Science competition for children in the Northeast promotes spirit of inquiry

Sci-Connect is aimed at developing an interest in science among students in the region.

Sarupa, a resident of Janki Bazar in remote Hailakandi district of Assam, was happy as her team got first place in Sci-Connect 2018, a science competition for children in the north-eastern states. It came as a big achievement for class 8th student whose father is a farmer. Sarupa’s life goal is to become a scientist.

The levels of enthusiasm were high among participants from Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, who had gathered here this week for the pre-final and final of the competition organized by Vigyan Prasar. While the team from Assam won the first prize, those from Mizoram and Tripura got second and third rank respectively. State science and technology minister Sudip Roy Burman gave away the prizes to winning teams.

Science competition for children in the Northeast promotes spirit of inquiry

Children participating in quiz during Sci-Connect program in Gangtok. Image Courtesy: ISW/Jyoti Singh

Sci-Connect is aimed at developing an interest in science among students in the region. It includes activities such as film screening, popular science lectures, interaction with scientists, written exams, science quiz, and science drama. Participants are shown science films and asked questions about them. Some questions are also based on school curriculum.

The films included biographies of eminent scientists like SN Bose and JC Bose, and themes like network theory, probability, calculus, Large Hadron Collider, climate change and relativity. A set of CDs of science films were sent to registered schools, which were screened to the students. Hands-on demonstrations by experts make the learning joyful for students.

"This initiative can be helpful in inculcating science temperament among students of remote areas as well as creating a vision in new generation to fight challenges such as climate change and pollution,” said Sudip Roy Burman, Minister of Science and Technology, Tripura.

Kapil Tripathi, a senior scientist from Vigyan Prasar, told India Science Wire that “around 9000 students were registered in Sci-Connect program in which average 150 schools were involved from each state. Best 15 students from each state were selected for the second level of competition.”  This competition has emerged as a resource for the popularisation of science and has been filmed and will be broadcast on Doordarshan in the future.

Renewable energy expert Dr Shantipada Gon Chowdhary, who interacted with children, said "such efforts are much needed in North-Eastern states as students here are living in the hinterlands. Sci-Connect provides a platform to students of various states to interact with each other. Children get an opportunity to ask questions. Their curiosity is being reflected in their questions."

Sachin C. Narwadia, coordinator of Sci-Connect said "last year 6000 students participated in the competition. This time the number of students and the level of competitors was improved vastly. Northeast is full of talent, which does not get a proper forum. The purpose of this initiative is to promote that talent. "

(India Science Wire)

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