One quite often comes across advertisements like “there is only one Mother Earth and we get only one chance to save it”. But is it not ironical that the people who are striving to save the dying Earth still make only intelligent ‘guesses’ about the age of the Earth? Mother Earth’s age, like that of a perfect woman, is a well-guarded secret which only a few know. Perhaps!
Prior to the screening of ‘Jurassic Park’, hardly a few knew about Trinosaurus Rex (T Rex). Even now, only a few can guess what “Jurassic” stands for! If this is the state of “Geosciences” in the country, then nobody needs a crystal ball to predict its future. Lack of awareness about the subject is one of the primary reasons for its exfoliation.
Take the school curriculum, for instance. Kids, at the very beginning of their study, are taught ” Geo means earth”. Through various disciplines of education, they are introduced to the different faces of the Earth. But there is something lacking behind this knowledge generating process. Most of the knowledge conferred is theoretical and practical field experiences are usually ignored. However, the subject is so fascinating that, even with this theoretical knowledge, a liking for it develops which can be further nurtured with practical experiences. Unfortunately, field studies are rarely included as a recommended course of study. Even if an opportunity for a field trip comes up, it is generally taken as a picnic party.
Despite all these odds, a student taking geosciences for higher studies has to face quite a despair reaching the battlefront of his career. He has to compete with engineers and students from other technical disciplines who have become the blue eyed boys of the industrial sector. The result – geoscientists are forced to jump into the lucrative software industry and other job-oriented disciplines, of course with some training; but three or more years of their specialisation and hard work is rendered redundant.
Moreover, students fail to get jobs in their own field as they do not get enough scope for updating their knowledge as demanded by the newly emerging employment sectors. This is because universities not only lag behind in updating their technical manpower, but also face dearth of funds required for such updations. The result is that they rarely receive devoted students who are keen enough to disseminate the knowledge of the subject to their followers. The situation is such that a large number of students join this discipline just for gaining a minimum educational qualification that would enable them to join other productive courses. As a result, government support for research in this field has also dipped down significantly.
In today’s world, privatisation has become the ‘mantra’. Industries require geoscientists, but the institutions fail to provide them with up-to-date manpower. The fact is that geoscience departments in the country are working in isolation. More integration of curriculum with the industry is the need of the hour and the key to its survival in future.
Can we prevent this lively subject from meeting the same fate as a T Rex?
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