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Maharashtra: Now, govt to start science centres in schools across state to promote student interest

While schools with more students will be given priority, funds will be submitted to the accounts of school management committees.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai |
May 20, 2015 5:07:52 am

To inculcate a culture of innovation and reasoning and make science interesting for students, the state government has decided to start mini science centres across state government, aided and zila parishad schools.

According to a state government official, even as the formal education system is expanding as per requirements and curriculum improvements are routinely attempted, a need was felt to put in conscious efforts to make students curious about science and create opportunities to do hands-on activities.

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“Those who want to learn more need to be provided with facilities, resource material and guidance. Hence, it was decided to launch a scheme whereby mini science centres will start from the 2015-16 financial year,” said the official.

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According to the guidelines issued by the School Education and Sports Department, schools will have to create a 500 sqft room and appoint one instructor, who can either be a lab assistant or a science teacher. Each centre will have to stock and maintain scientific equipment related to subjects like astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics, among others. Each centre will require funding to the tune of Rs 1.85 lakh, which includes Rs 1 lakh for scientific models, Rs 25,000 for conducting workshops for teachers, besides Rs 25,000 each for maintenance and supervision among other costs.

There are about one lakh primary and secondary schools across Maharashtra, which has 1.80 crore students and 6.70 lakh teachers. Only those schools which comply with norms under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will be eligible for the scheme. While schools with more students will be given priority, funds will be submitted to the accounts of school management committees. The project will be implemented through the Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training. “The traditional chalk and talk method of teaching science hardly ever interests students. Hence, it’s important that we create the right opportunities to develop a scientific temperament among them. It’s an initiative in the right direction, but the plan should not remain on paper. Also, for schools in rural areas, the right infrastructure needs to be created.

The activities at these science centres could be unstructured and students, instead of being confined to books,  could engage via experiments and discussions. It could be like a tinkerer’s lab where students can enjoy limitless hands-on experience and spend hours discovering and experimenting,” said a science teacher from a CBSE-affiliated school in the city.

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