of 1854 emphasized technical and vocational education. But it was not implemented in practice. It remained a pious wish. The Hunter Commission of 1882 criticized the aca­demic and theoretical character of Indian education and strongly pleaded for the introduction of technical education even at the secondary stage.

It recommended bifurcation of the curriculum into general or academic and technical or practical courses. The former was the ‘A’ course leading to high­er education and the latter was the ‘B’ course leading to useful vocation in life. But these recommendations only remained in paper. These were not im­plemented in right earnest. If this was done the character of Indian educa­tion might have been different.

Lord Curzon sincerely felt the need of introduction and improvement of technical, vocational and agricultural education in India for the economic advancement of the Indian society which was traditionally agricultural and backward. In 1904 -n organization known as the “Association for the Ad­vancement of Scientific and Industrial Education” was established.

The “As­sociation for the cultivation of science” was also set up in Bengal by Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar in 1876. During the British rule, however, no comprehensive system of technical education was developed as an integral part of the national system of education. During the last decade of the 19th century, there was an insistent demand for technical and scientific education in the country.

The Indian National Congress stressed the need for the pro­motion of technical education in India. The National Education Movement under the banner of the National Congress greatly emphasized the need of the promotion of science and technical education for material progress of the Indian people.

In Bengal, the National Council of Education established “the College of Engineering and Technology” at Jadavpur in 1906. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore was established in 1911. Since its inception it is providing remarkable services in the advancement of higher type of science and technical education in the country.

In the absence of suitable technical and vocational education the number of educated unemployed increased. The Govt. could not remain passive. The Wood-Abbot Committee appointed by the C.A.B.E. in 1937 greatly emphasized technical and vocational education and recommended plan for the pur­pose. By this time prejudices against technical education were reduced to a great extent.

The second world war produced also a number of salutary ef­fects on the promotion of scientific and technical education. The Sargent Committee in 1944 strongly advocated for the expansion of technical and vo­cational education in India. In 1947 when India became free, there were in the country 38 institutions with a total admission capacity of 2,940 students per year for the degree course.

There were also 53 polytechnics with a total admission capacity of 3,670 students per year for the diploma courses. In No­vember 1945 the All India Council for Technical Education came into being. It is the most important body advising the Central and State Govt. on mat­ters relating to the organization and development of technical education in the country above the high school stage. On its recommendations every state has now set up a separate Directorate of Technical education and a State Board of Technical Education.

The University Education Commission of 1948-49 also laid great em­phasis on the promotion of scientific and technological education. The Sec­ondary Education Commission of 1952-53 also emphasised the need for the organization and promotion of science and technical education at the secon­dary stage. It recommended the establishment of Higher Secondary multi­purpose schools with seven streams.

Though education is a state subject the Central Govt. has a role to play in the organization and promotion of science and technical education in the country.

In 1958 national policy on science education was declared:

i) To foster, promote and sustain, by all appropriate means, the cultiva­tion of science and scientific research in all its aspects — pure, applied and educational;

ii) To ensure an adequate supply, within the country, of research scien­tists of the highest quality, and to recognise their work as an important com­ponent of the strength of the nation;

iii) To encourage, and initiate, with all possible speed, programmes for the training of scientific and technical personnel, on a scale adequate to ful­fill the country’s needs in science and education, agriculture and industry, and defence;

iv) To ensure that the creative talent of men and women is encouraged and finds full scope in scientific activity;

v) To encourage individual initiative for the acquisition and dissemina­tion of knowledge, and the discovery of new knowledge, in an atmosphere of academic freedom, and in general.

vi) To ensure for the people of the country all the benefits that can ac­crue from the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge.

The Education Commission (1964-66) gave due importance to science and technical education. It recommended vocationalisation of higher secondary education (50% general – 50% vocational of the total enrolment).

It also gave emphasis on the reorganization of the I.T.I, and expansion of facilities in Ills. It pleaded for new orientation to science education through more em­phasis on workshop practice, curriculum reforms and improvement of teach­ing standard.

A new image of technical and science education has to be creat­ed. New ideas and concepts have to be experimented. With the advancement of science and technology the traditional courses of study is losing ground Even newly discovered knowledge becomes obsolete before its publication or implementation. Volume of knowledge in science and technology is increasing at a tremendous speed.

It is urgent that India should cope with this onward march of science and technology for her national safety and to meet interna­tional challenge. Since independence our national Govt. has attached su­preme priority on the advancement of scientific and technical education.

This is highly desirable. Even science education is needed to change our tra­ditional out-look and old way of thinking. Scientific way of thinking is our immediate need. From this standpoint science and technical education is to be imparted.

