Blame it on the poor infrastructure in the education sector or whatever, well-equipped laboratories are still a far cry and scientific research is ‘news’ to school students.

To bridge the gap and kindle interest on higher research among schoolchildren, Sri Venkateswara University is launching a special programme as a vacation course for this summer.

While such programmes are available abroad, this is said to be for the first time that an Indian university is making a tailor-made programme for schoolstudents.

Titled ‘Prajna’ (Promotion of Research Awareness to Juveniles by Nurturing with Academicians), the initiative helps school students work in the varsity’s science labs. Though Vice-Chancellor W. Rajendra formally inaugurated the programme, it will actually be held from May 15 to June 30.

“The students can get hands-on skill practices under the programme,” said DST-PURSE coordinator and a professor of virology D.V.R. Sai Gopal.

“The programme will help the students become eminent scientists in future,” said S. Buddhudu, professor of physics.

V. Rajagopal, formerly Director of Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, said dissemination of research information, especially pertaining to agricultural research, among students will help create interest on farming and thus food security issues.

Interestingly, a student from the USA has booked a slot in the varsity’s virology lab this summer.

The students can get hands-on skill practices through this programme