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Issues of concern to science and scientists are taken up for study and discussions at various fora of the Academy and recommendations are made. Two items currently under study are to improve the quality of Science education and teaching in the country, and access to scientific data of public interest. 

Science education

See Science Education Panel pages for full and current information.

In recent years the Academy has felt increasingly concerned with the state of university education in science in the country. It has been widely realized that without a proper base in education, it will be difficult to promote progress in science to attain excellence that is a major concern of the academy. Reflecting this concern the Council set up a science education panel, which prepared a report titled 'University education in science' (December 1994) to study the problem and to spell out the action that can be taken by the Academy and other agencies in the country.

In August 2006 the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the Indian Academy of Sciences jointly prepared and submitted recommendations to the country's Planning Commission for implementation in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. This document, titled 'Higher education in science and research & development: the challenges and the road ahead (PDF file, 160 kbytes), made proposals to improve higher education in science, give a fillip to R&D, and make India more competitive globally.

In October 2008 the Academy prepared a 'Position paper' titled 'Restructuring post-school science teaching programmes' (PDF file, 770 kbytes) on behalf of the three national science academies of India, explaining the limitations of the present system of post-school science education in India and proposing introduction of a four-year BS programme.

Activities:

1. Publication of Resonance

This monthly journal published since January 1996 carries articles in all areas of science. It is aimed generally at the undergraduate level, with some material accessible at the 12th standard level and some at the master's. Each issue highlights the life and work of a famous scientist with a specially executed cover portrait. Book review, Article-in-a-box, Classics, Reflection, Nature watch are some of the attractive features of every issue. Subscription prices are heavily subsidized and affordable for individuals and institutions alike. The editorial board has scientists from across the country.
Resonance website

2. Refresher courses

This is an all India programme to help teachers improve their background knowledge and teaching skills. The duration is two weeks and approximately 30 teachers undergo a rigorous course of lectures, discussions and problem-solving sessions. The Academy meets the train fare and full boarding and lodging expenses of all participants. A list of the refreshers courses so far held and planned appears elsewhere.
Refreshers Courses list ...

3. Lecture workshops

Academy arranges two or three-day lecture programmes on carefully chosen topics at selected college and university departments for local students and teachers. Speakers include Fellows and others from nearby institutions. Academy meets travel expenses of speakers, and host institution provides their hospitality and local expenses.
Lecture Workshops held list ...

4. Summer fellowships

Summer Fellowships are awarded to bright students and motivated teachers to work with Fellows of the Academy on research-oriented projects. Approximately 400 such fellowships to students and 100 fellowships to teachers are offered every year with travel and living expenses paid. Announcements inviting applications appear in Resonance and Current Science around November–December, and the selected applicants, notified by February–March, can avail the fellowships for two months during the summer. Since inception, about 1030 students and 270 teachers have availed these fellowships. From 2007, the two other national academies in the country — Indian National Science Academy (New Delhi) and National Academy of Sciences (Allahabad) — joined this programme.
2014 Summer Fellowship Programme (Apply online)

5. Project Lifescape

This project is part of the Academy initiative to enhance the quality of science education. It is pursued in collaboration with the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science to spread biodiversity literacy, expecially within the high school and college student community, and to involve them in collecting information at first hand on the status and ongoing changes in ecological habitats and a selected set of species of considerable human significance. It also aims to publish illustrated accounts of 1500 Indian species of micro-organisms, plants and animals. These accounts are meant to assist high school, college and postgraduate students and teachers of biology in reliably identifying these taxa. They would also include ancillary information on distribution, ecology and behaviour that would help design field exercises and projects focusing on first-hand observations of living organisms. The information thus generated could feed into a countrywide system of monitoring ongoing changes in India's lifescape to support efforts at conservation of biological diversity, as well as control of invasive, of weeds, pests, vectors and diseases. Hopefully, the accounts would also stimulate popular interest in the broader spectrum of India's biological wealth.

The project has thus far produced four books, Butterflies of Peninsular India, Freshwater Fishes of Peninsular India, Amphibians of Peninsular India, and Dragonflies and Damselflies of Peninsular India - A Field Guide(available in the form of three PDF files freely downloadable from this website).

The project is now focussing on generating CD-based and Web-based resource material, including interactive identification keys and a relational database management system that will organize validation, integration, analysis and sharing of data collected in a networked fashion. It aims to use these data to put together an all-India picture and make it available as a transparent, publicly accessible database through a website. Project Lifescape has also initiated work using some Indian languages.

6. Others

Chemistry resources on the Web, pages prepared by Dr Bidisa Das and Prof. K. L. Sebastian of Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Women in science

The Council of the Indian Academy of Sciences had in January 2003 constituted a committee on "women in science" to look into issues of women scientists. more...

Scientific data of public interest

There has been widespread concern that the enormous storehouse of scientific data is not being put to sufficient use both in scientific research as well as economic and industrial activity. The main reason appears to be problems in gaining access to these data. A panel was constituted with suitable terms of reference to study this question. Geographical data was first taken up to be followed up data on others by areas like meteorology, oceanography, and public health.

 


Report on university education in science

Women in science

Scientific data of public interest -- terms of reference of panel

     
   
     
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