Technical education in India is now provided in a four-tiered system:

(a) Post-graduate courses and research,

(b) Degree courses

(c) Di­ploma courses and

(d) Vocational or industrial training (certificate course).

The Central Govt. is now giving educational leadership in the country and paying proper attention to the subject of science and technical education A large number of specialized agencies have been created to organize and pro­mote scientific and technical education in the country. The Council of Scien­tific and Industrial Research was established in 1942.

The other agencies include Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Medical Research Council Defense Research Council, Scientific Advisory Committee to the cabinet’ Department of Science and Technology, National Planning Committee on science and technology, Regional Institutes of Technology, 35 National la­boratories etc. The existence of a nation to-day depends to a large extent on the quality and quantity of scientific and technological education.

2. Essay on the Role of Science and Technical Education in National Development and Economic Growth:

The role of science and technical education in the life of a nation is vi­tal. In the present world no nation can exist without it. It is the life blood of a nation. It is the key to national prosperity and glory. In the atmosphere of highly explosive international situation and tension every nation is con­cerned with its safety and security.

But national security to a large extent depends on national economy. Without economic progress national develop­ment in different directions is almost impossible. There is positive correla­tion between economic prosperity and advancement of science and technical education.

“The progress, welfare and security of the nation depend critically on a rapid, planned and sustained growth in the quality and extent of education in science and technology. Science has radically transformed man’s material environment. Science is universal and so “can” be its benefits. Its material benefits are immense and far reaching-modernization of agriculture and re­lease of nuclear energy.

But even more profound is its contribution to culture. Science is liberating and enriching of the mind and enlarging the human spirit. Every advance in science deepens our understanding of Nature. It also heightens the sense of ignorance. Nature is an endless source of knowledge.

India is a poor country. Poverty is the main obstacle in the way of her national progress. Per capita national income is far below the optimum lev­el. More than 40% people live below the poverty line, who cannot even pro­cure two full meals a day. We are not in dearth of man power. But skilled and scientific man power is limited. We have limited resources also.

These limited resources have to be utilized to the maximum with the application of modern science and technology for the benefit of the maximum number. Application of modern science and technology is highly needed to augment agricultural and industrial production.

We have achieved green revolution because of industrialization or modernization of agriculture with the appli­cation of latest scientific and technological innovations.

But still we are lagging far behind other advanced countries of the world in this respect. Indus­trial revolution is also highly needed in our country. Without industrial development no nation can prosper. All the economically advanced countries of the world are industrially developed.

Industrial development is inevita­ble to augment production and thereby to increase national income (G.N.P.) and per capita national income which is the index of national prosperity. We have enough potentialities in this regard. We have both human resourc­es as well as limited natural resources.

These resources should be taped to the maximum. Proper utilization of the vast natural and material resources requires rapid industrialization. This is possible only with the application of modern science and technology to the process of production. Thus increase of productivity in the fields and factories is needed to augment national in­come and thereby to raise the standard of living of the people.

Material con­ditions of life can only be changed through the application of science and technology to the processes of industrial and agricultural production.

Our nation is now facing numerous challenges — both external and inter­nal. Of these poverty is the most pressing one. India must be made militarily strong and economically prosperous. Self-sufficiency in food is our another goal to achieve. Vast majority of the people are illiterate. No nation can prosper when the masses are illiterate. A Large number of able bodied persons between the age-group 1545 are unemployed.

This is another great hurdle to cross. “Politically the land is free, but economically she has a long way to go. The elimination of ignorance and of grinding poverty accumulated over centuries of inertia and exploitation is not easy. India has half of the total illiterate population of the world”.

About 40 crores of her people, about half of the total population lives below the poverty line. The problems are grave, immense and alarming. We can successfully meet these challenges only through the application of modern science and technology in every field of national development.

One fundamental fact has to be noticed with regard to scientific and technological knowledge. There is rapid growth in the volume of knowledge of science and technology. Science represents a cumulative and cooperative activity of mankind and its rate of growth is extremely rapid.

We must cope with this ever increasing growth of scientific and technological knowledge. So rapid is the growth of science that a scientific paper is often out of date by the time it is in print; a book is out of date before a student has completed the course. Again it is characteristic of expanding science and technology that the time gap between basic discovery and its application is continually diminishing.

It is a matter of regret that India is lagging behind the ad­vanced countries of the world by at least 50 years in the application of mo­dern scientific and technological innovations.

Science and technology has also a great role in man power planning and population control. The increasing rate of population is a constant menace to our economic plan for development. No economic plan, however good in objec­tive, can properly be implanted unless population is kept at optimum level.

