Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Wednesday August 30 2006 12:09 IST
BHUBANESWAR: The teachers and the student community have hailed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s announcement of establishing a National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) here.
‘‘It’s a long cherished dream fulfilled,’’ said a beaming Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University L N Mishra. ‘‘Orissa has struggled hard to get its due. Finally, students will get an opportunity to avail of cutting edge research facilities on the home turf,’’ Mishra added.
He hoped that the institute would spur increased research activities in the State and generate employment opportunities. ‘‘Besides, we expect good work on fundamentals in areas like Physics and Chemistry,’’ he said.
Expressing satisfaction over the announcement, IIT aspirant Jugal Bagga said students interested in basic research activities could bank on the institute.
NISER will impart five-year integrated M.Sc courses in core and emerging branches of science after Plus Two. Integrated M.Sc/PhD programmes after graduation will also be offered.
While announcing its establishment, the Prime Minister said emphasis would be laid on generating scientific manpower of high quality that could directly find placement in various R&D centres in the country as well as the industry.
The course curriculum will be at par with that adopted by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research but with emphasis on branches of science relevant for better utilisation of natural resources. The course will be designed especially keeping in mind the mineral reserves in the State and its marine resources.
Students will be given reasonable stipend and time for research activities. Campus interviews and placement, either in job securing centres like BARC, and IGCAR or PhD giving centres like TIFR and Indian Institute of Sciences is also in the offing.
The project will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, the existing infrastructure of Institute of Physics and an additional 30 acres of land in an adjoining location will be utilised to start courses in select subjects like Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Biology.
In the second phase, 200 acres of land will be acquired within the City limits and then the activities will be expanded to new domains commensurate with the socio-economic needs of the region.
Agamee Odisha thanks the PM
On the eve of Prime Minister's visit to Odisha and his plans to
announce the setting up of NIS/IISER in Bubaneswar, Agamee Odisha
welcomed Dr. Manmohan Singh with a sand art by none other than Mr.
Sudarshan Pattanaik, the renowned sand-artist. The event marked many
firsts - the Prime Minister's first time visit to Odisha, Mr
Sudarshan Pattanaik's first sand art in Bhubaneswar which is nearly
75 km. away from the sea beach, and last but the most important the
first victory for Agamee Odisha and the victory of a civil society
movement after a long time to see some impact in terms of
influencing the Central Govt. Agamee Odisha, a civil society
movement group, has been demanding since long to set up an NIS/IISER
in Orissa in accordance with an announcement by the Ministry of HRD
and the President of India in December, 2003. However, Government
of India has been silent on the issue since then and went ahead to
set up IISERS in Kolkata and Pune. This belied the hopes of many
Oriyas. Agamee Odisha took up the cause to fight for it by
organizing student rallies and intellectual rallies throughout
Orissa and in New Delhi. The recent news about the announcement of
setting up the institute in Orissa during the Prime Minister's visit
to the state has brought joys to the people of Orissa. To mark the
occasion, Agamee Odisha celebrated the day as a Victory Day through
a sand art of Dr. Singh by Mr. Sudarshan Pattanaik thanking him for
the decision and urging him to give the institute not less than an
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006 (Kolkata):
The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research or IISER at Kolkata is one of three government institutes being set up to give science education in the country a boost.
They are being called the IITs for science. The last time such a premier institute was set up was in 1909, IISc in Bangalore.
The IISER campus will be set up 60 km away at Kalyani by 2008.
On offer is a five-year masters degree, not just in physics, chemistry or biology but in integrated sciences.
"Today we are confronted with the absurd situation that a biology student cannot take mathematics, chemistry is partitioned into physical, organic and inorganic as if they are separate disciplines altogether. We need to integrate all this and break all barriers to knowledge," said Dutta Gupta, Director, IISER.
IISER's first batch consists of 40 students who topped the IIT entrance exam but chose to pursue pure science instead of engineering.
"Somehow, science has become a disenchanted subject. This is very bad. Just by technology we can't compete with the technology of tomorrow," said Bikash Sinha, Director, SNIP & VECC.
"We can create the technology of tomorrow only by science. IISER in that sense is a step forward to fill in that lacunae," Sinha added.
