Wednesday, 5 March 2014

B.Ed. Notes - Landmarks in the History of Education with respect to science


Prepared by: 
Lecturer in Physical science Education 
Arafa Institute for teacher Education 
Attur, Thrissur.

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India has great tradition in the field of education of pure and applied sciences. Science has been a subject of study in India from the ancient period itself. Unfortunately, most of the knowledge was lost during the medieval period. Science Education in India has been greatly accelerated after independence.
Science and science education during the British rule
            The only aim of education including that of science education was to turn out men competent to serve the civilian administration. There was less facilities for Science education and research. Even those few individuals educated in science lacked opportunities for either gainful employment or for scientific research. They could only procure clerical or teaching jobs.
            It was only in 1857 that the universities of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, modelled after the London University, were established. Some foundations for basic sciences were expanded and academic science in the universities received an attention.
            It must be stressed that even under such adverse conditions, globally competitive scientific research was carried out by a few scientists like, C.V. Raman, M.N. Saha, S.N. Bose, D.N. Wadia, P.C. Mahalanobis, S. R. Kashyap, Birbal Sahni, S.Ramanujan, S. Chandrashekhar. Many of these were trained in India and carried out their research in Indian universities.
Science and science education in post-independence period
            After independence we realized the crucial importance of science for economic growth and social transformation. In the context of establishing modern science and technology as a live and vital force, the importance of science education cannot be forgotted. Indeed, science education plays a crucial and pivotal role in the fields of scientific research and technological innovations.
Addressing the then National Institute of Sciences (now INSA), Nehru stated, “Who indeed can afford to ignore science today? At every turn, we have to seek it’s aid and the whole fabric of the world is of its making.”
Raman, one of India’s most eminent scientists said, “There is only one solution for India’s economic problems and that is science, more science and still more science.”
The important landmarks in the development of Science education  in India are the following
Ø  In 1953 the Secondary education commission recommended the teaching of general Science as a compulsory subject in high schools and higher secondary schools.
Ø  All India Seminar on teaching of science held in 1956 made serious discussions on almost all the aspects concerning the teaching of Science in schools.
Ø  Indian parliament has adopted major policy statements relating to higher education and Science & Technology development. These developments have been largely guided by the Scientific Policy Resolution of 1958. It is one of the most comprehensive science policy documents ever approved. It envisaged the cultivation of science and scientific research in all its aspects. It has helped the nation to build up an Science & Technology base.
Ø  The constitutional amendment of 1976 places education including science and technology education in the concurrent list which implies the joint responsibility of the central and the state governments.
Ø  The Government of India has established Ministry of Human Resource Development to function as an administrative ministry.
Ø  By establishing the University Grants Commission and All India Council for Technical Education, the government tried to improve the functioning of higher education in science and technology respectively.
Ø  The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is a statutory organisation set up by the Union government in 1956, charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education. It provides recognition to universities in India, and disburses funds to such recognized universities and colleges.
Ø  UGC’s Efforts in Promoting Excellence: In recent years the UGC has launched a large number of programmes aimed at promoting excellence. These include:
Ø  autonomous colleges
Ø  faculty improvement programmes
Ø  Academic staff colleges.
Ø  centres for advanced studies
Ø  curriculum development councils
Ø  career development programmes
Ø  support for strengthening infrastructure in S&T and removal of obsolescence in the universities
Ø  Identification of universities with a potential and supporting them to become comparable with the best anywhere.
Ø  Inter-University Centres: One of the most innovative steps taken by the UGC for promoting excellence was the setting up of Inter-University Centres equipped with most modern experimental facilities or providing access to national facilities such as accelerators, nuclear reactors, etc to students and teachers from various universities. Nuclear Science Centre at Delhi, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Pune and Inter-University Consortium for the Department of Atomic Energy Facilities with headquarters at Indore have already been set up and have been extremely useful.
Ø The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is the statutory body and a national-level council for technical education, under Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. Established in November 1945 first as an advisory body and later on in 1987 given statutory status by an Act of Parliament, AICTE is responsible for proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education and management education system in India. The AICTE accredits postgraduate and graduate programs under specific categories at Indian institutions as per its charter.
Ø  Indian parliamentary and scientific committee was set up in 1961 under the chairmanship of Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri. The committee took up the study of science education in schools.