Education in science and technology is essential to supply more skilled and semi-skilled man power that would surely help to increase national produc­tivity.

Science and technology education are crucial to the entire development process of the country. “Science has developed at an ever-increasing rate since the beginning of the century and this has widened the gap more and more between the advanced and backward countries. It is only be adopting the most vigorous measures and by putting forward our utmost effort into the development of science that we can bridge the gap. India with its long tradi­tion of scholarship and original thinking and its great cultural heritage has an obligation to participate fully in the march of science, which is probably mankind’s greatest enterprise to-day” (Jawaharlal Nehru).

The develop­ment of science and technology is the only way by which India can live gracefully and efficiently in the comity of nations to-day.

We need science-based technology for rapid modernization of our entire society. We need “Modernization” of agriculture and industry. Science and technology based education helps modernization of agriculture and rapid de­velopment of industry. There has been a great explosion of knowledge during the last few decades.

In a traditional society, the stock of knowledge is lim­ited but in a modern society, the stock of knowledge is far greater. One of the main tasks of education in a modern society is to keep pace with this ad­vance in knowledge. In a modern society social change takes place quickly and rapidly, while it is slow in a traditional society.

The development of science and technology is a must in India because we want social change as quickly and rapidly as possible. The most powerful tool in the process of modernization is the education based on science and technology. Only this education can meet the new challenges of national reconstruction and secure a rightful place in the comity of nations.

But modernization does not mean refusal of our national cultural and spiritual values. The Indian society of to-day is heir to a great culture. We have our rich cultural heritage. India can feel proud of her high spirituali­ty Western world stands for material progress, while the East stands for the spiritual progress.

The greatest contribution of the west is undoubtedly the scientific revolution. But contribution of the East to the mankind is no less re­markable. It is the spiritual revolution. “If science is to be pursued with full vigour and zest and is to become a mightily force in the Indian economic and cultural renaissance, it must derive its nourishment from our cultural and spiritual heritage and not bypass it. Science must become an integral part of our educational and cultural fabric. Science education must reflect Indian ethos and value judgments. Knowledge and wisdom, power and compassion, are out of balance. Man’s knowledge and mastery of outer space and of his own self are out of balance. It is this imbalance which mankind must seek to re­dress” (Education Commission).

The only way out is the combination of these two forces-the outer self (knowledge) and the inner self (wisdom). By combin­ing the progress of science and technology with the progress of mind and spir­it we can achieve the desired goal, i.e. the welcome of mankind as a whole. Knowledge of science and technology should be applied in the welfare of hu­manity Science aims at enrichment of humanity and not its extinction.

Mate­rial progress must be accompanied with spiritual progress. Progress of science and technology should be combined with the progress of the mind and spirit. Only creative synthesis of western science and eastern spirituality can save humanity at large from total destruction.

So new education in Modern India must meet the challenge of modern science and technology and inculcate deep faith in long-cherished spiritual values.

Harmonious blending of these two opposites is essential for self-preservation. We want science and technology not for their own sake but for the welfare of humanity. This can only be achieved when man is not the slave of science but its master.

3. Essay on the Recent Trends in Science and Technology Education in India:

In recent years science and technology has gained remarkable populari­ty because of their multi channel avenues of employment. They have also opened new horizon for social and economic status and security. These branches of knowledge also have added a new dimension to education and to its role in the life of a nation. But to crown all this is the quality of educa­tion in science and technology.

If science is taught poorly and badly learnt, it will bring no good either to the individual or to the nation. It will only burden the mind with dead information. Education in science and technology should be up-to-date as well as up to the mark. The most urgent need is the improvement in the standard and quality of science and technology educa­tion at all levels in the country.

Strengthening of Science education and re­search in universities and other institutes of technology must be treated as a fundamental national goal. “To achieve quality in science education and re­search demands serious and sustained effort, full and vigorous Govt. and pub­lic support, a rebut-less pursuit of excellence, and above all it needs determi­nation, hard work and dedication” .

“Science covers the entire spectrum of scientific knowledge, pure and ap­plied. Science education and research should include both “pure research” and “applied research”. The shape, quality and volume of future science in the coming decades will be determined essentially by the work of the coun­tries which are in the forefront of science to-day. It implies that ‘Courses’ in science and technology in universities and technological institutes, and re­search activities will be largely fashioned and determined by developments in other advanced countries of the world. Above all it means that no effort should be spared to identify the truly gifted individuals and to give them every possible opportunity and encouragement for the unfolding of their in­nate abilities and creative potential”.

