The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education. The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc. organise pre-service and in-service training of teachers; develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices; collaborate and network with state educational departments, universities, NGOs and other educational institutions; act as a clearing house for ideas and information in matters related to school education; and act as a nodal agency for achieving the goals related with the school education in the country. In addition to research, development, training, extension, publication and dissemination activities, NCERT is an implementation agency for bilateral cultural exchange programmes with other countries in the field of school education. The NCERT also interacts and works in collaboration with the international organisations, visiting foreign delegations and offers various training facilities to educational personnel from developing countries.
The Department of Education in Science and Mathematics (DESM) is a think-tank for Education in Science, Mathematics, Environment at the school stage (Upper Primary to Higher Secondary) and is responsible for carrying out research, development, training, evaluation and extension activities in these areas.
The Department carries out researches related to curriculum design, curriculum transaction, teaching-learning strategies and their impact, in Science, Mathematics and Environmental education and Computer Science at the school stage.
DESM also undertakes development of curriculum and curricular materials in Science, Mathematics and Environmental education on the basis of the collected feedback and contemporary changes from time to time. It also develops material for training of teachers and teacher-educators in Science, Mathematics and Environmental education.
The Department organises various training programmes for teachers and teacher-educators in Science, Mathematics and Environmental education.
Another significant area of the Department’s work is Science popularisation through Science Park; Herbal Garden; designing and development of Science and Mathematics laboratories; organization of various activities such as Seminars, Jawaharlal Nehru National Science, Mathematics and Environment Exhibition for Children (JNNSMEE); celebration of Science Day and publication of a quarterly journal “School Science”.
The Department assists and advises the Ministry of Education, Government of India and extends its cooperation and expertise to other Departments of NIE as well as other constituents of the NCERT, SCERT’s, State Boards of School Education and other State agencies in matters related to Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.
The DESM has faculty members from the disciplines of Botany, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Zoology.