Biotech education: Time to face the realities!
One cannot blame an aspiring student, if he chooses to ignore bioscience industry as a viable career option in the longer run. At the moment when everything in an education market is driven by job opportunities, the sector certainly lacks appeal. Even now, owing to the limited
opportunities, a good career in biotechnology in India means that one has to either go for higher research (doctoral, postdoctoral research) or wait for a quite long time to reach a good position in the industry. At the same time, few bright students from top universities who chose to join companies, have found out the comparatively lesser package, stagnant nature of the job and absence of innovative research, at their level.
Experts point out that there is a danger that the seventy percent of these students will become redundant and down the lane, and most of them will be of no use. Going by that, we may end up having a huge population of students who will curse us for having nothing to do. The industry generally feels that academia is not creating the industry oriented professionals. They might be even right but the universities generally don't expect their students to work directly in the industry after their post graduation courses.
Finishing schools add value
So what is the solution? First of all, the creation of the right talent pool in this industry is very important. There are certain issues that need to be addressed at the base of this problem. One is the curriculum that is offered in the educational institutes and the other being the necessary infrastructure needed to carry out the research. The right training and exposure is also important for the creation of the enriched talent pool required for developing the industry. For that there is a need for the government to evolve a clear cut strategy on employment.
"If you want to hire million people by 2020, you need to educate millions today. I am told that Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is running 140 programs in 70 universities in areas such as nutrition, environment, marine biotechnology, bioentrepreneurship, and bioinstrumentation,"
mentioned the union minister of human resources and development (HRD), Mr Shashi Tharoor at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE), held in March, 2013. The minister urged industry captains to work with government in devising the right curriculum. "If information technology can makes us proud then why not biotechnology. All we have to do is to give the right kind of attention and nurture it. There is a plenty of room from entrepreneurs to grow in this space and what is required for them are the due facilities," added Mr Tharoor.