Courtesy Assam Tribune
GUWAHATI, Sept 1 – The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), which in collaboration with eight partner institutes in the North-east initiated a countrywide programme, ‘DNA (DBT’s Natural Resource Awareness) Clubs’ for sensitization of the student community on the importance of bio-resources, their conservation and career opportunities in the scientific arena, will formally launch the ‘DNA Clubs: DBT-TERI mentoring schools of North-east’ at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra on September 3.
Currently, 191 schools have been covered under the DNA Club programme in Assam which is being implemented by the North-Eastern Regional Centre of TERI.
The objective of the venture is to make schoolchildren aware of the country’s rich natural resources and their immense potential for future development, as also the present trend of their conservation and management. With this novel cause as theme, the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, initiated the countrywide programme ‘DBT’s Natural Resources Awareness Clubs for School Children – The DNA Clubs’ for School Children.
The programme is being implemented in all the eight north-eastern States by TERI in collaboration with partner institutions such as Arunachal Pradesh State Council of Science & Technology; North-East Institute of Science & Technology, Imphal substation; Science, Technology, Environment & Planning Department, Mizoram; State Council of Science & Technology & Environment, Meghalaya; Nagaland Institute of Health, Environment and Social Welfare; State Council of Science &Technology for Sikkim, and Tripura Biotechnology Council.
The DNA club members are divided into two groups such as 6-8th standard and 9-12th standard with 40-60 student members per school. For the 6-8th standard groups the activities are on biodiversity and bio-resources in general, whereas the activities for 9-12th standard groups are primarily on biotechnology. The activities are defined in such a manner that they are extracurricular, yet oriented towards the curriculum.
Under this programme, laboratories have been established in 361 schools with facilities for computer education, taxonomic studies, microbiological and biotechnological experiment. Other activities of the programme include invited lectures from renowned contemporary scientists in the areas of biodiversity, social and cultural aspects of bio-resources, landscape characterization, species relationships, phylogeny, societal impact of biotechnology, etc.
The programme also includes exposure visits to biodiversity hotspots, national parks, and scientific biotechnological research institutions of national repute so as to encourage the students for pursuing biotechnological studies.
Students will also carry out hands-on activities and experimentation to encourage natural curiosity, creativity, scientific temper and problem-solving skills. In addition, various competitions such as essay writing, debate, quiz, painting, etc., will be conducted. Another highlight of the programme is the two-day ‘DNA Club Festival’ for facilitating exchange of their activities, ideas and achievement and participation in various competitions such as scientific model, debate, quiz, slogan writing, painting, drawing, etc.
Ten thousand students from 361 schools and 361 teachers are the direct beneficiaries from government, public and private schools under the programme. The secondary beneficiaries are expected to be more than 1,50,000 students and teachers.