Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology, is considering to launch a number of initiatives to make science more meaningful, both for children and adults.

To start with, it is working to make the member schools of VIPNET (Vigyan Prasar Network) Science Club more active. “We have 12,000 schools who are members of our network. But, in most schools science clubs only act as sign board,” said Anuj Sinha, Director, Vigyan Prasar. He was in Chennai on Friday to present the Children's Science Academy awards and participate in a workshop on creating manuals for the science clubs.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said the manuals would offer help in terms of starting, managing, reporting, among other aspects, a science club. The English manuals would be ready by the end of June and later, they would be brought out in other languages, he said.

According to Mr. Sinha, “the broadcast method” so far adopted to promote science clubs was not generating enough responses. For the rural community, the department is envisaging ways so that issues of climate change and bio-diversity are understood better. Similarly, for the tribal community it plans to bring out booklets in the local language about issues affecting them.

“Through all these efforts we are trying to integrate these sections of our society into making informed decision thus promoting science,” said Mr. Sinha.

Ecologist Sultan Ahmed Ismail, who is one of the resource persons helping to design the manual, said the stress is on simple tasks through which the concepts can be understood better. Simple experiments such as how to calculate a tree's bark, recycling paper, conservation and biodiversity would be part of the activities, he said.

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