MEET Hyderabad

‘Our varsities face the risk of slipping into oblivion’

Former Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Lalji Singh, during an interview with The Hindu in Hyderabad. Photo: Nagara Gopal   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL



Pioneer of DNA Fingerprinting in the country, Lalji Singh headed the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), and later moved to the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) as the Vice-Chancellor.

After completing his three-year term with BHU, he is back in the city to pursue his interest and passion in science by setting up the Genome Foundation.

“Universities in the country have to change, improve infrastructure and adopt global style else they face the risk of slipping into oblivion,” Dr. Lalji Singh tells T. Lalith Singh, in an interview with The Hindu.



How was your experience heading BHU?

Banaras Hindu University was my alma mater. I call it a university for the talented poor. I did my B.Sc. and M.Sc. free of cost there, and when I was asked to serve as the V-C, I took it as an opportunity to give back whatever I can. The institution made me what I am today.



What are the issues faced by our universities?

The threat for universities in the country is real. Some private universities are really good with appropriate infrastructure and teaching standards, but they do not have research. Our varsities, mainly the State-run ones, are in a bad shape. There is a need to quickly improve infrastructure and adopt innovative and global standards to stay in the race.



What can be done?

The government has to provide resources to more than 700 universities in the country, and preparing a student for the 21 century is very expensive. Inter-disciplinary research holds the key, and that’s where I tried new methodologies at BHU.

A Central Discovery Centre was set up in BHU with Rs.100 crore, offering facilities for all streams from agriculture, biology, chemistry to information technology and students could share it for their pursuits.

Instead of every department spending crores of rupees to create individual facilities, this kind of centralised facility will be more effective.



Does science and technology get due attention?

A nation cannot progress if science and technology are ignored. I say, these are the backbone of growth.

More visible fields such as space, defence and atomic energy get attention, for errors will be glaring with them.

But, other fields are not given required attention.



Is there a failure on part of science administration?

The science administration needs to be revamped.

Problem in our country is that the system does not work, only individuals do. Till an individual strives, things keep moving. That has to change.

With more autonomy and good talented administrators who are selected without bias for region, caste or community at the helm of affairs, India will emerge the leader in science and technology.

Pioneer of DNA Fingerprinting in the country, Lalji Singh headed the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), and later moved to the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) as the Vice-Chancellor.

After completing his three-year term with BHU, he is back in the city to pursue his interest and passion in science by setting up the Genome Foundation.

“Universities in the country have to change, improve infrastructure and adopt global style else they face the risk of slipping into oblivion,” Dr. Lalji Singh tells T. Lalith Singh, in an interview with The Hindu.



How was your experience heading BHU?

Banaras Hindu University was my alma mater. I call it a university for the talented poor. I did my B.Sc. and M.Sc. free of cost there, and when I was asked to serve as the V-C, I took it as an opportunity to give back whatever I can. The institution made me what I am today.



What are the issues faced by our universities?

The threat for universities in the country is real. Some private universities are really good with appropriate infrastructure and teaching standards, but they do not have research. Our varsities, mainly the State-run ones, are in a bad shape. There is a need to quickly improve infrastructure and adopt innovative and global standards to stay in the race.



What can be done?

The government has to provide resources to more than 700 universities in the country, and preparing a student for the 21st century is very expensive. Inter-disciplinary research holds the key, and that’s where I tried new methodologies at BHU.

A Central Discovery Centre was set up in BHU with Rs.100 crore, offering facilities for all streams from agriculture, biology, chemistry to information technology and students could share it for their pursuits.

Instead of every department spending crores of rupees to create individual facilities, this kind of centralised facility will be more effective.



Does science and technology get due attention?

A nation cannot progress if science and technology are ignored. I say, these are the backbone of growth.

More visible fields such as space, defence and atomic energy get attention, for errors will be glaring with them.

But, other fields are not given required attention.



Is there a failure on part of science administration?

The science administration needs to be revamped. Problem in our country is that the system does not work, only individuals do. Till an individual strives, things keep moving. That has to change.

With more autonomy and good talented administrators who are selected without bias for region, caste or community at the helm of affairs, India will emerge the leader in science and technology.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 7:19:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/%E2%80%98Our-varsities-face-the-risk-of-slipping-into-oblivion%E2%80%99/article10934597.ece

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