The science wing of the RSS, Vijnana Bharti, has brought on board several Union ministries, scientific and educational institutions to launch a programme that plans to connect some 10,000 scientists with 10 lakh students to boost science research across India. Students from Class VI-XII will be mentored by scientists to undertake research in areas of their interest. The programme will be launched on October 15, the birth anniversary of former President A P J Abdul Kalam.
“Many students have scientific interests but in the absence of suitable guidance, they are unable to realise their dreams. We want to build a scientific community and take the country to the pinnacle of science research,” A Jayakumar, the Vijnana Bharti secretary-general, told The Indian Express. Jayakumar is an RSS pracharak for over three decades. Ashutosh Sharma, secretary in the Department of Science and Technology, M Rajeevan, secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences, CSIR director-general Girish Sahni, Indian Council of Medical Research director-general Soumya Swaminathan are among the patrons of the programme.
Among the programme’s advisors are Niti Aayog member V K Saraswat, who is the chairperson of the advisory team. Other advisors include ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar, the scientific advisor to defence minister G Satheesh Reddy, CBSE chairperson Rajesh Kumar Chaturvedi, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan commissioner Santosh Kumar Mall and NCERT director Hrushikesh Senapathy.
“We are helping them connect students with scientists and professors. It should be a transformative programme. The students can approach their mentors who can guide them,” Sharma said. The Hyderabad-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology will be the knowledge partner of the initiative and provide scientists. “We are shortlisting and identifying scientists for the mentorship programme. We want to have at least one school, with at least 20 students, in every district of the country enrolled for the programme. The first trial is complete,” S Chandrasekhar, the director of the institute, said.