Con­centrated and sustained work by the able and gifted men should be encour­aged. It will generate scientific work of high quality. Special attention should be given to gifted students.

Teaching and research are mutually supporting activities. There is no real border line between them. They merge into each. High quality of teach­ing in science is possible only in a research environment. Research is essential for its sustenance. Basic research should be conducted largely within univer­sities and technological institutes of national importance.

To train research workers should be their major responsibility. What is needed most to bring about a radical improvement in the present situation is a rigorously selective approach, a concentration of effort. When resources are scarce and problems are formidable, the principle of concentration and selectivity becomes all the more imperative. But it has to be applied not mechanically but wisely.

At the present level of our national economy the education of a vast ma­jority of scientists and engineers cannot be at the level reached by the high­ly industrialized countries. But the standard of attainment of future leaders in these fields must bear international comparisons.

At least we must aim to provide the best education according to international standard. To achieve this aim we must select the most able students for such courses and build a small number of centres of excellence or advanced study and research.

These centres will determine the general tone of scientific and technological work in the country. The existing centres should also be developed. These centres should serve as a major source of supply of teachers and researchers.

To raise the standard in science and technology education and to in­crease efficiency in these fields effective co-operation between the institution of higher education, the universities and national laboratories scien­tific Govt. departments, and industry should be vigorously promoted and strengthened (Joint research project, training of post-graduate and research students and exchange of staff etc.).

Vigorous and continued effort should be made to forge strong links be­tween science, technology and production. A high level of science education and research and a strong industrial and agricultural base go together.

There is a close inter-connection between national productivity and in­vestment on education and research in science and technology. The relation­ship is essentially an expression of the fact that the modern world is science and technology based.

The relationship implies that science education and research of the right type will lead to a rise in productivity. The increase productivity in its turn would provide more resources for science and research

“It is unfortunate that India is almost at the bottom end of the ladder of GNP per capita, as also of the ladder of per capita expenditure on education and research. The Indian expenditure on education from primary to higher, research and development is about Rs. 15/- per capita. It is about 2½ per­cent of the GNP. The corresponding figure for USA is Rs. 2,000 (10 percent of the GNP). The big gap of to-day would become far bigger in the coming dec­ade. The consequences will be also far-reaching. In the utilization of our scientific manpower, we must strive out utmost to achieve efficiency higher even than that of the industrially developed countries. This cannot be evaded – it is inherent in the very nature of things. There is no place of complacency, but equally none for losing heart. The one thing that is su­premely necessary in an age of rapid change and radical innovation is that we determine our priorities and programmes in education and research on the basis of hard ‘indigenous’ thinking, needs and aspirations, and not follow the fashion set by other countries advanced or not”. 

The amount of investment in science and technology education and re­search should be increased. Such investment will no doubt be lucrative be­cause it will return back in the short run. Investment for science education and research means more production and economic growth and increase of per capita national income.

Such investment in the form of educational fi­nance is highly needed and desirable. More investment will augment nation­al productivity and per capita national income.

An important trend in science education is that science is becoming in­creasingly complex and abstract. Hence emphasis should be laid front the earliest stage of science education on the proper understanding of the basic principles and the process of scientific abstraction and creative thinking.

Pupils should realize that science is open-ended and man’s greatest intellectu­al al enterprise today. They should also realize that this enterprise is rooted in man’s highest aspirations, and it stresses cooperation above competition.

Another important trend in recent years is the expansion of enrolments in the fields of science and technology education. Since independence the number of young people graduating in science and technology in India has been increasing rapidly. It represents a growing awareness and desire for ed­ucation in science and science based courses. This is a welcome trend.

It is stimulated by the larger possibilities of profitable employment open to graduates in science and technology. This increasing rate of enrolments in science, technology and mathematics should be expanded several-fold in the coming decades to meet the demands of rapidly expanding secondary and higher education and of research and industry.

The rate of increase will be not less than 10 per cent annually. To achieve such a large scale expansion without lowering (diluting) standards in the process is an extremely difficult task. It will require bold action and careful planning. It will need a massive financial support for the construction and equipping of new laboratories and the recruitment of new teachers every year.

With regard to expansion of science education one important trend should be noticed. It is the wide variation or regional imbalance as regards the facilities amongst the different states or regions in the country. This is surely an unhealthy development in body politic as well as in the economic reconstruction programmes of the country.

This imbalance in science educa­tion and in technology is a matter of serious concern. It has direct effect on the pace of industrial development. Deliberate efforts should be made to raise the enrolments in science and technology in states in which it is at present substantially below the all India average.

There is an urgent need of modernization of the curricula in science and technology at all levels of education.

