The recommendations are presented here in two groups: first those that involve national bodies, agencies, the educational system, research laboratories and industry; second, those that depend mainly on initiatives to be taken by the Academy. Some overlap with the views presented in Section 4 is retained to make the recommendations self-contained.
Functioning of Colleges and Universities, and role of national laboratories
The absolute minimum that students and society should demand from universities and colleges is that they run as announced in schedules, hold classes and examinations on time, and declare results on time. This can only be achieved by sustained pressure from students and the public, and removal of political influence on university functioning. Maintaining strict schedules will facilitate comprehensive and thorough coverage of material.
An important aspect is continuous teacher training and upgradation of knowledge through summer and refresher courses. Here the experience of the chain of Academic Staff Colleges has not been good. Attendance at these courses is used largely as a prerequisite for promotion, and only 15% to 20% of those who attend have serious interest in the subject. The selection of the participants is also generally not in the hands of the course organisers. Therefore, attendance at refresher courses and training programmes for teachers must be separated from promotions, and the organisers must be allowed to select participants as -well as examine them at the end of each course.
Some of the proposals described in Section 3 involve creation of new institutions or centres. The Council strongly feels that these should be within the overall university system, but should be administratively independent and autonomous .
In particular, we urge the adoption of a three-stream approach to undergraduate education in science, in the spirit of the framework proposed by the Working Group of the Planning Commission, as described earlier in Sections 3 (a) and 4. In the first two streams, leading to an improved B.Sc. degree and the B.Sc. (Hons) and integrated M.Sc. degree programmes, the involvement of at least a few university departments in undergraduate teaching, in addition to their regular postgraduate teaching and research work, is essential, and such universities should offer all four of the basic subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology at similar levels. The course options for students in the third or Applied Science stream need to be drastically redesigned, so that apart from a foundation in basic science a wide variety of options of a more vocational or practical nature are available; we are convinced that the traditional undergraduate course does not really address the needs of this group. Redesigning the undergraduate course on such lines will be a complex task, which could be the subject of future detailed discussions.
Along with the recommendation for the introduction of strong Integrated M.Sc. programmes in selected institutions, the Academy also urges the introduction of Integrated Ph.D. programmes in the four main science subjects. Such a scheme presently exists in Chemical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. Such programmes, the input to which would be gifted and motivated B.Sc. graduates, need to be very carefully structured and offered at a small number of select institutions capable of sustaining them.
In the Max Planck Institutes of Germany and CNRS in France, there is a tradition of scientists in national laboratories being given the opportunity to teach and interact with students at adjoining universities. In the process, such scientists are offered the academic title of Professor at the university. Such a relationship between universities and national laboratories makes eminent sense in our country today; already, as an example, one may mention courses taught jointly by scientists of the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, and faculty of Poona University. At a more individual level, one should encourage the notion of adjunct faculty, which would enable outstanding scientists outside the university system to participate in teaching in universities. One step in this direction might be to create a fund to support teaching and research ventures undertaken jointly by faculty in universities and scientists in national laboratories.
Role of Government Agencies and Industry
Looking at the present state of functioning of most of our universities, it is necessary for the UGC and Parliament to step in and make them more than mere examining bodies; instead they must be enabled to become centres of learning and excellence. To achieve this objective, funding provided to colleges and universities must improve, and at least at a few places quality science education centres must be started. One way to do so would be to implement the recommendations made by the Planning Commission Working Group, sketched in Section 3 (a). In addition, a system of accreditation of university science departments should be introduced; this should be carried out by a central and autonomous body not susceptible to local political pressures.
The efforts of DBT in the life sciences and NBHM in mathematics have been mentioned earlier. Other major agencies such as DAE, DOE, ISRO and DST must be persuaded to support selected, good M.Sc. programmes in physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. The intention must be to support education in the basic sciences, not immediately linked to the needs of these agencies - such seemingly altruistic support will surely help them in the long run. The institutions to be chosen for such agency support could be picked, on the basis of faculty and syllabi, by the Academy or any other body of standing. The agencies should provide scholarships, support setting up of laboratories, donate equipment, and do all this without insisting on too early specialisation.
Industry too - the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the Federation of, Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce (ASSOCHAM) for example - should come forward with scholarships for P.G. students and support to laboratories. As is the practice in Germany, for instance, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries should be persuaded to give essential solvents and basic chemicals to U.G. and P.G. institutions for their chemistry programmes. In the same spirit, the Indian Chemical Manufacturers Association (ICMA) could be induced to provide help in improving education in chemical sciences. Groups of companies with common interests could also be targetted. Other sources, for example international bodies like UNESCO, could also be asked for similar support in all areas of science.
Wide publicity should be given to educational opportunities in the sciences, as well as to career opportunities in industry and elsewhere for science graduates. This could be done through the proposed new science magazine recommended below (in B (vi)).
Efforts by the Academy through the Fellowship
Interaction with student and teacher communities
The above initiatives demand linkages with reputed publishers and additional financial resources, which will be sought by the Academy from Government and private sources.
Link with teaching departments and institutions
Council recommends to University science departments and national laboratories that they produce brochures containing helpful information about their activities for the guidance of students. This is common practice in developed countries, but in contrast such information is rather difficult to obtain for a student interested in working in Indian institutions. The Academy could evolve a suitable format for such brochures, and assist when necessary in disseminating the information available in them.
Contacts with national bodies, agencies, etc.