Hyderabad: Have you ever sat in a classroom, stared wistfully out of the window, wanting to be anywhere but not in front of a black board? Do Science! centers in the city are helping children do exactly that! With an objective to help children step out and experience science where it really exists, Bookmark Projects Trust, a non-governmental organisation, has come up with an idea of creating free learning spaces for children in different parks across the city.
According to one of the founders and managing trustee of the organisation, Aparna Vishwanatham, the project that started off as a spark of an idea two years back, took concrete shape over the past year and the first DoScience! centre will commence operations in July 2017.
“We introduced our idea of setting up 5 DoScience! centres in public parks in Hyderabad to Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and signed a five year lease agreement for a 5,000 sq ft of open area in the centrally located Sanjeevaiah Park in March this year, said Aparna. After a green signal from HMDA, the team worked with the Birla Science Centre to identify exhibits to be installed at the centre,” Aparna said.
The Do Science! team identified around 30 exhibits for installation, covering the domains of Mechanics, Optics and Sound to a large extent. Some of the exhibits were selected from the existing product portfolio of the Birla Science team, and some are drawn from museums around the world.
“We believe that by doing science without the rigid structures of classrooms and examinations, children will unearth the unlimited joys of exploring outdoors,” said Akhil Vishwanatham, Trustee, Bookmark Projects. “This will open their minds to curiosity and creativity. Only such inquisitive minds will drive innovation and lead change,” he said.
The total cost of the project is Rs 70 lakh, of which around Rs 60 lakh is towards the capital expenditure and set-up cost. The lease agreement allows the Trust to charge an entry fee of Rs 50 per person. It has also been decided that all government school children will be allowed free entry into the park at all times.
Bookmark Projects will work actively with local NGOs to facilitate government school children to visit the DoScience! centre. The Trust plans to set up 5 DoScience! centres across Hyderabad over the next three years. As the first one is now fairly close to commencement, the team is taking one step at a time towards their objective and building a network of scientists, teachers and science enthusiasts who would like to contribute through ideas, expertise, time and money.