Taking science to people and people to science
Gujarat Council on Science & Technology

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Gujarat is primarily a state with citizens’ prime focus on business and entrepreneurship. Not much emphasis is laid on science & education. However, a need has been felt for application of Science & Technology as a modern tool for socio-economic revolution in the interest of all round and speedy development of Gujarat State. The application of Science & Technology is multilateral and spreads across all sectors including usages of latest technology in agriculture, engineering, industry, environment, rural development, public health and hygiene and education etc. Without appropriate science awareness and understanding, many people in the state, even both literate and illiterate, were got into the trap of a variety of superstitions and blind believe, leading to gender differences, poor health and sanitation, population growth, poor environment, energy crises and the overall progress of the society. There was an urgent need of active participation of the community members in the changing mindsets as well as decision making process for the integrated development of the society and the state. On the other hand, the new century is fast-paced and highly competitive. Each day, brings new and important decisions that will greatly impact the lives of the citizens and well into the future. Moreover, with the ever increasing complex information day by day, the society’s collective sense of science literacy is outdated; many people still think of scientific awareness as simply being informed about new advances, for example in medicine and technology. Scientific awareness and temperament are the foundation of an innovative culture and at the core of significant democratic decisions. Development of scientific temper and scientific attitude in daily life among the people are very much important for socio-economic development of the citizens of Gujarat State. It is also important and very much required to create awareness among the people about removal of prevailing superstitions from the society through scientific approach so that socio-economic development can take place.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Gujarat Council of Science & Technology (GUJCOST)working under the aegis of Department of Science & Technology, Government of Gujarat has taken the mantle to spread scientific temperament amongst the citizens of Gujarat with hands-on demonstrations and minds-on exposures. With innovative approach and meaningful implementation, GUJCOST has designed appropriate modules to taking science to people and people to science as the occupational capacity to apply information in an appropriate contest, to analyze information, to synthesize information from various sources or on various topics, and evaluate information to determine the best course of action. It is using that knowledge to make the best decisions possible for the students, teachers, researchers, community members and policy makers – now and for future generations. Gujarat Council on Science and Technology (GUJCOST) was established in September, 1986, to play a catalytic role in promoting the use of Science and Technology in the development process of the State. The S&T Council was constituted with a view to develop technologies appropriate to and in harmony with present conditions. The Council has been catalyzing interaction between developers and users of technologies, by bringing on a common platform to training Scientists and Engineers on the one hand and policy makers as well as administrators on the other and has emerged as an effective science education and large-scale science popularization platform in the State. GUJCOST has established 15 district Community Science Centers (CSCs) and 3 Regional CSCs for nurturing, disseminating and popularizing science among the society up to grass root level and identifying and implementing the precise scientific activities. In addition, there are 2000 GUJCOST Science Clubs in secondary and higher secondary schools, mainly in rural and remote areas have been created to spread science across the state. In the current financial year, GUJCOST has planned and initiated process to establish another 13 new CSCs in remaining districts of the State to spread the science across the State with a mission; Investing in science: Investing in the future.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
GUJCOST celebrates Science round the year. Every year on a regular basis, GUJCOST design and develop programs like National Student Science Seminar, National Science Drama Competition, National Rural IT Quiz, Western Region Science Exhibition, celebration of important science and technology days, birthdays of eminent scientists and technocrats and organizing mega events like science expo and science carnival, etc, where the CSC and Science Club schools take a central stage to take science at the forefront. Strategies adopted for bringing about the transformation and positive impact: Popularization of Science I. Community Science Centre (CSC) II. Organizing Seminar / Symposia / Workshop on cutting-edge of science and technology III. Design and development of scientific exhibitions, science quiz IV. National Student Science Seminar, National Science Drama, Celebration of S & T Days, National Rural IT Quiz V. Maths-Science Question-Answer Programme through SATCOM and Doordarshan VI. GUJCOST Science Club for science learning in an informal setup. Research & Development I. Establishing Centre of Excellence (COE) in emerging areas of Science & Technology II. Providing grant for Minor Research Project (MRP) on the location specific problems III. State INSPIRE Programme Student Science and Technology Project IV. Instituting Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Award in 5 disciplines for eminent scientists for their contribution Other Programmes/Projects I. Patent information Center (PIC) II. Gujarat State Innovation Council (GSInC)

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
