India Needs to Improve Research Standards and Innovation Abilities

In the earlier article ‘Nobel Prizes and Rupee Symbol for India and its Implications – 1,’ we discussed about how we are lagging behind in terms of Nobel prizes and how we are taking credit of Nobel prizes which were awarded to people who did their research in foreign countries. Now, let us see that why India needs to improve research standards and innovation abilities and why we need to focus on achievements of substance rather than priding ourselves on some superficial things such as a rupee symbol.

Inadequate commitment towards research
India produces about 4,00,000 engineering graduates and 3,00,000 computer science graduates every year, but just about 20,000 master’s degree holders and fewer than 1,000 Ph.Ds in engineering graduate each year. When compared to the number of engineering graduates each year, less than 1 percent are going for doctorate degrees. In 2007-08, there were about 156 researchers per 10 lakh population in India when compared 4,700 per 10 lakh in the United States.

According to a survey of 47 universities conducted by the University of Grants Commission in 2007-08, the vacancy levels in research in India were about 51 percent stating that many of India’s graduates are going for jobs affecting the number and quality of those available for research.

Concentrating only on grades rather than creativity
Many students concentrate only on grades rather than understanding and expanding their knowledge. Many of the institutions in India concentrate only on bookish knowledge – memorization and writing of standard responses to predictable questions, which is the main problem for the lack of application of knowledge in real life situations. Whereas, the institutions in developed countries concentrate mainly on application of knowledge which increases effectiveness of students in real life situations. India has been a developing country since 1947 and still it is considered as a developing country.

Our graduate friends are more interested in low skilled repetitive back office and programming jobs rather than doing something substantial for the advancement of human civilization. There are no augmentations in IT space for technology patents.

Priding ourselves for non-substantial achievements
Recently we have got our own currency symbol. India is the fifth in the world to have its own currency symbol. It’s cool to have our own rupee symbol, but is it what really makes our country great? We pride ourselves on these things which don’t take much effort to create. What we need are achievements of substance – not easy to arrange superficial things. Putting it in another way, it is relatively easy to create an attractive packing for a product. But what is difficult is creating a product that is useful, convenient, durable, cost-effective and superior.

For a country claiming to have the 4th largest technology workforce, this kind of performance in research is painful and unacceptable. While we endeavor to fix this, we need to understand that excellence is not easy to achieve. And that nobody gets inspired by modest achievements.

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