The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (‘DIPP’), it would seem, is exceedingly keen on the Draft National IPR Policy’s recommendation to introduce ‘IP teaching’ in educational institutions. Even though is still doing the rounds in the ministers’ offices for comments, after which it shall be placed before the Cabinet for its approval, DIPP is already holding talks with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (‘NCERT’) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (‘CBSE’) to introduce the subject into the school curriculum from class 9.
It is also apparently considering discussions with the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the All India Council for Technical Education to introduce IPR as a subject in engineering colleges as well. And all this on the recommendations from the draft policy! One can only imagine how much more active its efforts will get once the policy is actually approved.
As per the DIPP’s statements, this is part of a wider policy being framed by the body to reduce time taken to process patent applications, create awareness about IPR, and encourage more Indian patent filings. While the ideal objectives are commendable, and perhaps crucial, due to the increasing importance of IPR, I cannot help but wonder how useful such a measure would actually be. Our existing education system is already beleaguered, to say the least, suffering multiple issues ranging from incorrect textbooks, a shocking lack of teachers – and perhaps the worst, under-qualified teachers! The DIPP must, then, try to ensure that the courses it is creating actually add value to the society, and do not end up suffering in the mire of what now passes for the Indian education system. It must also, in the process of creating this course, ensure that it does not conflate ‘IPR’ with ‘Innovation’.