Ø  National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) established in 1961 has a separate department of science education and is giving much importance to science education. It has set up a National Centre for Computer-based Education to promote training and development of teachers and teacher-educators. The centre will eventually sustain development of school teachers with a culture of resistance to change and provide schools with IT based inexpensive learning materials in support of the curriculum.
Ø  The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are a group of autonomous public engineering and management institutes of India. The IITs are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 which has declared them as "institutions of national importance", and lays down their powers, duties, framework for governance etc. The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 lists sixteen institutes located at Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mandi, Mumbai, Patna, Ropar, Roorkee and Varanasi. Each IIT is an autonomous institution, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. The IITs award degrees starting from B.Tech to Ph.D.
Ø  Indian Education Commission (1964-1966) recommended compulsory science education as part of general education and stressed that methods of teaching science should be modernized and that methods of teaching science should be modernized and that Science teaching should be linked with agriculture and technology.
Ø  The parliament approved in 1968, the Technology Policy Resolution, which states that research and development together with Science & Technology education and training of a high order will be provided a important place. Basic research and building of the centres of excellence was encouraged.
Ø  National policy on Education (1986) has given much stress on science education and has recommended that science education should be designed to enable the learner to acquire problem solving and decision making kill as well as the ability to correlate science with health, agriculture, industry and other aspect of daily life. It has also been stressed that concerted effort be made to extend Science education to all those who had to remain outside the pale of formal education.
Ø  For Science education and training several institutions comprising the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT’s), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), about a dozen institutes of national importance, hundreds of universities, and over 8,000 colleges, exist. This infrastructure has already made a substantial impact on the country’s scientific, industrial and economic development.
Ø  Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is a premier university for scientific research and higher education located in Bangalore, India. Established in 1909 with active support from Jamshetji Tata it is also locally known as the "Tata Institute". It acquired the status of a Deemed University in 1958. IISc is widely regarded as India's finest institution in its field, and has made significant contribution to advanced computing, space, and nuclear technologies.
Ø  Some of the academic research institutions such as IISc, Bangalore; TIFR, Mumbai; IITs and a few universities such as Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Poona, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Central University, Hyderabad; and Jadavpur., have developed global reputation and attract increasingly large number of students from South East Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Ø  The role of Information Technology (IT) as an instrument for progress and development has been acknowledged widely. A number of projects have been sponsored in collaboration with leading institutions like IITs, IISc, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Nation Council for Science and Technology (NCST), and Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, with its long-term objective being promoting both IT based general education and IT based education itself. IGNOU has several IT enabled courses and is further promoting this culture.
Ø  One of the significant leads taken a few decades ago was People’s science movement (PSM) and education through it. The role of PSM is not only restricted to communicating and simplifying science but also to question every aspect of science-related activities, in particular issues involved and intervening wherever necessary with people’s participation.
Ø  Exploratory - An Experiment in Learning by Doing Science : A unique institution called Exploratory has been developed at Pune by a few dedicated educators. Exploratory is neither a school or college laboratory nor a museum but is a place where school and college children can explore and experiment, invent and innovate and design and fabricate.
Ø  Navodaya Vidyalayas: Navodaya Vidyalayas were conceived in 1986 by Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India. The scheme aims at setting up well equipped well staffed schools in rural areas, almost one in every district to provide better quality science education to the talented children. These Navodaya Vidyalayas also serve as a resource centre and a pacesetter for the other schools in the region to follow. These Vidyalayas, 425 in number as of today, also aim at promoting excellence and removing disparities.
Ø  Advance Centres for Science and Technology (ACST): A few senior scientists and industrialists have proposed setting up advanced centres for science and technology. These are composite science and technology education and research centres. They seek to integrate education and research, science and technology, pure and industrial research. These centres will provide a 5-year integrated programme leading to either an M.Sc. or M.Tech. degree. The students will be given a common course in the first year, aimed at ensuring good grounding in physical concepts, equipping them with mathematical techniques and statistical procedures and exposing them to the current excitement in life sciences.


            Despite the fact that India today has the second largest education system, it has still to meet the basic needs and aspirations of its billion people. The level of illiteracy still hovers around 35%. The access to science education is on the average around 30%. There is much to be desired in relation to the quality and relevance of higher science education.