Background :In many ways, India is a unique country. India is a developing country among developednations, but a developed one among developing countries. The current population ofIndia is about 1.2 billion, out of which roughly 70% population is rural. The overallliteracy is about 65% and 60% of Indian population is below the age of 25 years. Now there is an urgent need for more people with science qualifications to satisfy the growingneeds of industry and economy. With low literacy rate and higher proportion of ruraland younger population, it is obvious that there is an urgent need to develop scientific outlook among students and rural population of India is to become a developed countryby 2020. With this objective in mind, the Orissa Rationalist Association was started inRourkela by a group of engineers, scientists and concerned citizens in the year 1998.

Objective :The main aims and objectives of the Orissa Rationalist Association are as follows :a) To make Article 51 A (h) of the Indian constitution a reality. Article 51 A–(h) states"It is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper,humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform."b) Convince people to adopt scientific approach towards all problems faced in day today life and analyse them in scientific way and arrive at rational conclusions.c) Building up mental attitude which accepts supremacy of reason without beinginfluenced by any dogma, scripture, custom or convention. d) Urging upon the people tounderstand the significance of human and cultural values based on rational outlook.e) Striving for a system of education which upholds the ideals of secularism, equality,fraternity and freedom of expression.f) Creating Cultural Revolution in human life by educating people to fight relentlesslyagainst superstition, ignorance and build up a society which discards all unreasonableestablishments/beliefs.

Methods :The following methods are adopted by the Orissa Rationalist Association to developscientific outlook among school students of Rourkela and rural population of thesurrounding villages.

1 Organizing a "Scientific Aptitude Test" among school students of Rourkela (presently, once a year). The winners are awarded attractive prizes at a glittering function.

2 Conducting a "Debate Competition" (Presently, once a year) on some burning topic related to science and society. The winners are awarded attractive prizes at a glittering Annual Function.

3 Inviting renowned scientists and rationalists of National and International repute to address public meetings in schools, colleges and surrounding villages in order to develop scientific outlook and remove superstitions.

Results : Personal interviews and questionnaire surveys have shown highly encouraging results in developing scientific outlook among school students, their parents and the rural people who participate in the activities listed above. We are trying to develop more precise methods to measure the effectiveness of our programmes.

Conclusions: We have made a small beginning in developing scientific outlook among school students and rural population with our limited financial and manpower resources, but obtained very encouraging results. Now we are trying to increase the frequency and scope of our programmes and also introduce some new activities in the future. Our model can easily be replicated in other developing countries of the world.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Developing scientific outlook among students and rural population -a case study

Banamali KarIspat   English Medium School

Background :In many ways, India is a unique country. India is a developing country among developednations, but a developed one among developing countries. The current population ofIndia is about 1.2 billion, out of which roughly 70% population is rural. The overallliteracy is about 65% and 60% of Indian population is below the age of 25 years. Now there is an urgent need for more people with science qualifications to satisfy the growingneeds of industry and economy. With low literacy rate and higher proportion of ruraland younger population, it is obvious that there is an urgent need to develop scientific outlook among students and rural population of India is to become a developed countryby 2020. With this objective in mind, the Orissa Rationalist Association was started inRourkela by a group of engineers, scientists and concerned citizens in the year 1998.

Objective :The main aims and objectives of the Orissa Rationalist Association are as follows :a) To make Article 51 A (h) of the Indian constitution a reality. Article 51 A–(h) states"It is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper,humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform."b) Convince people to adopt scientific approach towards all problems faced in day today life and analyse them in scientific way and arrive at rational conclusions.c) Building up mental attitude which accepts supremacy of reason without beinginfluenced by any dogma, scripture, custom or convention. d) Urging upon the people tounderstand the significance of human and cultural values based on rational outlook.e) Striving for a system of education which upholds the ideals of secularism, equality,fraternity and freedom of expression.f) Creating Cultural Revolution in human life by educating people to fight relentlesslyagainst superstition, ignorance and build up a society which discards all unreasonableestablishments/beliefs.

Methods :The following methods are adopted by the Orissa Rationalist Association to developscientific outlook among school students of Rourkela and rural population of thesurrounding villages.

1 Organizing a "Scientific Aptitude Test" among school students of Rourkela (presently, once a year). The winners are awarded attractive prizes at a glittering function.

2 Conducting a "Debate Competition" (Presently, once a year) on some burning topic related to science and society. The winners are awarded attractive prizes at a glittering Annual Function.

3 Inviting renowned scientists and rationalists of National and International repute to address public meetings in schools, colleges and surrounding villages in order to develop scientific outlook and remove superstitions.

Results : Personal interviews and questionnaire surveys have shown highly encouraging results in developing scientific outlook among school students, their parents and the rural people who participate in the activities listed above. We are trying to develop more precise methods to measure the effectiveness of our programmes.

Conclusions: We have made a small beginning in developing scientific outlook among school students and rural population with our limited financial and manpower resources, but obtained very encouraging results. Now we are trying to increase the frequency and scope of our programmes and also introduce some new activities in the future. Our model can easily be replicated in other developing countries of the world.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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