IIT-Bombay has started an outreach programme in which school students will be given a tour of the institute’s labs once a month. The purpose of the programme is to make science popular among school students. While IIT-Bombay has an annual tech and cultural fest, where people from all walks of life can attend events at one of the premier institutes of the country, in the outreach programme, students will be able to see the research being done by the scholars there. Since February, IIT-Bombay has hosted two groups of school students and introduced them to the research being conducted in its labs.
In February, at least 40 class XI students from migrant schools in Jammu and Kashmir and their teachers visited the IIT-B campus for five days. The students saw the labs and were briefed about some of the research work by PhD scholars. Afterwards, they attended science and sky watching workshops, among other co-curricular activities.
A month later, class XI students from Bombay Scottish School spent an afternoon at IIT-B. The students visited laboratories, conducted experiments and interacted with IIT-B faculty, said Abhijit Majumder, assistant professor at the Chemical Engineering department, who spearheaded the programme.
“This is just the beginning of what we visualise as a full-fledged year-long outreach programme, where we could host as many as 50-60 school or college students per month. The idea is to give students an exposure to our research work. We hope this will encourage students to pursue scientific research as a career,” said Majumder.
According to Majumder, such interactions also help the research community on campus. “We get to evaluate our work through the eyes of young students, who are uninhibited and provoke us to think differently,” he said.
Devang Khakhar, director, IIT-B, said the institute is planning an outreach programme where the campus is made more accessible to school and college students and teachers. “We are in the process of formalising the outreach programme to popularise science among students. We hope that if students get a peek at what goes on here, it will encourage them to try their hand at science, too,” he said.