National Science Day 2010 was observed on Saturday at Nagaland Science Centre Dimapur on the theme ‘Gender Equity for Prosperity & Peace’ with Department of Science & Technology senior scientific officer, Dr. Zavei Hiese as guest of honour and S.D. Jain Girls’ College Dimapur principal, Dr. J. C. Das as theme speaker.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Hiese asserted that setting aside a day marked as ‘national science day’ indicated that science was being given a wider importance in the country today. He said science and mathematics were not as complicated as Nagas generally tend to preconceive the subjects to be.
He pointed out that people deal with science in their ‘everyday’ lives and encouraged students to apply their mind, adding that once they understood the basics of the subject they would be able to indulge into the complexity of scientific problems. Dr. Hiese highlighted that scientists created hypotheses in the beginning but now things were explained in a practical and logical reasoning “as in science nothing is random and unexplainable”, he said.
He stated it was unfortunate that many schools in the state still placed low emphasis on the subject as they were not equipped well enough and further called upon science teachers to organize and conduct practical lessons and field trips on science for students to explore nature/science practically.
The guest of honour also underlined that countries like USA and Japan were advanced and developed, fully equipped with modern facilities and amenities as they spend around 25% of their national budget on scientific research whereas India hardly allots 1%. He added that with most Indian scientists opting to work for multinational private companies and foreign varsities, the country faces shortage of human resources/teachers and naturally not able to catch up with other countries. However, he specified that Central government has taken steps towards making India an advanced nation with its recent introduction of ‘Inspire’, a programme implemented especially for aspiring science students.
Potential science students who scores top positions ranging from high school, higher secondary and degree levels would be given awards, sponsored to visit prominent research laboratories and interact with research scientists, and scholarships etc under the programme. Dr. Hiese further encouraged students to avail the opportunity once the programme was implemented in the state.
Meanwhile, Dr. J. C. Das gave the key note address on the theme and emphasized that gender equality was a vital necessity for the development of a society/nation.
Citing examples of women through ancient times who contributed towards science and society, he asserted that Indian history tells us that women and men were given equal opportunity in performing religious rituals. However, with the arrival of the Moghuls men became protective of their women and necessitated them to hide behind the ‘purdah’ which eventually led to oppression of women, he added. Dr. Das expressed that eventually with the initiation of emancipation of women, it has become essential for women who constituted 50% of the country’s populace to participate in decision making bodies of modern India.
With regard to the 33% women reservation bill which was yet to be implemented, he said, “the journey has started but we still haven’t achieved our goal”. He also lamented that even with a huge number of women occupying high positions in the country, there remained a lot of lacuna in the ‘still highly patriarchal society’.
Dr. Das opined that men alone would not be able to achieve peace and progress if women were not involved in the process. He further expressed appreciation that many girl students were present at the occasion and encouraged them to study well and strive in the field of their choice.
Highlights of the programme included a Chakhesang folk tune presented by Zuve Cultural Club, Painting Competition on the theme of the programme and Science Quiz. A total of 17 schools from Dimapur district participated in the programme with Chizuk of Delhi Public School Dimapur securing First Position in Painting Competition and Manato S. Chophy and Kitto H. Chishi of Livingstone Higher Secondary School Dimapur sharing the First Position in Science Quiz.
It may be mentioned that National Science Day falls on February 28 however, Nagaland Science Centre curator, Richard Rikhio informed that owing to the day being a Sunday which is observed as a general holiday throughout the state, the programme was necessitated to be organized on Saturday for the convenience of all.