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Access to science

Published : Nov 04, 2011 00:00 IST

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Dr T.V. Venkateswaran, Head of Audio-Visual Department, Vigyan Prasar:

FOR scientific temper to percolate into society, the foremost prerequisite is to make science and its public face, technology, accessible to the public at large. Time and again, studies have shown that ordinary people seek quick remedies only when a better alternative is inaccessible or not available. We have seen people administering vaccines to their children when mass campaigns such as the pulse polio programme take the facility to their doorsteps.

Secondly, rote learning in our schools hardly helps in building skills or shaping a scientific attitude. Revamping the way we teach science in schools is a paramount task before us. Until now science popularisation involved only questions such as what are we' and what is the universe made of', and attempted to satisfy only people's cultural needs. The science and technology aspects of people's socio-economic needs for example, safe use of pesticides and rational use of fertilizers have been hitherto treated as part of simple extension' work, a set of instructions to farmers, or dissemination of mere know how'. If we wish to nurture scientific temper through empowerment, then we at Vigyan Prasar think it is important to communicate the know why' to them. We have launched an initiative to reach the unreached'.

(This story was published in the print edition of Frontline magazine dated Nov 04, 2011.)

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