Recognising the need to move from the conventional rote ways of studying science to application-based learning, where students learn how to apply academic concepts to solve real-life problems, we are running a programme called Jigyaasa (curiosity). Running with support from Siemens Ltd. in Maharashtra, Goa and West Bengal, we designed this initiative to build scientific temper among students by promoting curiosity-based learning using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. It focuses on students from Grade VII to Grade X studying in Government and Government-aided schools.
As part of this initiative, teachers in the intervention schools are provided training in innovative STEM methodologies and are consistently oriented to promote inquiry-based pedagogical practices in classrooms. Students are encouraged to identify real-life problems that need a solution and are then capacitated to prepare science and digital projects – all using waste material. Thus, we strengthen their applied learning and creative problem-solving skills, which promises to advance innovation and the spirit of entrepreneurship in the long run. Subsequently, students exhibit these projects during science fairs held at school, city and state levels.
In Maharashtra, the Jigyaasa initiative runs in 116 schools spread across six cities: Aurangabad, Mumbai, Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Pune and Thane. We have organised 89 school-level science fairs in the State, where 4,179 students prepared and presented 3,292 projects, including a remote-controlled robotic car, a steam engine generator and a railway-barrier-accident-prevention model. Besides, 38 schools participated in city-level science fairs that had 93 exceptional projects displayed. We are implementing Jigyaasa in ten schools in Goa and in nine schools in Kolkata, West Bengal. All schools in Goa have had science fairs at the school level and have participated in the state-level fair. As a result, 477 creative science and digital models were presented at these fairs. In Kolkata, science fairs have been held in six intervention schools where 187 projects were displayed.
As part of the Jigyaasa programme, we are working with nearly 370 science teachers across all intervention schools, reaching out to more than 38,000 students (data as of December 31, 2022).