Star College Scheme for Strengthening of UG Science

DBT Star College Scheme

Background

The steady decline of enrolment of young people in science globally has been marked by the UNESCO as one of the pressing matters on its list of targets of Science Education. Consequently, the 1999 Budapest Declaration underlined the importance of science education for all.

Following is the Foreword of  UNESCO’s “Current challenges in basic science education” prepared after the meeting of International Group of Experts on Science and Mathematics Education Policies, Paris, 2009 :

“Indeed, science and mathematics education (SME) that is relevant and of quality can develop critical and creative thinking, help learners to understand and participate in public policy discussions, encourage behavioural changes that can put the world on a more sustainable path and stimulate socio-economic development. SME can therefore make a critical contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the world’s leaders in 2020.”

The Star College Scheme was initiated by DBT in 2008 to support colleges and universities offering undergraduate education to improve science teaching across the country. This Scheme was launched for improving critical thinking and encouraging ‘hands on’ experimental science at undergraduate level in basic science subjects. On a larger perspective, the scheme was initiated envisioning that it shall encourage more students to take up higher education in science. Through this scheme the Department identifies colleges with potential for excellence and provides support for developing infrastructure for academics and laboratory activities. This support is in turn expected to invigorate teaching and provide unique exposure of students to experimental science. Starting with a meagre 30 colleges in 2008,  this pan India scheme has supported science departments in more than 300 colleges all over the country till date.

Overall, it has been observed that the support received by colleges have resulted in a considerable decrease of student dropout rates in science subjects. Keeping in mind that this is the only scheme implemented by the Department to support science education at the undergraduate level, the Star College Scheme acts as a gateway and provides exposure to students about other schemes of the Department (and the GOI) to support higher education (post graduate level), graduate research (Ph.D), post doctoral research, international exchange programmes, short term industry oriented training courses in science. The scheme also acts as a catalyst in igniting young minds (faculty and students) to engage in networking, exposure visits to research institutes and industries and apply for research grants in order to prepare them for future challenges after the successful completion of their undergraduate courses.

In a huge country like India, equitable percolation of the benefits of any pan India scheme is a challenge and the Star College scheme is no exception. As a result, applicant colleges have been categorized into ‘Rural’ (with a special focus on Aspirational districts since 2019-20) and ‘Urban’ categories based on the geographic location of the college since 2018-19. This was done to ensure that access to better facilities on account of geographical location should not be a deterrent for securing this highly competitive grant. This has created a tremendous interest among colleges from rural areas too which has resulted in exponential increase in number of colleges applying from Tier II, Tier III cities and rural areas.

Star college Scheme for strengthening of UG science

Map of India depicting number of Colleges presently being supported under the Star College Scheme (159) and colleges accorded with Star Status (36) (depicted as *) in different states during 2019-2020.

Objectives: The objectives of the DBT Star College scheme are as follows:

  • To strengthen the academic and physical infrastructure for achieving excellence in teaching and training
  • To enhance the quality of the learning and teaching process to stimulate original thinking through ‘hands–on’ exposure to experimental work and participation in summer schools
  • To provide better library facility to students and teachers
  • To promote networking and strengthen ties with neighbouring institutions and other laboratories
  • To conduct specialized training programmes for faculty improvement for optimizing technical capabilities
  • To increase capabilities of core instrumentation resources by procuring new equipment and upgrading existing facilities
  • To provide access and exposure to students to research laboratories and industries in the country
  • To help in devising standard curricula and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) / kits for practicals.

Mechanism of support

There are 2 components of the Star College Scheme:

  • Strengthening component
  • Star component

The initial support under the Star College Scheme is for a duration of 3 years under the Strengthening component, subject to fulfilment of the terms and conditions (hyperlink). A duration of 3 years is termed as “one cycle” of support.

