Lamenting the shortage of 'motivated' science teachers at the high school level, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday asked the human resource development ministry and state governments to take appropriate remedial action.
"It goes without saying that we must lay increased emphasis on improving the quality of teaching in science and mathematics at all levels in our country," he said while releasing the first report on the country's performance in the area of science.
The 'India Science Report' of the National Council of Applied Economic Research at the initiative of the Indian National Science Academy, showed that while close to two-thirds of students from standards VI to VIII were satisfied with the quality of science teaching, the same was not the case in standards XI and XII, he said.
"This shows a shortage of good, highly motivated science teachers at higher levels," he said.
India must lead among developing nations, he said, adding, "science and technology can and should be a powerful tool to achieve this national goal."
Singh underscored the need for improving the quality of textbooks and teaching at the school level and to make science
an exciting discipline.
"When people praise Indian science and technology, they invariably imply that some Indians are doing well. I would like to see a day when people will say India is doing well," the prime minister said.
It was important to address social equity and the requirements of promoting and encouraging excellence, he said, asking the scientific community to make efforts to take the benefits of science to every nook and corner of the country.
"The challenge before Indian science and technology is, therefore, to generate high technology, create wealth and prestige for India, while also ensuring that this technology improves the lives of the poor."
There are other causes of concern in the report, which shows that 20 per cent of science graduates and 14 per cent of PhDs in science do not find gainful employment. What is equally worrisome is the finding that many people employed in science-centred jobs are insufficiently qualified," he said.
This report also points to a grave regional imbalance in terms of educational institutions in different states, he said.
"I trust our government as well the state governments will take note of these findings and evolve policies to remedy these regional imbalances," Singh said.