He's the lead intro for an article in Newsweek on 'Sexing up science'.
Though his job in this parliamentary nation is largely ceremonial, Kalam, a newspaper boy turned aeronautical engineer who stewarded India's guided-missile program, has made it his mission to raise his country to glory through scientific scholarship. He travels from school to school, exhorting students to hit the books and excel at science.
Article talks about the 'developing world's' hunger for science - 3,00,000 engineers a year from India alone and twice that number from China - while western standards in the same are dropping. Having read the article, i'd say it tends to potray a bleak picture for the west though as it notes:
But,A recent study by Duke University showed that while developing countries often inflate the numbers of science scholars, the United States still employs nearly a third of the world's science and engineering researchers, publishes 35 percent of science and engineering articles and generates 40 percent of research and development spending.
In middle and high schools, where the spark of scientific curiosity begins, the majority of students can't be bothered to take advanced math or physics.
Well, i don't think that's the case in India as well. It's just that we are compartmentalized into taking either Arts, Commerce or Science immediately after junior high school. And due to being a 'safe and respectable' option the top rung take up 'Science'. It's not some great interest in understanding how things work that someone takes up science. Run of the mill. But that's changing now. A lot more top students, especially since the 90s are starting to at least take up 'Commerce'. 'Arts' still remains the rich-man's-son or civil-services-aspirant arena.
I am still waiting for the day students in India can combine streams and be better rounded individuals. Given a chance i would have taken a combination of courses in Sanskrit, History, Statistics, Philosophy, Math and Physics. But all i did was do ONLY Physics with some math in my undergraduation.