Strengthening component

S No

Head

Amount in lakhs per year

Remarks

1

Non recurring

(One time per Dept)

10.00

First year

(To be utilized within 18 months of sanction date)

2

Recurring

3.00

Each year per Dept

3

Contingency

1.00

Consolidated amount per year

4

Travel + Mentoring

 

>4 depts. Rs. 1.00 Lakhs

5-8 depts. Rs. 2.00 Lakhs

9-12 depts. Rs. 3.00 Lakhs

Consolidated amount per year

 

Thereafter, the progress of the College is evaluated by a Task Force / Expert Committee constituted by DBT. If the progress of the College is found to be satisfactory, the College is accorded ‘Star status’, else the college may continue to be supported under the strengthening component for a maximum duration of 2 years (following which the College may reapply to be considered for accordance of Star status) or else the support may be terminated.

A College which has been accorded Star status may be supported for a maximum duration of 3 years, following which the College may reapply for another cycle of support under the Star component for another cycle.

Star component

S No

Head

Amount in lakhs per year

Remarks

1

Non recurring

(One time per Dept)

15.00

First year

(To be utilized within 18 months of sanction date)

2

Recurring

5.00

Each year per Dept

3

Contingency

1.00

Consolidated amount per year

4

Travel + Mentoring

 

>4 depts. Rs. 1.00 Lakhs

5-8 depts. Rs. 2.00 Lakhs

9-12 depts. Rs. 3.00 Lakhs

Consolidated amount per year

Star College Scheme for Strengthening of Science Education and Training at Undergraduate Level – (Phase-II)

Pursuit for excellence is a continuous process and the Department understands the necessity to encourage Colleges that have performed exceedingly well and set a benchmark for other colleges to emulate. Out of the < 300 undergraduate colleges across the country supported so far, 36 Colleges have been awarded Star College Status during the past decade and many of these Star Status Colleges have completed 9 years under the scheme.

The Department is in advanced stages to roll out Star College Scheme Phase II this year for such Colleges with added responsibilities besides the ones they were already mandated with.

These Colleges apart from serving the purpose of improving intellectual calibre of students, in addition, such Colleges shall assume the role of “torch bearers of knowledge” and shall extend and expand their efforts into networking, hand holding and outreach with a special focus on colleges from Aspirational districts of the country.

Expected outcome: The outcome of support received from DBT-Star College Scheme shall be gauged by the following parameters (but not limited to):

  • Substantial increase in proportion of 'hands on' experimental work by students.
  • Increased access of undergraduate students to laboratory and bioinformatics
  • Improvement in access to sciences related journals
  • Summer schools
  • Percentage of students pursuing PG science education
  • Measure effectiveness on the basis of feedback from students, faculty

What is not intended?

  • Starting of biotechnology teaching programme at undergraduate level.
  • Purchase of high end equipment not related to UG curriculum.
  • Use of commercial kits for UG practicals should be avoided and restricted to only those cases where it is absolutely essential.

Guidelines for DBT-Star College Scheme

Updated list of colleges under DBT-Star College Scheme with details of Co-ordinators

Success stories

  • 153 undergraduate colleges across the country were ultimately supported under Star College Scheme during the last 5 years. Out of these, 30 colleges have been awarded Star College Status.
  • Under this scheme, DBT organized ‘Foldscope Workshops’ in 3 different locations Delhi, Guwahati and Kaziranga which lead to mass popularization of this low cost device among  undergraduate students. Additionally, several colleges disseminated and continue to disseminate the knowledge harnessed by training school students and further familiarizing this instrument.
  • Student outreach activities are carried out regularly by the Colleges which promote interaction and networking skills among students and staff alike and also provide unique exposure to scientific research, industrial processes etc. thereby igniting young minds towards a career in basic sciences.
  • Reduction in college dropout rates and increase in students pursuing higher education in basic science subjects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


List of Star Status Colleges

List of Colleges supported under strengthening component

 

Contact Details of Concerned Officers:

 

Programme Head Dr. Anamika Gambhir, Scientist F
Email anamika[at]dbt[dot]nic[dot]in
Phone No. 011-24363665
Programme Officer Dr. Garima Gupta, Scientist E
E-mail garima[dot]g[at]nic[dot]in
Phone 011-24369385
Attached Officer Dr. Abhishek Kumar Mehta, Scientist C
E-mail ak[dot]mehta[at]dbt[dot]nic[dot]in
Phone 011-24360295
scheme
S. No.TitleDetails
1Term and conditions under Star College Scheme View (128.13 KB) pdf
2Guidelines of Star College SchemeView (462.29 KB) pdf