Students these days are keen to pursue engineering rather than medicine. A few dream of becoming scientists at an early age, but by the time they grow up, they want to become engineers.

Most educators feel that an interest in science education is gradually declining among students. To this end, the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) has recently proposed setting up of a mission, headed by the Prime Minister to transform the entire scenario of science education and research in the country. The commission has suggested that a science and mathematics mission be constituted with a team of 40-50 ‘brightest of the bright’ Indian scientists and mathematicians below the age of 45 years. Furthermore, the NKC said that such an initiative would be effective only if it is launched across the country covering every school, college, university and institution.

Our View: While creating interesting science activities, and improving science teaching may motivate some children to pursue careers in science, the real problem is a much larger one- an environment that does not encourage young people to pursue disciplines they are interested in. This article doesn’t seem to recognize that aspect at all. It is not clear what these 40-45 brightest Indian scientists are supposed to do etc.

To make learning science an interesting subject for students, the Department of Education in Science and Mathematics, NCERT, has prepared a laboratory manual of science practicals at the secondary stage. It contains 100 easy-to-perform experiments aimed at attracting secondary students towards science.

These experiments aim at making children familiar with instruments and concepts before they go for higher secondary classes where science takes a formal disciplinary shape in different subjects namely biology, chemistry, and physics. These experiments involve low-cost equipment and can be contextualised depending upon the facilities available with schools.

The approach is activity-based and it is expected that different examination boards will prepare their list of practicals to be performed from an examination point of view out of these 100 experiments. The choice of experiments shall be based on facilities available and the environment.

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