At the beginning of year release of grants to the CSC centers and Science clubs. The annual grant is for 150 Lacs for 18 CSC centers and 1 Crore for 2000 science clubs spread across the Gujarat State. Each of the programmes and activities of the CSCs has a lot of creativity and innovation. The approach and methodology of designing such scientific programmes and outreach activities basically focused on informal community based learning and intended to enliven the imagination, foster creativity and develop a spirit of inquiry, especially in young minds. Then detailed Orientation meetings are held amongst the expert faculties and CSC coordinators to identify the priority areas of their respective regions. For e.g. the Baroda and Bharuch region CSCs, felt that the awareness to have plantations alongside the river is of utmost importance and hence awareness and community empowerment was taken on a mass scale to clean river flowing between Baroda and Bharuch. The involvements in this social economic drive are on a PPP model with private players, NGOs and academic institutions are available for implementation. Further, the Board has constituted Advisory Committees, Executive Committees, Purchase committees and Expert committees for fast execution, implementation and monitoring of the various programs and activities. The main elements of the action plan includes (i) knowledge of the substantive content of science among children and community members (ii) understanding scientific concepts and its applications in daily life (iii) knowledge of what counts as science as academic curriculum (iv) independence in learning science in informal set up (v) ability to think scientifically as scientific temperament (vi) ability to use scientific knowledge in problem solving (vii) knowledge needed for intelligent participation in science-based issues (viii) understanding the nature of science, including its relationship with culture (ix) appreciation of and comfort with science, including its wonder and curiosity (x) knowledge of the risks and benefits of science; and (xi) ability to think critically about science and to deal with scientific expertise.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
While the Department of Science & Technology, Government of Gujarat makes the fund available the involvements in this Social Economic drive is on a PPP model with private players, NGOs and academic institutions are available for implementation. Also, citizens including school going children, school drop-outs, rural youth, women, farmers, School teachers and the Senior citizens are the major stakeholders. The Council is an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act from 1-2-2000 and working under Department of Science & Technology. Hon’ble Minister of Education is the Chairman of the Council. The Administration and Management affair of the State S&T Council is inducted by the Governing Board headed by the Civil servant, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Government of Gujarat. As the State S&T Council, GUJCOST also received annual Core Support Grant form Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. GUJCOST has also established a country-wide network of scientific faculties and resource persons in various disciplines, who are being invited from time to time for necessary guidance and supervision of the programmes and activities.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Department of Science & Technology, Government of Gujarat provides the financial aid for the programmes and activities of the GUJCOST. The secretarial assistance including the salary for the staff members along with the office administration has been released by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India as Annual Core Support. GUJCOST releases its grants to the CSCs and Science Clubs at the beginning of year. For organizing different theme based seminars, symposiums, workshops at the local, state, national and international level by various college, university departments and other scientific institutions, GUJCOST releases financial supports periodically on the basis of their proposal and recommendation of the technical committee. The grant for Minor Research Projects has been released for the projects which has been examined, reviewed and recommended by the respective technical committees. The annual grant for 2013-14 is Rs.43.75 Lacs from Government of Gujarat and Rs.66.00 Lacs from the Government of India. There are regular orientation pogrammes, review meetings and follow ups for each of the programmes and activities at various levels and to measure the success indicators for each of the programmes.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
I. The National Council of Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Dept of Science & Technology, Govt of India has examined the impact of the CSC Rajkot and conferred with National Award for best effort in popularizing science and technology among children in 2009. II. The VigyanPrasar, Dept of Science & Technology, Govt of India has examined the in-depth activities and monitoring methodologies and adopting the same for its national science club programme across the country. VigyanPrasar has organized a brainstorming workshop with GUJCOST to adopt the implementation and monitoring methods for its VIPNET Science Clubs during 30-31st August 2012. III. The National Book Trust (NBT), Govt of India has studied the CSC projects and evaluated its impact making activities. NBT has pleased to offer its Reading Club concept in each of the CSCs in the State. IV. The Community Science Center platform in the state has also impressed the NCSTC-Network, an organization of 79 Government and Non-Governmental Organizations who has accord its membership to GUJCOST for its collaborative programme. V. More recently, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) has organized a national meet to understand the State S&T Council activities and to initiate collaborative programmes. VI. The reports of most of the science popularization programmes have been appreciated and uploaded at the UN websites, such as World Environment Day in UNEP, National Science Day at UNESCO, World Health Day at WHO, World Wetlands Day at Ramsar sites.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Board has constituted Advisory Committees, Executive Committees, Purchase committees and Expert committees for fast execution, implementation and monitoring of the various programs and activities. A Technical Expert Committee headed by Prof. Arun Dave, Former Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapitha, Ahmedabad with eight eminent experts have been evaluated the programs and activities of the CSCs as well as its societal impact and benefits during 2011-12. Periodical Review meetings including Quarterly & Annual Review meetings have been organized every year to evaluate and access the work and accountability of each of the CSC in a very rigorous manner. Also, representations of these CSCs in various workshops, seminars round the year, come under the scrutiny of the various committees formed. The research proposals also reviewed by the respective subject expert committees with presentation of the work as well as the research publications at the national and international repute journals of impact values.