Prayas Sutar – Graduate Student International Summer Research or Residency Award Recipient

Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai, India. STEM Education for Economic Development in India and the United States: A Comparative Analysis

Prayas Sutar in India, Summer 2023 The purpose of my trip was to do a preliminary historical survey of the science education policies of post-independent India. I visited three archives and four libraries across three cities in India. Most of my time was spent in Delhi where I surveyed the Prime Ministers Museum and Library Society, the National Archives of India, the Central Secretariat Library, and the NITI Aayog Library. I also got to spend some time at the Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis Memorial Museum and Library and the Meghnad Saha Archive at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata. Finally, I concluded my trip by visiting the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Archives in Mumbai.

Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya I discovered several relevant documents in the archives and the libraries that will help me sketch the history of science education policymaking in India since 1947 and how it has changed under the influence of neoliberal principles since the 1980s.  I collated published and unpublished manuscripts of scientists, bureaucrats, and politicians which I am in the process of analyzing for my dissertation. I am particularly intrigued by the manuscripts of P.C. Mahalanobis and Montek Singh Ahluwalia who played pivotal roles in economic planning in two different eras i.e., before and after 1980. Their divergent approach to economic policymaking is reflected in the science education policymaking in the two eras. My archival work will help me highlight this connection in my research.

Other than visiting archives, I also took the opportunity to meet with professors and graduate students in my field. My discussions with them have helped me draw further connections to current research on the history of science education and the education policy of Indian scholars. Finally, my visit to India allowed me to spend some time with my friends and family. The financial support from the Global Engagement Office covered most of my expenses during my visit to India for which I am grateful.