The State requires cutting-edge science institutes and active scientists in all basic disciplines of science to motivate children to take it up as a career, V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, executive vice-president of Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment, has said.

In his inaugural address at the ‘Inculcate' programme for stepping up scientific temperament among school students that began at the Cochin University of Science and Technology here on Friday, Prof. Pillai said that awareness about the potential of education and specifically of science is very much there in Kerala, thanks to the government's initiatives like Inculcate and Sasthraposhini in the schools.

“But this rich awareness is not really translating into noble higher-level science pursuits in our State. One obvious reason for this is the absence of a critical mass of excellent science teaching and research establishments in Kerala. For higher level research achievements, it is very necessary to have a critical number of active scientists in each and every filed of science,” he said.

Recommending building up scientists' pools for collaboration and constructive competition in research, Prof. Pillai said that the State lacked the bare minimum number of state-of-the-art teaching and research institutes in basic sciences compared to the large number of graduates and postgraduates in science.

“School children and college students, among whom we are creating these big awareness and motivation programmes in science, do not see big science happening in their neighbourhood. We do not have an institution of the kind of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indian Association of Cultivation of Science, or S.N. Bose Institute of Basic Sciences,” he said.

Prof. Pillai said that many States in the country, which do not have school or college education achievements like Kerala, had higher-level research establishments existing for long or being established recently.

Nearly 60 Class VIII students from across the State are participating in Inculcate.