Press Releases

  • Natural Resources Awareness (DNA) Club for school children initiated : TERI Northeast implements program in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura

    15 September 2007

    The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India in the Northeast sector of India has in consonance with The Energy and Resources Institute's (TERI) North Eastern Regional Centre has initiated a countrywide programme on Natural resources Awareness Clubs for School Children -'The DNA Clubs'. TERI - NE is amongst the 8 Regional Resource Agencies identified by DBT to implement the programme in the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.

    The objective of the DNA Club is to enhance understanding among students about the immense value of biological diversity of our country and to tell students the importance of locally available bioresources, their sustainable use and conservation. It will equip students with relevant skills for bioresources conservation, familiarize students with scientific and technological issues related to biotechnology, provide them with experimental learning opportunity and will create opportunities for hands on experiences in the field at the school level. Field trips to National Institute and National Biological Parks of the country and interaction with leading experts in the field including the core and visiting faculty at the institution will also be the highlight of the programme.

    The clubs would be divided into two groups – 6th to 8th standard and 9th to 12th standards. There would be approximately 40-50 children per school. For the 6-8th standard groups the activities would focus more on Biodiversity and Bioresources in general, whereas the activities for 9-12th standard would focus primarily on Biotechnology. The activities would be defined in such a manner that they are extra-curricular, yet oriented towards the curriculum.

    "The DNA CLUB would lead to transformation of young minds into well-informed citizens having capabilities to rationalize the importance of natural resources and zeal to opt for a career in the field of biotechnology. The rich natural resources of the country and its immense potential for future development are in the hand of the school children. Unless the school children are made aware of the resources and the present trend of its conservation and management, it would not be possible for future sustainable development" said Dr R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI.

    TERI-NE would establish laboratories in 15 schools of Assam (5), Meghalaya (5) and Tripura (5) with facilities to provide computer education, taxonomic studies, microbiological and Biotechnological experiment amongst the schools children. Other activities of the programme include Invited lectures from renowned contemporary scientist in the areas of Ecosystems, Major Species Diversity, Biodiversity, Adding value to Bioresources, Social and cultural aspects of Bioresources, Landscape characterization, Characterization of bioresources, species relationships, phylogeny, Bioprospecting for novel organisms/ compounds/ genes, Advances in Biotechnology/ r-DNA technology, Societal impact of Biotechnology.

    It also includes Exposure Visits to biodiversity hotspots, National Parks, scientific biotechnological research institutions of national repute so as to encourage the students for pursuing biotechnological studies. Under the DNA CLUB various targeted discussion forums are to be organized, monitored and guided by the assigned teachers. In order to encourage Project Works/ Reports writing skill, students would be entrusted with various topics of contemporary importance for in depth analysis. Under the theme Do It Yourself to encourage natural curiosity, creativity, scientific temper and problem solving skills amongst young students, to relate science to daily life and encourage its use to understand and find solutions for socially relevant problems, to encourage science learning through doing projects involving field work and open ended experimentation, to engender eam spirit and collective learning and to make science learning exciting.

    The students of class VI- VIII would be involved in field studies, observations in the labs using dissection and compound microscopes, herbarium preparation, preparing species identification charts and keys, enlisting local flora and fauna at their vicinity, developing medicinal plants garden in the school premises/ common land, preparation of insect specimen boxes etc. The IX std to XII std group would be given laboratory-oriented biodiversity and biotechnology projects such as micro propagation techniques, microbial cultures, DNA isolation, identification of plant species, etc.

    "Besides this there would be various types of Competitions such as Essay writing, Debate, Quiz, Painting etc. at the school level, state level involving schools operating DNA clubs as well as at the regional levels. The special attraction of the programme is the 3 weeks long residential vacational training programme for students in the field of biotechnological sciences" said Dr Swapan Kumar Sinha, Associate Fellow, TERI.

    TERI through its other regional centres in Bangalore, Goa, Mukteshwar and Mumbai further intends to initiate this biotechnology popularisation programme nationwide, with a hope that to further the cause of environemtal protection, preservation and sustainable development.