Investment on research & development

Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip *

When it comes to investment, the economic capital seems to be of great concern while the research element is almost conveniently given a lower berth. Economic, intellectual, social and political growth come from systematic scientific investment of time and money. Quality research produces qualitatively innovative and uplifting humane development.

'Swadeshepujyate raja, vidwansarvatrapujyate' in Sanskrit means: "A king is honoured only in his own country, but one who is learned is honoured throughout the world." As the title of the article suggests, research and development go hand in hand. Lack of development is a sure sign of lack of research.

With this note, let us see how teachers, students and the Governmentstand in the field of Research and Development (R&D). When we think of revolution, we may have a priori knowledge of political revolutions like the American Revolution (1765-83), the French Revolution (1789-99), the Russian Revolution (1900s) etc.

Now it is an opportune time to allow an Educational Revolution rational perception of truth and pursuance to reach truth in its purest possible form (if not the absolute truth). We have to begin a revolution to overthrow the wrong perceptions of life and enter into dialogue with the purest form of truth.

Student Research

Books prescribed as syllabi in educational institutions have been preferred by experts for use in different standards of the educational ladder. The contents in these text books have been written by scholars or subject experts for easy comprehension and use.

Time and money have been invested for all these purposes. Students enjoy the fruit of research. From primary to secondary and then to tertiary education, students are now left with important pointers or links to delve deeper into subjects of their interests.

So, a miniature research aptitude can well be created at primary and secondary level as well. Indian Tertiary Education aims at human resourcefulness because the human capital remains as the major asset for development. By 2030, India hopes its "economy will not be driven by natural resources, but by knowledge resources" (Draft National Education Policy 2019).

Teacher Research

The adage "Say what you want so long as you know what you mean" would be applicable for a teacher who forms the future (students) when engaged in serious scientific research. It may sound impractical to think that teachers should engage in scientific research while at the same time engage in day to day teaching process in classroom environment.

Through the scientific lens, it is unthinkable what novelty will teachers bring in for students if they do not engage in active and ongoing research? Both the processes are not impractical but supplementary in nature.

A teacher who is updated with his or her subject and has a fair knowledge of other subject domains will do better than the ones complacently bringing the old notes and parroting to fleeting classes year after year.

A research-teacher becomes a guiding star and a persona of inspiration for the students to emulate in academic excellence. It becomes pertinent for teachers to reflect on the motto of their particular educational institutes and holistically view the fruitful implementation of the same as if he or she has been an outsider.

Mature assessment of self and institution is needed from time to time than live in a fool's paradise of thinking 'I know it anyway'. Research ultimately makes a teacher to assimilate information maturely, question status quo and inspire future generation of researchers.

Research is feeding on intellectual diet for healthy dissemination of knowledge in class situation or off-class scene.

Research encourages asking, unlearning faulty learning, broadening of mindset, access to true state of things, expansion of ideas, distillation of thought process, application of already known theories, keen observation, experimentation of theories, and production of new knowledge socially useful for macro community.

Government and Research

It is a consolation that the Central Government of India has various scholarship schemes under its ambit to support potential research fellows. Just as the Land Acquisition Act 2013 has been entrusted to each state, so also it will be highly beneficial if space and financial help can be judiciously allocated to deserving student for further research that will ultimately benefit the state to which the researcher belongs (of course to the entire world).

Investment on research is creating human capital and building a firm foundation for development. The initiative of the Government for education is primarily aimed towards higher education which can lead to quality research and development that is accessible and sustainable for a larger community.

The Budget 2019 on education talked about focus on research and innovation, the setting up of NRF (National Research Foundation) with access to research funds from all government departments will help fund and promote research in the country.

Investment on Research is a sure sign of creating philosophers for the society who will direct, maintain, set goals higher than ordinarily upheld. Thinkers, inventors, philosophers, educationists, humanitarians, etc., are possible bi-product of intense research for nobler things of life than is usually perceived.

Research paves the way for this generation to walk the paths of Socrates (470-399 BCE), Plato (428-347 BCE), Aristotle (384-322 BCE), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804),Thomas Edison (1847-1931), Albert Einstein (1879-1955), etc.

Research for modelling future

Research can lead to novel way of modelling the future to face multiple challenges of life. "Though a generation is sometimes required to effect the change, scientific communities have again and again been converted to new paradigms" (Thomas Samuel Kuhn).

New paradigms would mean new ways of thinking, perceiving and assessing phenomena.

A community without research could possibly end up witnessing rotting libraries andstale knowledge served cyclically to student community, political dividends, religious congregation, etc.

The first objective of Draft National Education Policy 2019 is "to meet the changing dynamics of the population's requirement with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry."

Research is moving away from what is normal and heading towards up-normal (betterment). Without constant educational revolution, the education system itself would disintegrate and perform disservice to society and degenerate it. Researchers, philosophers, thinkers, experimenters, inventors, creative people become regenerators of social order.

Just like elements combine in fixed proportions to form chemical compounds so also researchers can come up with something innovative from redundancy. If investment is the topic, it is worth investing in Research & Development. If you still have a doubt, ask the famous and thriving companies or societies about the percentage of their investment on Research & Development.

* Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokipwrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is a PhD Scholar, Dept. of Sociology at CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India.
The writer can be contacted at paulhowkeep(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on February 09 2020.

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