Science takes a backseat in Delhi despite govt push for technology
The country may be looking forward to the 'Make in India' concept but in the National Capital, only a fraction of students will be equipped with the technical knowhow to contribute to this dream.Of the 866 senior secondary government schools in the city, only 270 . just 31.17% . offer science as a stream in Class 11 and 12. In sharp contrast, all the 866 institutions offer Arts (Humanities) as a stream.
In top private schools in New Delhi, science stream is more accessible to students.
But the second and third rung schools again limit options for children. While there are no clear figures regarding the number of private schools offering science in class 11 and 12, experts say that their number is only marginally higher than that of government schools.
In the year 2013-14, out of the 2,58,777 students who appeared in class 12 examinations in Delhi, only 45,400 were from the science section - a mere 17.5%. According to admission controllers in universities, a fraction of these continue studying science in colleges.
During assembly elections in New Delhi, villagers of Sultanpur Majra had one demand - a science section in govt schools in their area so that their children, especially girls, could choose to study something other than humanities.
According to education officers, simply increasing the number of schools that offer science as an option is not the solution.
"The number of schools offering science depends on the demand and the infrastructure available or the capability of infrastructure enhancement in a school. When we allow students to opt for science, we have to make sure that they will be able to handle the pressure since science requires dedication and hard work," said Padmini Singla, director of education.
Only those students who have scored a certain (Grade Point Average) GPA in class 10 are able to choose to study science, a practice followed across the country. In government schools in the city, students scoring between 7.5 GPA and 10 GPA are considered eligible. The number of students who can opt for science, therefore, gets limited at the very outset.
According to experts, at the root of these problems is the way we teach science and the lack of investment required to give a much-required required push to science education.
"Our science curriculum is boring. The way we teach students doesn't inspire them to ask and discover. There is no hands-on experience," said MM Chaturvedi, Centre for Science Education and Communication of Delhi University. According to Chaturvedi, the quality of laboratory work done by students has deteriorated over the years.
"Labs have become a mere formality. Everything must be there on paper, the practical can be ignored. When I compare the kind of work I did in a lab in school with the work my daughter did, I am amazed at how downgraded the syllabus in science practicals has now become," he said.
Binod Kumar Tripathi, acting director, NCERT says that science teachers are not qualified enough to adapt to new requirements. "There is a need to involve students with the subject at a young age. They should be an active part of the process but most of our teachers are not qualified to engage students effectively," he said.