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President Kovind urges for gender parity in science and technology education and research on 76th Foundation Day of CSIR
Addressing a gathering at the conclusion of platinum jubilee year celebrations of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi on September 26, President Ram Nath Kovind said that the participation of women in science in our country was distressingly small and without gender parity the nation would not be able achieve its development goals meaningfully, stated an official release.

According to Kovind, less than two of every 10 scientific researchers in India are women and out of those who join the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) each year, just about 10 per cent were women.

"These numbers (showing gender disparity) are simply not acceptable. We have to take accelerated steps to promote the participation of girl students and of women in science and technology. If this disparity is not addressed, our scientific achievements will always be less than perfect and less than desirable," he stated.

He urged for accelerated steps to promote the participation of girl students and of women in science and technology (ST).

At the 76th Foundation Day of the CSIR the president congratulated the dedicated scientists and the award winners and said that the country was proud of their hard work and contribution.

"The true test of scientific research lies in its ability to help our society leap frog social sector gaps, whether in health and hygiene, sanitation, education or agriculture, and make us a middle-income country in one human lifetime," stated the release quoting the President.

However, I feel that the number crunch of gender parity is not the issue, the pedagogy of ST is to be linked with both social and gender equity to attract more girls to these streams. "While accommodating the diversity of students, Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM) curriculum transaction must lead to personal development of students as logical and rational thinkers capable of self-direction, cooperation and taking socially responsible actions," I had written earlier.

In fact, the public education-for-all up to high school level should begin with gender and social equity. There should be a growing concern among education- of-all movements for improving STM education at general education level along with teaching of English, especially in rural area since STM education in higher education institutes takes place in English.

Thus, there is a need to remove the barriers to gender equity in STM education, rather than merely urging female students to participate in STM courses.

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