The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment (KSCSTE) has recommended commencement of the functioning of the proposed Srinivasa Ramanujan Institute of Basic Sciences in Kottayam.

Details of the institute were announced by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on January 13 at the National Mathematical Year celebrations and the proposal found endorsement in the Governor's Address last week.

Speaking to the The Hindu , V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, executive vice-president of KSCSTE, said the council had already approved the functioning of the institute this academic year. The campus of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology (RIT) (Government Engineering College), Pampady, had been selected for commencement of the functioning of the institute.

He said he had already held discussions with the principal and senior faculty members of the RIT regarding the proposed institute. “They have welcomed the proposal,” he said. The sprawling 85-acre campus has a 10-acre plot earmarked for future development and the buildings for the new institute could come up on that spot.

The KSCSTE had selected the RIT campus for various reasons. Since mathematics and basic sciences complement technology and engineering sciences, a good number of advanced teaching and higher level research establishments in basic sciences are on the premises of technological institutions such as IITs.

“The RIT would stand to benefit from all angles by the nucleation of the new institute adjoining its campus,” Prof. Pillai said.

The location of two other Kerala government establishments, District Institute of Educational Training (DIET), and PTM Government School, on adjoining campuses of the RIT would add credence to the whole proposal, Prof. Pillai said.

‘‘Promoting basic mathematics and science teaching at the school level is a priority of the newly proposed centre. All the basic science institutions such as the Homi J. Bhaba Centre for Basic Sciences and all the academies of sciences in the country and across the world have school science capacity building as a major area of quality intervention,” he said. According to him, activities of the DIET can be diversified and state-of-the-art training, including educational technology, can be imparted through it.

Prof. Pillai said that since one of the two science cities declared in the Governor's speech was in Kottayam, there was lot of scope for integration and networking with the new institute project. In fact, this was an added advantage, since Kottayam had the largest density of school science students in the State.

College authorities have welcomed the proposal.

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