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We Need Research With National Priorities in Mind, Says NEP Committee Member MK Sridhar

'With the National Research Foundation, we are trying to identify national priorities, frontier research areas that can determine the national priority. It will enable us to work on research with a vision,' NEP Committee Member MK Sridhar said.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:June 14, 2019, 11:52 AM IST
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We Need Research With National Priorities in Mind, Says NEP Committee Member MK Sridhar
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New Delhi: The New Education Policy draft 2019 has made several reform-oriented proposals, including setting up of new autonomous bodies like National Research Foundation among others.

Speaking to News18.com one of the committee members, MK Sridhar, who is also former member secretary of Karnataka Knowledge Commission, Bangalore said the proposed foundation will identify national priorities in pursuing research.

“With the National Research Foundation, we are trying to identify national priorities, frontier research areas that can determine the national priority. It will enable us to work on research with a vision,” he said.

According to the draft NEP submitted by K Kasturirangan Committee the biggest lacuna in the present education system is the lack of a coherent direction for planning and implementation of research at the university level.“The committee has addressed this critical lacuna in this policy by introducing, for the very first time a new National Research Foundation (NRF) that will focus on funding research within the education system, primarily at colleges and universities,” the draft said.

Ruing the lack of fundamentally proper vision about research, Sridhar said, “We have universities focusing on education and pursuing their own Ph.D programs, also there are internal resources that go for research project or the research projects find somebody else for funds. But there was nothing to provide mentoring the students. As of now, the focus is only on funding. Research culture cannot be developed only on funding,” he said.

In his opinion, the new proposal of NRF will cover other dimensions of culture of research apart from funding. “There is social capital available in our country as we have retired professors, scientists, senior citizens with depth and knowledge which can be used mentoring.”

The foundation will encompass the four broad areas of Sciences, Technology, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. Besides strengthening the presently weak support that subjects such as the Social Sciences and the Humanities receive, NRF will also bring in cohesion among the various research endeavors of multidisciplinary character.

Besides providing funding, NRF will also take care of the need to seed and build research capacity in universities and colleges through a formal mechanism of mentoring that will be instituted, as per the draft submitted.

The NRF will catalyse research in universities and colleges, institutions that have hitherto not been big players in the research scene of the country, and help build the capacity to do research through an institutionalized mentoring mechanism, involving expert researchers from premier institutions in the country.

The document has laid down the map for pursuing the “liberal education” that belonged to India, which Sridhar said is an attempt to decolonise education system. “Basically, the education system in general, higher education in particular has a very significant colonial past. Colonial rulers had this kind of regulation and control and categorization of education. They wanted this kind of streams system for higher education system. This how we got into higher education with three important classifications - Arts Science and Commerce.”

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