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Main Obstacles • Finding right people at grass-root level  people pro science • Synergy between industry and academia • Bringing the tribal population to mainstream of scientific education • Prevailing social stigma and superstitions Obstacles Overcome • Capacity building through Science Olympiads, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan teachers taken outside Gujarat and given exposure. • CSCs centers providing a platform in establishing synergy& commitment between Industry and Academia.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The status of scientific awareness and understanding among the school and college students as well as the common people in the state has been increasing significantly. This leads to develop a lead state in Science Literacy in the country. Frontier areas in S&T interventions have been explored such as Nanotechnology, Ceramic Science, Biotechnology, Earth Science, Space Science and Climate Change. The interest in science among the younger students has been increased. This has been reflected in the current enrolment in Std XI science and also in Undergraduate Science Courses. A significant number of Gujarati students are now participating in national and international Science Olympiads in different subjects like physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, biology, earth science and Junior Science Olympiad being organized by the DST and Department of Education, MHRD, Government of India. The programs and activities among the rural youth have been enhanced and so is their skill and confident level. The R&D activities among the young researchers and the faculties and professors have been increased. As a result, the scientists and young researchers are now publishing a significant number of research publications in the national and international repute journals with higher impact values. A record of 3310 programmes and activities have been conducted annually benefiting to 14,26,398 people per year at the District and Taluka level. The scientific awareness and understanding through CSC programs as well as college and university departments have also increased the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) with increased number of patent files in these days. A total of 31 eminent scientists and technocrats have received the prestigious Dr. Vikram A Sarabhai Award for their pioneering work in energy, environment, biotechnology, industry, and information technology. The Advisor of GUJCOST, Dr. Narottam Sahoo, has been selected as the Head Mentor to the delegation team of 28 students from IITs to participate in 6th Asian Science Camp at South Korea during 6-13 August 2013.The Director of Regional Community Science Center, Vadodara, Dr. Jitendra Gavali has been selected for the 3 week long Leadership Training program at U.K during Aug 2013.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Yes. The CSC centers spread across the State are becoming self- sustainable. They provide platforms for several public initiatives in the areas of Health, Education, and Environment etc. The respective Departments do provide monetary emoluments for utilizing the services of these CSCs. Also, these CSCs do provide a medium for exchange of dialogue on areas of regional concerns in the areas of S&T. The programmes and activities of the GUJCOST through its CSCs have a clear-cut visibility impact and have a great potential for increase efficiency and effective outcomes. In addition, the work experience adds lots of joy, happiness and enjoyment both at participants and also the resource persons and common public. By virtue of the creative work on frontier areas of science and technology and also with the involvement of local people in the location specific problems and issues, each CSC has being considered as the Resource Center at the district center, where the people can ask for any explanation and reasoning for any cause and effect. In addition, the pro-active nature of CSCs on different issues at the interface of science, technology and society has brought the leadership quality and the main mentor among the society. In addition, it also encourages team work and togetherness in all its programmes and activities and strengthens its capacity building with larger networking. With its continuous efforts and involvement in community based projects and issues, GUJCOST’s CSC network has designed a variety of programmes and outreach activities on the local issues to global concern and vice-versa. This methodology has bringing its sustainability as all the programme components are interconnected to each other. The increase number of participation, the higher level of understanding and the collaborative approach and mindset the Community Science Center project has lots of sustainability in terms of its initiatives and follow ups. Also, Capacity building done for the teachers and exposure provided makes it sustainable.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
In earlier days, there was no medium of proliferation of S&T in Gujarat State. Today, with this initiative in place, there are databases of Science teachers, Community Center staffs across the State. The CSC centers are well equipped with latest gadgets; Tele-bridge meetings are possible and hence during natural calamities, important messages are made available. The databases of school teachers allows easy and bulk SMSs facility for further dissemination of information of social impact. It was also felt that donations through charity were manual. Lessons were learnt and online payment feature is now made available on the website. GUJCOST has a learned to support the common public in to see beyond the silos of ever narrowing fields of study, take advantage of digital technology to make our vast collections more accessible, coordinate our network of community science centres, open the door for direct interaction with the scientists and researchers, provide formal training for the teachers to help them make the best use of our scientific resources, and send resources for science education into our nation’s classrooms.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Gujarat Council on Science & Technology
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Dr. Narottam Sahoo
Title:   Advisor & Member Secretary  
Telephone/ Fax:   079-23259362/079-23259363
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   adv-gujcost@gujarat.gov.in  
Address:   Block B, 7th floor, M.S. Building, sector -11
Postal Code:   382011
City:   Gandhinagar
State/Province:   Gujarat

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