Extreme importance should be stressed on field work and environmental Studies in biological and earth sciences. Science education at all levels should be strongly reinforced through the study of applications to local en­vironment.

Industrial and agricultural applications of science subjects should be clearly brought out and illustrated in terms of local industries. Adequate time should be devoted to field training. It should be continuous over a per­iod of at least two months in a year. Special attention should be given to the development of mathematical studies and research.

Another important development in respect of science and technology ed­ucation is that more emphasis is given on theoretical aspects rather than practical aspects. This is an undesirable trend. A proper balance between ex­perimental (practical) and theoretical aspects should be maintained. Sub­jects like experimental physics and chemistry should be developed.

There should be well-equipped workshops in every College and Univer­sity department of science. Students should be encouraged to learn the use of workshop tools and get acquainted with some of the essential laboratory techniques and practices. Improvement should be made of laboratories and libraries both in respect of quantity and quality.

The workshops should work far more intensively than before. It would be desirable to permit their use by industrial workers enrolled for evening and correspondence courses. Special attention needs to be paid to improve the quality of practical work and to integrate it with the learning of theory. Students in all science sub­jects should have some knowledge of basic statistical concepts and statisti­cal design of experiments.

There is an urgent need to introduce an element of flexibility and innova­tions in the organization of courses in science and technology, for instance, combination courses in mathematics and physics, chemistry and geology, life sciences and physics, mathematics and economics, would be of great value and interest. Such courses should be organized by the departments concerned.

Apart from the regular two-year M.Sc. courses there is need to introduce one-year courses in selected science and technology departments of universi­ties.

Part-time education in science subjects for industrial workers may be pro­vided either through the morning or evening classes.

Correspondence and sandwich courses may also be introduced to train certain categories of technicians. This will help to supply skilled labourers and trained craftsmen in greater number and increase productivity.

For the improvement of science education Summer Science Institutes may be organized in greater number under the suspires of the U.G.C. and the NCERT. A striking feature of the summer institutions is that it brings to­gether in active participation of school, college and university teachers. The programme of summer institutes is a major national effort towards the improvement of science education in schools and colleges.

It is unfortunate that most of the quality books in science and technology are largely imported. A large scale import of text books in science and tech­nology is not only expensive, but it is bad for our intellectual morale. At­tempts should be taken for the production of quality books on a national ba­sis for under-graduate and post-graduate students. The IAU (Indian Association of Universities), the UGC, NCERT should take a lead in this matter.

Translation of scientific and technical terminology in the Indian lan­guages is essential for the writing of science material and text books in these languages.

Scientific research constitutes a fundamental activity of a nation in the modern world. It is vital to its progress, intellectual, moral and material well-being. There is close interaction between expenditure on research and development. Any investment on research on science and technology means investment for national growth and development.

Research, pure and ap­plied, means creation of new knowledge and truth. Research gives new di­mension to the existing and back-dated knowledge. In a modern society the new knowledge takes the place of the old one which is of no value. Research in science and technology is almost a necessary precondition for all kinds of human behaviour in the age of science. Expenditure on research should be increased.

The Government should institute a limited number of research fellow­ships to be awarded every year for study and research abroad. These fellow­ships should be awarded to persons of outstanding ability, selected on an all-India basis and in subjects related to our national needs.

Facilities for education in the industrial training institutes and poly­technics should be expanded rapidly. Apart from full-time courses, part- time courses should be introduced. Agricultural and engineering polytechnics should organize short condensed courses.

Training in ITIs and technical schools must be production-oriented. Stress should be given on practical training in cooperation with industries. Correspondence and Sandwich cours­es should be introduced in polytechnics and Institutes of Technology. Brain-drain should be stopped at any cost. Adequate employment op­portunities should be provided to the young and talented scientists.

Science policy and decisions now play a vital role in the national econo­my and defense. A fundamental concern of science policy is the relative allo­cation of priorities with reference to different sectors of scientific effort. The present Scientific Advisory Committee to the cabinet is not effectively per­forming in this work. An effective body to advise Govt. on science policy should be constituted.

In the scientific life of a country a national organization or academy of sciences occupies an important place. Its role is vital or crucial for the growth of science education, research and scientific activities. A National Academy of Science has been established with this object in view.

Its major role in raising the quality of research and of national publications and jour­nals in science and technology is undeniable. It can also promote internation­al relations in science in an effective manner.

National Education Policy, 1986, attaches highest priority to teaching of modern and latest science and sophisticated technology at all levels of education to pilot the nation into 21st century. Science and technology should be utilized in the welfare of humanity at large and not for its destruction.