The five-day State school science fair got under way here on Monday.

As many as 5,305 students are exhibiting their skills and inventions in science, mathematics, information technology and social science at six venues in and around the town.

Inaugurating the event at the Government Vocational Higher Secondary School here in the afternoon, Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb said education today was being linked to entrepreneurship as formal education in regular streams was not enough. The focus today was what each student could do in science and technology. The fair was meant to promote the innovative skills of students.

He said the State government was giving added importance to the entrepreneurship programme. The Start-up Village set up in Ernakulam was part of its commitment to encourage entrepreneurship among youngsters.

“Our children and youngsters today have skills beyond what we think they have,” Mr. Rabb said. Those skills had to be brought out for social good.

He said the prize money for winners at the fair would be made on a par with that of the State school arts festival, doubling it from Rs. 1,000, Rs. 800 and Rs. 600, respectively, for the first, second and third place. From next year, the fair would be renamed the State science fest.

Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan, who presided over the function, stressed the importance of promoting a scientific temper among students. He called for measures to check the harmful uses of technology.

Sunny Joseph, MLA, municipal chairperson Roshni Khalid, and Higher Secondary Director Keshvendra Kumar were present.

The exhibitions and contests, including on-the-spot events, will begin on Tuesday. The higher secondary school at Chovva will host science fair and IT fair; Anglo-Indian Girls’ Higher Secondary School, mathematics fair; C.H. Memorial Higher Secondary School, Elayavur, social science fair; St. Michael’s Anglo-Indian Boys Higher Secondary School, work experience fair; and the Town Square, vocational exhibition and career fest.

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