G. Mahadevan

Decision on land to be allotted for the institute at the next Cabinet meeting

Big leap forward for science education: Baby

Academics welcomes decision

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), sanctioned by the Centre here, will, in all likelihood, be located on the Government Jersey Farm land at Vithura. A final decision on the location and the extent of land to be allotted will be taken at the next State Cabinet meeting.

The State government has welcomed the decision of the Union Cabinet on Thursday to allow the fifth IISER (after Pune, Kolkata, Mohali and Bhopal) to be set up in the State capital. Education Minister M.A. Baby told The Hindu here that the institute would result in “a big leap forward for the higher-, specialised- and science-education sectors in the State.”

“It will certainly help to elevate educational standards in the State,” he said.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, in a press note here, said the State would make available land and take steps to ensure that classes begin at the institute in the next academic year.

The State had been constantly asking the Prime Minister and the Union Human Resource Minister for an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and an IISER. During the last Kerala formation day celebrations, the Prime Minister promised both.

He must now keep his word on setting up the IIT by including the proposal in the 11th Plan, he said.

The State government, he said, has already decided to hand over in two phases 200 acres (80 hectares) of land for the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram.

Academics upbeat

The academic community too has welcomed the clearance for setting up the IISER. Radhakrishna Pillai, Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), termed it a “tremendous development.”Kerala, he told The Hindu, produces the largest number of postgraduates.

With the coming of the institute, such students will have an excellent opportunity to do research in an ambience that matches international standards.

“Though we have many national-level institutes here, we have not been able to offer inter-disciplinary courses. This will change now. In fact, the RGCB stands to benefit the most. “We are working on nanotechnology care for cancer and we do not have physics and chemistry backup for making nano-scale products. The IISER will create that pool of talent that the State lacks now,” he said.

M. Baba, Director of the Centre for Earth Science Studies, is of the view that the institute will attract to Kerala world-class talent, both students and teachers, in basic sciences and inter-disciplinary studies.