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STEMSI – Space Technology Education Mission for Schools in India
STEMSI may be just what the doctor ordered for space technology leadership of India in the near future. If we in India involve our children in space technology, we can build a whole generation of students interested in space related technology for world leadership. STEMSI is a body of eminent space scientists and educators for developing space science curriculum and popularize it among school students. The curriculum will be in the form of The Space Club of India.
Let us be clear that we are not talking about astronomy. Astronomy may be a part of STEMSI, as we need to know what’s out There before we want to go There, but going There is what’s in focus.
Why Space Technology in Schools?
With the lack of understanding of space technology with most people, however educated, it isn’t surprising that people accidentally end up in ISRO. Of the wonderful scientists we have working on space technology, rarely has anyone planned to join ISRO from schools days. Many, in fact, drifted towards ISRO much after school. This was good enough in times when space technology was a new field of work and India was just a beginner. Now, with the vast achievements of ISRO in the past few years, and the world’s attention on India to see what’s coming next, the future of space technology in India is very promising.
Just how many jobs can ISRO create? Well, it won’t be just ISRO. Many private companies, who have been working with ISRO for a long time, are now working on independent projects. With many private companies working independently in US and Europe, in India as well there is a big opportunity for private companies to work independently. The small start taken by Team Indus might just be the first step in this direction.
India is poised to be the space technology superpower of the world. We just need to have the vision to see this opportunity and develop of students for this near future.
There is a challenge of squeezing in time for learning space technology in academic studies, but leading schools need to lead in taking up this challenge as well. Most leading schools have a number of technology activities, such as robotics. However, space technology is a different league altogether. Neither can we have a number of companies providing space technology education, neither can any school take it up for their students. STEMSI is supported by veterans of space technology and is organised by Indo Science Education Trust, a not-for-profit organisation (NGO). Joining the STEMSI program by schools is only by invitation. Don’t miss this opportunity if you receive the invitation. Write to us (use the form below) if your school deserves to be invited. STEMSI is a select group, but all schools can join the Space Club of India for which no invitation is needed.
- Working on space technology is fun only when you can imagine what big things are achieved though it, how amazing our learning about space is through this technology. It is not all fun from day one.
- Students engaged in this work would need a lot of encouragement and motivation. They will not sustain the interest on their own. They need to feel privileged. They need to know they are a part of something unique and big and important. The school and parents would need to be the constant cheerleaders and ensure they are felicitated and celebrated from time to time.
- The big achievements may take years to come by. Students need to be prepared to hand over their work to the next batch when they are leaving school.
- This works requires a lot of patience, time, and resources. Apart from students, their parents and school would need to participate and sacrifice equally.
What is the expected gain?
- For one there is something that will teach teamwork instead of competition. The achievements here will be of teams and not individuals. Almost everything in school is about competing. However, in any profession teamwork is more important.
- The gain to the school is the prestige of being a part of this unique project.
- The biggest gain is to the nation. STEMSI is the possible start to developing a nation of space enthusiasts in every corner of the country. The first group of school will be pioneers and will forever be a part of history.
How will it work?
- Indo Science Education Trust, under guidance from veteran space scientists and research students, is preparing a curriculum for space technology for school students.
- This curriculum will inform students of the past, present, and future of space technology.
- The first level of learning will be in the form of membership to the Space Club of India. The Space Club will inform students of the history and current affairs of space technology, through e-newsletters. The newsletter will also include interesting activities for students to do.
- Selected teams, based on their participation in activities, will participate in space technology challenges under guidance from experienced professionals.
- Selected students will get the opportunity to work on live projects, many of which will be the first in the country and some may even be first in the world for school students.
- Every year the level of the challenge and the projects will become higher and higher.
- Indo Science Education Trust will acquire sponsorship for financial requirements of the projects with the help of participating schools and supporting government, academic, and private organizations.
[Note: The first group of schools invited for hands on projects will be from Pune only. We will start chapters in other cities soon. Ahmedabad and Bangalore are planned to be next in line, The Space Club of India membership is open to all for receiving newsletters and some other activities throughout the year at an annual fee of Rs. 1000/year/student.]
Basic Qualifying Conditions for STEMSI
- School should have classes at least up to 10th grade/standard.
- School should have at least three branches in Pune or elsewhere.
- School should be at least five years old.
- School should have at least one technology learning program for students running consistently for the past three years.
- School should be prepared to appoint at least two teachers for Space Club and STEMSI programs, who will ensure successful running of the programs. The teachers need not be dedicated only for the STEMSI programs.