Guwahati, Monday, November 3, 2014
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ASTEC grooming poor, bright pupils
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Nov 2 – With a view to support development of efficient learning strategies to strengthen personal motivation, sustain academic excellence and provide a platform for students from remote and far-flung areas of the State to imbibe a scientific spirit, the Science and Technology (S&T) Department has started a unique programme for grooming such children.

An S&T Department official told The Assam Tribune that the Assam Science Technology & Environment Council (ASTEC) has been entrusted to work as the implementing agency for the project for grooming of students and mentoring about 10 students in each block through the Aryabhatta Science Centres (ASC).

In the first phase, two blocks – Paschim Koliabor and Pub Nalbari – have been taken up for pilot studies.

“The project was taken up at Paschim Koliabor in July-August and in Pub Nalbari we have undertaken two programmes with two more to follow. The response has been encouraging so far and we expect to replicate the model in all the 219 blocks across the State,” a senior official said.

Under the project, ten students studying in Class VIII and IX from schools in a block are selected based on their academic performance and aptitude for grooming and mentoring by the block-level ASC.

A team of experts consisting of a psychologist, engineer, doctor, professor, administrator and a scientists groom and monitor the students.

The team of experts visit the ASC where the group interacts with the students during day-long programmes. Such interactions are supposed to take place four times a year and evaluation of students is done quarterly.

The local level monitoring and mentoring would be done by ASCs with support of local teachers and experts are to be contacted whenever necessary.

Such students would also be taken for exposure tours to engineering colleges, IIT Guwahati, Gauhati University, Regional Science Centre, Guwahati Planetarium and other such institutions once a year.

“The ASCs would support the students with necessary study material and also monitor the health as wells as nutrient intact of students, besides encouraging them to get involved in games and sports. During the programmes, they engage in science-based activities, including astronomy, mathematics, engineering, with hands-on experience to stimulate them to gain a scientific temperament,” said Dibyakanta (she uses only one name), Project Scientist, ASC, S&T division of ASTEC.

Dr RK Barman, Head (Incharge) of S&T division of ASTEC, said that the project has great potential for scouting talents among underprivileged students at a young age in far-flung areas of Assam through special attention for advancing scientific spirit in the State.

He said former Principal Secretary (S&T) Paban Borthakur played a major role in developing the concept for the project.

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