IIT Delhi director Prof V. Ramgopal Rao shares his thoughts about research institutes connecting with school children and crossing language barriers using digital technology. Edited excerpts:
How can research institutes reach out to school students?
Four years ago, there was a ministry of education initiative—IIT-Professor Assisted Learning (PAL) programme, comprising a series of video lectures by IIT professors to help students prepare for entrance exams like JEE. The focus was on students in remote areas who cannot afford coaching classes due to gender and economic vulnerabilities. This was indeed a major effort by all IITs to help school children at a national level. The latest in IIT-Delhi’s outreach programme is ‘Sci-Tech Spins’ to make children aware of different study and career options before they enter college. Many children usually go by what their senior batches have done. We want to make children realise their interests, and also tell them how different specialisations have evolved over time, so they can make more informed career decisions.