With 32 partner institutions coming together to share resources for research and teaching, the Commonwealth Science and Technology Academy for Research (C-STAR) was inaugurated by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at Anna University-Chennai on Friday.
Mr. Kalam said the Academy should provide a virtual platform for collaboration among institutions of higher education. Excellence should be infused into engineering colleges in the country and senior researchers should serve as role models for the younger generation.
Earlier, Y.S. Rajan, chairman, C-STAR, said only societies that connected the global to the local in all fields through research could prosper. And this should be done while ensuring both quantity and quality of delivery in higher education and research.
A. Kalanidhi, vice-chairman, C-STAR and former vice-chancellor, Anna University, said the Centre and the States were trying to increase access to higher education coverage. But, the quality of the education was poor.
To change the teacher-centric system to a more dynamic system involving the students, C-STAR was planning to embark on research methodologies to make education and research affordable. Nine institutions of national importance, including National Institutes of Technology and Anna University-Chennai, had signed up to help provide educational content that other institutions could access.
He read out a message from Pramod Vora, a vice-chairman of the Academy and dean of the college of engineering at Northern Illinois University. P.V. Indiresan, former director, IIT-Madras, said scientific knowledge was extended only through a constant endeavour to go beyond what was known. This required researchers to work on trying to disprove existing theories instead of accepting them. The problem with Indian science over the centuries had been that people had not challenged accepted ideas.
He called on students to question their teachers and elders to extend the boundaries of knowledge.