The country does not need foreign universities to develop students; the people should instead rededicate themselves to building up home-grown institutions of higher learning, eminent scientist M.S. Swaminathan said on Thursday.

Speaking at a function to unveil a bust of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M), Dr. Swaminathan reiterated Nobel laureate Venkataraman Ramakrishnan's statement that only home-grown institutions could reflect the culture of the country and that they should be encouraged more.

He said there was too much “imitative science” in India and a genius like Ramanujan would have languished in the country's educational system. On the historical date when the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into effect [April 1], he said the administration should make a resolve that more such talented individuals should be identified and encouraged.

IIT-M director M.S. Ananth said Ramanujan and G.H. Hardy [who “discovered” the genius and invited him to work in England] had functioned like the two halves of the brain. Universities emphasised the logic aspect of science as only that could be taught to students. But intuition was also important in creative research and students should be encouraged to develop those skills, he said.

Ramji Raghavan, chairman, Agastya International Foundation, who donated the bust to the institute, said two other busts had been donated to Cambridge University and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to spread awareness about the great mathematician.

He recalled his meeting with Ramanujan's wife two decades ago and said it was the Foundation's hope that thousands of students would be inspired on seeing the bust.

Awards

The Foundation also held a demonstration of the models used to teach students in various schools using its mobile van. Mr. Raghavan announced that students who developed low-cost models to demonstrate scientific concepts to schoolchildren would be given an award of Rs.1 lakh by a US-based foundation.

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