Sprouting Scientific Minds

Sprouting Scientific Minds

As the new academic year begins, it’s time for students to get involved in various supplementary activities that facilitate their all-round development. And the scientifically inclined among the students look forward to the National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) organises the Children’s Science Congress.

NCSTC is an apex organisation of the Government of India that endeavours to popularise science and technology by stimulating scientific and technological disposition. NCSTC has been founded by Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. The State Science Council of all the States along with prominent NGOs working in the field of science are the members of this organisation.

The Children’s Science Congress is an annual national event that culminates at the end of the year with participation from all the states in India. Meritorious and innovative projects are selected for district congress, state congress and national convention. Each state also sends two delegates to the Annual Session of the Indian Science Congress.

The Congress is organised each year in almost all districts across India. The number of schools participating has been growing with each year. The Congress is an opportunity for brilliant young scientists (between 10 to 17 years of age) to:

  • work in teams under a guide on an identified theme
  • select a problem from the neighbourhood
  • develop a hypothesis and conduct field research
  • see patterns in data and prepare a report
  • present findings before peer group in one’s own language.

Like last year, the focal theme selected for this year’s congress is "Food Systems towards Nutrition for all" and sub-themes are:

  1. Production and improvement in food and animal husbandry
  2. Storage of agricultural produce
  3. Traditional Knowledge and Modern Technology
  4. Animal husbandry for financial stability
  5. Nutrition & Nutritional requirements
  6. Food Safety and Food adulteration

Last year, Thane city created a record with as many as seven of its projects reaching level of the national convention of the Congress. Another national record for Thane at last year’s Congress was that one of its schools, the Saraswati Secondary School, sent 48 entries to the Congress – the highest number of entries from any single school! "We have loads of talent in our city. I don’t see any reason why city students would not repeat the excellent performance this year too," asserts Surendra Dighe who is the state coordinator for the Congress. Dighe was recently elected on the national governing body of the NCSTC. He is the managing trustee of the city-based Jidnyasa Trust, which is actively involved in welfare of students.

Students who wish to participate can form groups of three to five. Each group is expected to work on the field and use scientific methods to collect, analyse and interpret data. On the basis of their, findings they would then write a thesis in about five hundred to seven hundred words. At the District Congress presentation, which will be held October 02, 2003, the group leader will present the project in eight minutes, followed by a question-answer session that will last for seven minutes. The winning projects would be sent to the State Level Congress.

The state level Congress will be held in two parts – November 29 and 30, 2003 in western Maharashtra and December 06 and 07, 2003 in Vidarbha & Marathwada. The Big Finals – the National Children’s Science Congress – will be held between December 27 and December 31, 2003 at Lucknow.

For those interested, the last date for submitting the forms is August 30, 2003. For further details, please contact the Jidnyasa Trust on 25403857.

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