New Delhi: Kerala is likely to lose to Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu the prestigious Centre-supported Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) due to the failure of the state government to follow up its request for the institute.
The IISERs are conceived as national centres of excellence on the model of the internationally renowned Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. They are envisioned to integrate undergraduate and postgraduate science education as well as higher research under one roof. They will also interact with various national laboratories and research centres to encourage interdisciplinary research.
The national committee for recommending the locations for the five proposed IISERs in the country under Prof C. N. R. Rao, chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister, is planning to allot the institute for the southern states to either Hyderabad or Chennai, according to sources in the HRD Ministry here.
Interestingly, Kerala was the first southern state to approach the HRD Ministry with a request for setting up the institute in the state. Prof M. V. George, formerly of IIT Kanpur, had made a detailed presentation of Kerala’s case. Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had also met HRD Minister Arjun Singh in September last year to push the state’s demand. But with no follow up by the new LDF Government, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are on the verge of grabbing the institute.
The Centre has already initiated the setting up of IISERs in Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh. IISER could have kickstarted a new culture of higher education in science and fundamental research, which is in the doldrums in the state, and helped the modernisation of the syllabus and curriculum of basic science courses.