There is more at stake than a Guinness record: Experts

As 2,000 students participated and successfully performed practical experiments simultaneously, experts felt there was more to gain than just an entry in the Guinness book of world records.

India created history by successfully organising the single largest science lesson held at IIT Delhi, the programme which was held under the India International Science Festival being celebrated from December 4 to December 8, coordinated by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The programme can be considered as one of the stepping stones in overcoming the country’s challenge towards developing interest in sciences and research at grassroot levels than just setting a record. 

“By conducting this open experiment we plan to beat the previous record set by Royal Society of Chemistry, London, which was held at Northern Ireland and consisted of 1,339 students,” said Professor K N Rao, dean Infrastructure, IIT Delhi. With regards to the experiments, Prof Rao added: “The experiments were held on the theme of catalysis.”

Around 2,000 science students at school level from classes 9 to 12 were selected from 40 schools of the National Capital Region (NCR) by an NGO to conduct the experiment. Speaking on the open experiment, Professor Girish Kumar said: “Even though this would be viewed by many as an attempt to create a record, however, this programme is also very important in creating interest in research and sciences among students.”

Based on reports there are around 2,00,000 full time researchers in India with four researcher per ten thousand labour force which is far less than China at 18 researchers per ten thousand labour force, Brazil at 7 researchers per 10,000 labour force and Kenya with 6 researchers per 10,000 labour force.

“The problem is that many today are paying more emphasis to the remuneration part of the job and looking for quick ways to succeed and thereby moving from scientific researches which require patience and intense passion and this is leading to shortage of talent,” said Dr Vijai Kumar Srivastava of Indian Council of Medical Reasearch (ICMR). 
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