Mobile science lab sparks learning among Gadchiroli tribal children


With the aim of making children interested and inquisitive about basic science subjects like chemistry, physics and biology, Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district administration has launched Project Vigyan mobile science lab.

The lab housed in a big bus has scientific and mathematical formulae painted all over it and caters to 16 Government schools of Etapalli, Bhamragad and Dhanora blocks of the district. Going down the forested area, its arrival is eagerly awaited by young tribal children for whom the lab sparks curiosity to know more about science and the world.

Students belonging to the 16 Ashram schools (residential schools that provide education to children of Scheduled Tribes up to secondary level) through the lab are provided complementary lessons about varied topics. These include Darwin’s evolution, ISRO’s reach into outer space, carbon sequestration, soil regeneration and water recharge among others thereby covering standard topics and also contemporary issues which are meaningful for carbon credit and biodiversity markets.

The children are also told about astronomy and equipment used for study in that field and also climate change. Shubham Gupta, Assistant Collector Etapalli talking to Indian Masterminds said: “Our initiative was to develop a scientific temper. The core idea was to initiate curiosity among the kids. They must understand basic science and question everything. It is a positive sign that children are taking keen interest in PV and are happy.”

Inside the science lab bus there are equipment like resistor, telescope, and test tubes and also a television set that shows videos and documentaries. The students are guided by three teachers who are called “fellows”. The three have been provided The Teach Climate and Science Fellowship which gives them a 12-month opportunity to work with IAS officers.

Moving from one school to another, the bus halts at each institution for a period of seven days. The PV mobile science has had a positive effect on the students as it has stemmed the high dropout rate in Ashram schools.

According to Gupta, impressed by a 1990 project of Vidnyanvahini, a not-for-profit organisation that started a mobile science lab for Pune students, he decided to launch PV bus.

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