Gandhinagar: Science is a source of wonder, excitement, and fascination for all children – expressed Dr. Praveen Arora, Advisor and Head, National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Dept of Science & Technology, Government of India at the inaugural session of the four-day Gujarat State Level Children Science Congress today.
Inaugurating the programme through a virtual platform Dr Praveen Arora explained that by exploring, experimenting and thinking about the world around them, children acquires different skills that last a lifetime, regardless of their career plans.
He urged the teachers and parents to take an active role in inspiring curiosity among children for a life-long learning. He expressed his happiness on the way GUJCOST provides a platform for the child scientists in preparing their research projects and its presentation before the expert committee at district and state level, amid the COVID 19 pandemic situation.
Gujarat Council on Science & Technology (GUJCOST) working under the aegis of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of Gujarat is the state coordinating organisation to conduct National Children Science Congress program in collaboration with NCSTC, DST, Govt of India.
GUJCOST has successfully organised orientation programmes to train the teachers, students in July 2020 for the preparation and presentation of qualitative projects on the focal theme “Science for Sustainable Living”.
The focal theme has five sub-themes, including (i) Ecosystem for sustainable living, (ii) Appropriate Technology for sustainable living, (iii) Social Innovation for sustainable living, (iv) Design, Development, Modelling and planning for sustainable living, and (v) Traditional Knowledge system for sustainable living
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Kannan Srinivasan, Director, Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar informed that driven by curiosity, children seek to explore the world. At no time in life is curiosity more powerful than in early childhood. He has given an invitation to all child scientist to visit his institution for a better exposure of science and research.
Dr. Lalit Sharma, Chairman, National Academic Committee of NCSC Program congratulated the child scientists as they come up with their innovative ideas in this challenging time to showcase their concern and courage for societal problems. He explained how the theme of the NCSC program show the way during the COVID 19 pandemic times in discovering appropriate ways and means for sustainable living. He also advised the child scientists to adopt the new normal practices and to convert all challenges to opportunities in life.
Ms. Moira Dawa, Communication Specialist, UNICEF – India in her address informed that the UNICEF is working to educate and empower the children all over the world for future. Program like Children Science Congress encourage the children to sense the innovation and discovery in science and technology.
Shri Bharat Pathak, former Director GEER Foundation and State Academic Coordinator, NCSC program gave a brief report on the student’s participation at the district level as well as their creative problem statements. He expressed that the method of science encompasses all aspects of communicable human knowledge and cuts across all artificial compartmentalisation like natural science, social science, applied sciences and so on.
Earlier, Dr. Narottam Sahoo, Advisor, GUJCOST welcomed the dignitaries and the child scientists and compliments for the efforts of all to motivate and groom the child scientists during the lockdown period. In his opening remark, Dr Sahoo informed that the Children Science Congress program seems to be the best process for practicing the method of science that constitutes a regenerative process for collecting information and processing the collected information to create meaningful conclusion that may lead to an invention or discovery.
This year a total of 901 projects were registered by child scientists at all 33 districts in the state. Out of this 772 were shortlisted for presentation at the district level competition and finally 156 projects got selection for the state level competition. This includes the participation of 70 boys and 86 girls in the state level programme.
During earlier years, only 26 child scientists are allowed to represent the state at the final level NCSC programme, but with the consistent request of GUJCOST, NCSTC-DST, Govt of India has given approval for the increase quota this year from 26 to 33 child scientists in the state as per the new revenue districts. The increase number of projects has given cheers to the child scientists in their mission of the state.
Children and Science can bring great wonders. It can transform grains of sand into microchips, which are the brains behind our computers. It can be used in spacecraft they can travel billions of miles through the solar system to visual distant planets. Science can be used to produce antibiotics and vaccines to fight deceases like COVID 19 and so on. This is the approach of thousands of child scientists in Gujarat, both in rural and urban areas, who are participating in the Gujarat State Level Children Science Congress programme this year to explore the unexplored.
The four days programme includes presentations by child scientists, popular science talks by eminent scientists, teacher workshops, cultural presentation along with inaugural and valedictory sessions.
Dr. R. D. Kamboj, IFS, Director, GEER Foundation, Gandhinagar, Mr. Kumar Manish, State YuWaah Consultant (Gujarat), UNICEF India, Er. Sujeet Banerjee, Scientist F and National Coordinator NCSC, NCSTC-DST, Govt of India, Dr. B. K. Tyagi, Vigyan Prasar, Scientist F, Vigyan Prasar, Ms. Monica Yadav, RESPIRE Experimental Learning, Dr. Ayesha Chaudhary, programme Director, Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, and Dr. Pankaj Srivastava, Scientist, F, CSIR HQ, New Delhi will conduct different interactive sessions during the four-day programme.
A pool of 15 eminent scientific jury members from different premier institutions in the state are invited to evaluate the presentations by the child scientists during the programme.
The programme is coordinated by Dr. Poonam Bhargava, Principal Scientific Officer, Mr. Jatin Pandya, Scientific Officer, Ms. Bhumi Shah, Ms. Ami Meghal, Ms. Riddhi Dhruv, and Ms. Janvi Bhavsar, Project Assistants of GUJCOST.