New Delhi: It is vital to attract undergraduate students to pursue higher studies in science by providing them practical exposure. In this context, the Department of Biotechnology’s ‘Star College Scheme’ aims to brand and nurture excellence in undergraduate science education. There are 150 colleges supported under scheme since 2008. It supports laboratories, library, teaching aids, networking with neighboring institutes, hands-on training and minor research projects to undergraduate science students. 16 colleges have been given star status with double budget provision, as per DBT. At the same time, 48 colleges discontinued after successful completion of one tenure.
Star scheme is focusing improving curriculum with emphasis on practical training to students by providing access to specialized infrastructure and consumables and scale up the skills of teachers by organizing faculty training.
At present, 102 colleges through the country are being supported under the star colleges’ scheme and steps are being taken to include more. Star college scheme has been divided in two categories viz. strengthening of support for undergraduate education and Star college status. Criteria for selection as a “Star College” are very stringent and budget provision is double for colleges accorded star status.
The scheme strengthens physical infrastructure in laboratories, library, teaching aids and promotes networking with neighboring institutes. Hands-on training and projects of day to day relevance which is a crucial component of scheme have enhanced interest in students to pursue science courses at Undergraduate level. Laboratory manuals have been developed under the scheme which are being refined and will be shared amongst all participating colleges.
Features of the star college scheme
Opportunities to learn from stalwarts and visits to nearby institutes and universities are provided under the scheme. The programme lays emphasis on inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary interactions. Innovative minor research exposures to students by projects of day to day relevance are being encouraged. Faculty improvement workshops in collaboration with British Council are being oarganised to train the trainers. Workshops on handling of sophisticated equipment, safety precautions for pathogenic organisms, hazardous chemicals and waste disposal are being organized for laboratory staff. The colleges are engaged in outreach activities for school students and neighbouring college students. The scheme has enabled higher, enrolment in undergraduate science courses, increase in cut off percentage at time of admission, decline in dropout rates, better pass percentage and higher enrollment in post graduate courses in science.
Source: Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.