Since its inception, Thardeep Rural Development Progamme (TRDP) is piloting and promoting elementary education in its programme area. Being a member of the Thar Education Alliance, TRDP was invited to discuss the idea of arranging the Thar Science Festival in February this year. The idea was very challenging since Thar had never witnessed such a mega event before. Math and science remains crucial for development and the younger generation has an important role to play in the development of their communities through the application of mathematical and scientific ideas.
Keeping in mind that there are many students who wish to put into practical shape things that they learn but rarely find the platforms to exhibit and showcase their talent, it was always good to give the students a chance to do so.
The event, therefore, became a foundation stone for making improvements in education in Thar. The team not only started a media campaign but also approached every school in Thar to ask them to support the students in presenting something that they had learned. Children were to be encouraged to be creative and do things that allowed them to put to use their capabilities and skills in such a way that it reflected their learning experience.
The event was designed to showcase interactive, visual and hands-on tools used to stimulate interest in math and sciences among diverse groups of people. The event targeted primary, secondary and high school students. It also consisted of interaction with prominent personalities of the region and discussions with them. The Thar Science Festival held in the lap of sand dunes provided a great platform to students and their schools to do things differently and test their skills set in a manner afresh.
It was not just the students who were involved wholly in the exercise but the parent’s enthusiasm remained at the highest and they were keen to know how their children were performing. The festival proved to be a good way to identify those students with an aptitude for science. The talented ones were given a platform so their respective schools recognized what they could offer and get special attention from their respective institutions. It is not enough for students to learn lessons from textbooks alone, but they need adequate space and opportunities to discover their own talents which they can then showcase on a platform
The writer is a development professional
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