As part of Department of Science and Technology’s latest initiative, 60 girl students of Class XI, especially from rural Maharashtra, will get training under leading women scientists in the country. The initiative, ‘Vigyan Jyoti’, is likely to be rolled out sometime in June. While the state has 14 centres in total, the department has chosen Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay as nodal centres to host the month-long programme. Each centre will intake 30 students.
The programme aims at identifying girl students at both school and college levels having keen aptitude for science and engineering. This intervention programme was finalised during a meeting held in September last year between members representing All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Statistical Institute, Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology, Anna University, IISER, Pune, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (IGDTUW) and Indian Institute of Technology across New Delhi, Bombay, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Palakad, Jodhpur, Gandhinagar and Mandi.
“This is the newest initiative taken to boost women participation in the field of scientific research and engineering, both areas where there are fewer women representations. During the pilot phase this year, students studying in Class XI will be selected,” Vandana Singh, head of Women’s Science Programmes at DST told The Indian Express.
While the programme also caters to girls starting high-school level, but this year it will begin with Class XI students.
On the budget sanctioned and nature of the month-long residential programme, Singh added: “Each centre has been granted Rs 15 lakh. This will also include a stipend amount of Rs 5,000 for girl students. They will mainly be engaged in various science lectures, visits to scientific laboratories and institutes — where they can learn about numerous streams of science and get closer to witnessing actual research in labs — all undertaken by women scientists.”
On latest preparations initiated by IISER Pune, nodal officer G Ambika said, “The centre has received the sanctioned budget of Rs 15 lakh. We will chalk out the schedule for the programme and IISER’s Science Outreach Cell will help us in identifying students.”
The Department of Science and Technology has organised a meeting with all nodal centres in next few weeks, during which the final schedule of the programme will be decided. When asked about the criteria to select students, Ambika said, “We will primarily look at the Class X scores along with understanding their aptitude towards both science and engineering. We will keep the programme multi-lingual so that all students will benefit.”
Besides science, the girls will also be imparted with computational and communication skills during this programme so that there is an overall development of the students.