Whizkids India

Whizkids India

As we approach the National round of Children’s Science Congress, Thane has reason to be proud. Out of the 15 projects selected to represent Maharashtra State at this national convention, seven have been prepared by city students. And this is no mean feat, considering the fact that over 800 projects entries were sent at the district level convention and 80 were selected for the state level convention.

This is first time that seven projects from one city have been selected for the national convention of the Children Science Congress, since it began in 1993. Another national record for Thane is that one of its schools, the Saraswati Secondary School, sent 48 entries to the Congress – the highest number of entries from any single school. While declaring the results, State Convener of the Congress, Surendra Dighe said, "This is a great achievement for Thane city and Thaneites should be proud of it"

To give you an idea of how painstakingly each project is developed, consider the project tilted "Anaemia" that was developed by Nachiket Kulkarni and his group from Saraswati Secondary School under the guidance of their teacher Suresh Jungle.

Their project revolved around the broad area of Food Management and Nourishment for All. In this light, they decided to study the food habits of financially backward boys aged between 10 and 14 years. The group prepared questionnaire and recorded the responses of 50 students selected randomly from TMC school no. 18 located in Dharamveer nagar and Sathewadi in Thane. With the help of the popular pathologist Dr. Gupte, they organised a blood investigation campaign for all the 50 students. Based on the blood report, specifically the haemoglobin count, the group concluded that the out of 50 children, 33 were anaemic and 21 of these were perilously anaemic.

Then, in order to verify their results, the group conducted similar investigations among 18 children belonging to the middle-income category and found that five of these were anaemic too. The group concluded that it is not just poverty, but also ignorance, that causes these boys to be malnourished.

The group then organised orientation programme to guide the children and parents, wherein experts were called in to speak. The experts suggested a number of "low-cost, high nutrition" alternatives to these financially deprived people so that their children derive all the necessary nutrients from their regular meals.

A number of voluntary organisation support the Congress in many ways specifically in developing activity books, organising training workshops for guide teachers, evaluating the research projects and coordinating the district and state level conventions. In Thane, Jidnyasa Trust is the organisation that that convenes the Congress at the state level.

The state level convention was held on November 30 and December 01 and was inaugurated by senior scientist and former vice-chancellor of University of Pune V G Bhide.

The National convention will be held later this month between December 27 and December 31 in Mysore. The President of India APJ Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the convention. Kalam is certainly the best individual to inaugurate this convention which will honour bright, young boys and girls.

Once, when Bharat Ratna winner Kalam was the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, he was called to attend a function. On his way out of the building, Dr. Abdul Kalam was approached by a group of awed students, one of who said "Dr. Kalamji, I want to become a scientist." The doctor answered with a question of his own. "Do you have a piece of paper?" The student eagerly retrieved paper and pen, ready to record the advice of this esteemed scientist. Dr. Abdul Kalam continued, "Write this down. Dream, dream, dream. Think, think, think. And then put that thought into action, action, action. OK?"

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