We don't have proper faculty members who can encourage innovation rather than scoring more on test papers
The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 has posed a burden to the worldwide economy which has impacted several lives and especially the healthcare system. The current scenario has showcased the problem and challenges in our invention process. Desperate time demands desperate solutions and it is one of the strong drivers of innovation and creativity among organisations and individuals. Time is a luxury to innovate at the time of crises that we are facing now and it has shown that it is not necessary to always invest so much time for innovating new things, but creativity can never always depend on these kinds of situations. This situation shows that the people of India also possess great innovative and creative ideas.
Former President A.P.J Abdul Kalam once said "When children are encouraged to express themselves and take a risk in creating art they develop a sense of innovation that will help produce the kind of people that society needs to take it forward.”
Children in India formally get introduced to science and maths around the age of 6 or 7 and soon it becomes the benchmark to the IQ. Today Indian students are running in a rat race, where science is no more fun as it is more to do with test marks and scores in Olympiads. In high schools, the focus of students shift to learn outside the school classrooms and it is not labs or practical classes but the tuition centres where they spend most of their time.
We teach our children to embrace smart learning, to learn only what is important for the college entrance exam. On college campuses, students become part of a placement rat race where they want to grab a secure desk job and their future and innovation are shaped and limited by the excel sheet and PPTs. How will India innovate when we are not ready to take the risk? We want a safe and secure job and not want to get into research?
There is something wrong with the way we learn science in India; it is the same home for eminent physicists like Dr. C V Raman. India we studied about was a front runner in science and now it is lacking innovation. India has a new policy that aims at encouraging innovation. The Science Technology and Innovations Policy (STIP) 2020, Make in India, Atma Nirbhar Bharat but they all rely on innovation.
As India cherishes its glorious past, the country cannot forget the grim reality. A country with one of the largest generating countries of engineers and scientists, it is also a sad reality that we are lacking in the innovation index. China has clearly overtaken India in filing patents, Australia has just 2 per cent of the population of India but still, it files more patents than India. Even countries such as Brazil and South Africa are ahead of India in the Global Innovation Index (GII).
Today's India focuses more on rote learning than research because -
1. We don't have a conducive environment for innovation: - We are more focused on scoring more in our tests and Olympiads because that is what we have learned from a very young age. We are not ready to take any kind of risk and invest more time in innovation. We don't have proper and fully equipped labs where the students can learn from their trial and error method rather than just using the methods we know. We don't have proper faculty members who can encourage them for innovation rather than for scoring more in test papers for Olympiads.
2. We don't have enough researchers: - India is performing better in terms of publishing science and engineering journals but is lacking when it comes to innovation and filing of patents because we don't want to take any risk and everyone wants to have a secured desk job. We are lacking in innovation because we don't have enough researchers who want to do something new or are willing to take any kind of risk and explore different possibilities.
3. There aren't enough resources for research: - We don't have enough fully equipped labs or sometimes we lack not because we don't have talent but because we don't have resources to back that talent.
To overcome the innovation and creative crises, we need to focus more on teaching students not just to get a job but to increase their interest in creating and innovating.
The author is Executive Director, Sanskriti University
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