Besides Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh will also have IISERs, each with a budget of Rs 500 crore for the first five years. Rs 1500 crore is a lot of money but a small price to pay for a turnaround in the country's rather gloomy scientific temper.
A survey has found that only nine per cent of school students want to study science at college.
An official spokesman said Bhattal had visited Banglore on August 23 last. The objective was to study the basic structure and academic atmosphere of the first Science Institute of India so that the beginning of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research could be made on firm foundation of academic freedom and administrative autonomy. It is interesting to note that the Govt. of India has approved the setting up of fourth Science Institute in Mohali to promote learning and research in science and technology.
Professor P. Balaram, Director of the institute and Prof. N. Balakrishnan, Associate Director of the Institute and all faulty members, welcomed the Deputy Chief Minister and made a presentation about the history and working of the Institute. Originally set up by Jamshedji Tata in 1896, the Institute grew and developed in its distinct character over the years becoming a national institute for imparting education and research in science. Smt. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal felt proud and privileged having a close look of the Institute and congratulated the management and faculty members for pioneering work which resulted the economic development of the country. She further explained that the present 9% growth of economy had its foundation laid in the premises of such Institutes.
The proposed institute in Mohali shall be the fourth after Banglore, Kolkata and Pune. The Deputy Chief Minister further stated that the Institute shall have main academic programmes in major areas in Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Life Sciences and Computer Science. In addition to the above programmes the Institute would also admit post Doctoral fellows. When fully established, total strength of the Integrated M.Sc. programme in the Institute would be 1,000 and of the doctoral and post doctoral programme about 1,055. Ultimately the Institute will thus have a student strength of 2,055.
Deputy Chief Minister further stated that suitable site for the Institute has been selected in Mohali. The total requirement of land for this project is 200 acres and total project cost other than land is Rs. 500 crores. Keeping in view the significance of the project and eagerness of Punjab Government, the Prime Minister of India is likely to lay the foundation stone of the Institute on 27th of September, 2006.
Monday, August 28, 2006
PM Manmohan Singh announces the setting up of National Institute of Science Education and Research at Bhubaneswar
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, announced the setting up of National Institute of Science Education and Research at Bhubaneswar today.
Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s speech on the occasion:
“I am truly delighted to be here in Bhubaneshwar today at the Institute of Physics. I have great affection and regard for the people of Orissa whose contribution to the history, culture and economy of our nation are second to none. I am particularly delighted that my first visit to this State is associated with the announcement of the establishment of the National Institute of Science Education and Research. This is the fulfillment of a promise to the people of Orissa. Our Government is genuinely committed to the development of Orissa and to the educational empowerment of the people of Orissa. The National Institute of Science Education and Research will be a symbol of that commitment.
I share the concern being expressed by many of our scientists that our best minds are not turning to science, and those who do, do not remain in science. I am told that less than 3% of school children want to pursue a career in science. We must find ways of making these disciplines more attractive to children. We have to improve the quality of teaching of science and mathematics at the school level. Countries like China and South Korea are far ahead of us in investing in science and technology. We need to do much more in this vital area if we have to keep pace with the evolving global economy of the future.
We have to take urgent steps to prevent scientifically talented persons from moving away from careers in scientific research and development. This is happening at the 10+2 level and at the B.Tech. level. Most of our universities are performing sub-optimally. They lack good infrastructure and suffer from acute faculty shortage. There is not enough interaction between our academia and industry. Many technologies developed for our rural areas have not been delivered properly. We will need to address these on a war footing.
I am also concerned about the regional imbalance in science teaching and the development of science and technology in India. There was a time when the East was at the forefront. Today the East is lagging behind the South and the West. We need to redress this regional imbalance. It is to meet these challenges that we will be setting up the National Institute of Science Education and Research in Bhubaneswar.
As India moves up the technology ladder and improves its relative competitive status in the global domain, the need for capable innovative scientists will increase. Our higher education programs should empower young science students to engage not only in advanced research but also in domains which facilitate translation of research results into development of new technologies and their commercial deployment. This requires acquisition of necessary experimental skills and familiarity with the realities of practical world.
There is a strong synergy between research and higher education. Co-existence of both leads to higher excellence in both. It provides opportunities for students to be exposed to excitements in scientific research and benefit from teachers who are themselves engaged in expanding the horizons of knowledge. Such participation in teaching also benefits researchers by way of greater clarity of thought and availability of students to broaden support to research activity.
The National Institute of Science Education and Research will facilitate this synergy between research and higher education. The major strength of Institute of Physics is a strong emphasis on the quality of the faculty and its present pre-doctoral and doctoral programs are among the best in the country. The faculty is composed of all world-renowned scientists who are also established teachers. Association with the Institute of Physics will enable the National Institute of Science Education and Research to draw upon this outstanding tradition and expand it further to cater to a much larger pool of science students. NISER will be at par with the IISER being established in other places but will operate under the umbrella of DAE. It will undertake integrated 5-year Masters courses in core and emerging branches of science to provide world-class education to students after the 10+2 stage. It can also include an integrated M.Sc.–Ph.D. after graduation level.
The emphasis of education at NISER will be to generate scientific trained manpower of a very high quality which could directly find placement across the country. Greater emphasis will be on branches of science relevant to the Department of Atomic Energy and also catering to the better exploitation and utilization of Orissa’s regional natural resources. Orissa’s mineral and marine resources will be taken into consideration in designing training programs of students here.
While working within the DAE family and awarding degrees under the Homi Bhabha National Institute [HBNI], which is already a Deemed University for post-graduate studies, NISER will be an institute at par with the best in the country in terms of facilities and faculty. It will have a research to teaching load as practiced in the best universities in the world. This will ensure world class education and also attract the best researchers. It will have world-class experimental facilities in all the current and emerging branches of science including physics, chemistry, modern biology and environmental sciences. We will provide enough resources to DAE to convert this into reality within a very short time frame.
In order to attract bright young students to this integrated course, it is proposed to make the course challenging on a world-class level, give reasonable stipend to the students and also allow them time for research activities even during their student days. There will be campus interviews and placements at both research centers and in industry in order to make the course more attractive to the students in the present competitive environment of market forces which drives them to IT-related jobs.
I am told that this project will be quickly completed in two phases. In Phase-I, additional courses will be started immediately in 3 or 4 selected subjects like physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology with existing faculty and new faculty. In Phase-II, 200 acres of land will be acquired around Bhubaneswar and activities expanded on a larger scale. When completed, I am confident that the National Institute of Science Education and Research will become a Mecca for science just as TIFR and IISc are today.
With our recent unprecedented economic growth, I am optimistic that India will become a ‘developed country’ in the not too distant future. In this process, Science & Technology will continue to play a major role. Since independence, there has been a great deal of progress in our S&T system. This is evident from the success of the mission-oriented S&T agencies, like the family of DAE institutions, that have made our nation proud.
However, I am aware that we must increase our expenditure on Science & Technology. India’s expenditure on S&T is about 1% of our GDP. This is half of what developed countries are devoting to S & T. The Government is committed to increasing R&D funding. For the last few years, we have been allocating larger budgets for R&D. For example, last year, we increased it by 20%. We shall strive to reach the target of 2% in the 11th Plan. But I also expect the private sector to do more in this area. We also need more public- private partnership in R&D in all areas of S&T.
One way of making careers in science and technology attractive would be to improve remuneration and ensure the integrity of selection processes. It is well known that the initial starting salary for scientists with a PhD in India is often lower than those of Engineers, Doctors and Management graduates. It is obvious that if talented young people are to be retained in science, scientists have to be treated differently than other Government employees in service and salary matters.
The Government will be happy to provide career support for students talented in science for a reasonable period, including into their initial employment years, to attract such students to scientific research. There is also a need to develop a more productive interface between the National Laboratories and the University system. Proximate national laboratories could supplement the faculty both for undergraduate and post-graduate courses in universities and colleges. Private sector enterprises should also be able to create centres for their product innovation and development in proximate national laboratories and universities.
I would like to reaffirm our my commitment to the growth and modernization of Indian science and technology institutions. The establishment of the National Institute of Science Education and Research in Bhubaneswar is one more symbol of this commitment. I hope this institution will emerge as a center of creative teaching and research and contribute to our national development. Orissa has produced many great scientists of India such as Jogesh Chandra Pati. I hope this institution will produce many more in the years to come. I wish you all the best in all your endeavours.”