VIPNET

Registration for new clubs has been started. You are invited to join the network of science club.

VIPNET, acronym for VIgyan Prasar NETwork, was added as a new project to Vigyan Prasar in 1998 with the objective of providing a fillip to the science clubs movement in India. This is a network to weave all science clubs, societies, organisations which are already established, or are going to be established, and are willing to work with Vigyan Prasar to strengthen the popular science movement in the country with far reaching implications for the development of society.

Till April 2000, we have 1600 clubs, 80 % of which are newly formed for VIPNET. The single largest district membership is from Ratlam of Madhya Pradesh with 107 clubs while single state with maximum clubs is Uttar Pradesh with almost 350 clubs. The major addition this year have been from Sikkim (with 36 clubs covering all higher secondary schools), Gujarat , Rajasthan, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh , other N.E. states, besides U.P, M.P, Bihar and Orissa. Very soon we will have significant membership in all island states and UTs of the country.

All State Councils and DSTs (state level), besides the prominent NGOs, have accepted VIPNET as their official network and are propagating it on their own with our prior approval. Organisations like SOS Children’s Village, WWF India, NIE of Times of India, UNESCO clubs, to name a few are actively discussing with us to start collaborative programmes.

The first issue of the monthly newsletter “VIPNET News” appeared in December 1998. Today, VIPNET has become a very popular network, well-known in nooks & corners of India with an extremely long list of activities and remarkable achievements of its members.

What is a VIPNET Science Club?

An active and fully functional science club working in any part of the country without any discrimination based on caste, creed, ideology, religion or language, can be a part of VIPNET by simply registering with VIPNET for affiliation. In addition, there are many more science clubs to be formed afresh with local initiatives and Vigyan Prasar’s guidance, which after meeting some basic requirements would be able to register with VIPNET for affiliation. The new and existing clubs will maintain their own identity and carry out programmes as per their convenience. Only the statement saying “Affiliated to VIPNET” must be mentioned in the club brochure or signboard or other literature they produce. No registration or affiliation fee will be charged for enrolling with VIPNET.

VIPNET Objectives

Science clubs have been playing a key role in many places due to their exemplary work and commitment of their members towards their chosen causers. Several national and international organisations have their science clubs across the country. Add to this the science clubs run by state-level agencies. Even so, the total number may not cross even five thousand-not large enough for this vast country of ours with a population of almost one billion. VIPNET aims to establish a vast countrywide network of science clubs.

Broadly the objectives of VIPNET are:
  • Dissemination of information on science & technology (S&T), which is an essential tool for development. VP has the right technological back-up and mandate to reach out to the masses. The VIPNET clubs are planned to be Vigyan Prasar’s agents for change at the remotest of places in India.
  • Evolution of a holistic approach towards problems through awareness, concern, involvement, and application of the scientific methodology for their resolution. Various short and long-term activities and programmes are envisaged for the science clubs which are doable and relevant.
  • Stimulation of the spirit of curiosity, enquiry, innovation and creativity through activities which would supplement conventional education and make science a very enjoyable and interesting pursuit. Participation in the National Children’s Science Congress would be a very good example.

 

What is the age limit for membership in VIPNET Science Clubs?

As such, Vigyan Prasar would not like to discourage anyone from joining this noble venture. But experience shows that if a science club is comprised of children and youth only, the operational problems are minimal. We would definitely solicit help, guidance and monitoring from the parents, teachers, guardians, science communicators and social workers of the locality to be involved as ‘non-member associates’ of the proposed club, but leave the membership and executive functions of the club to children and youth only. When we say children and youth, we mean anyone in the agegroup of seven to twenty two years. The members may select a few prominent persons as their advisers and patrons.

Why should a newly formed or existing Science Club seek affiliation to VIPNET?

One very simple, yet solid reason is the opportunity of becoming part of a national network. Breaking all physical and mental barriers of a small unit, a VIPNET club would become partner in an exciting national movement. More explicitly it would:

  • Get a free subscription to Vigyan Prasar’s monthly newsletter “Dream 2047”, and access to vast information on S&T through Vigyan Prasar Information System (VIPRIS) and all other communication mateirlas of Vigyan Prasar
  • Be able to exchange view and ideas, express opinions and gain insight (s) nito a vast array of activities taking place in other VIPNET clubs through their own VIPNET newsletter to be launched simultaneously with the formation of the network.
  • Be able to participate in programmes including trainings and campaigns launched by Vigyan Prasar and/or National Council for Science Technology Communication (NCSTC), DST, or their associated agencies.
  • Be able to take on an active role in the National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) as participant, motivator, or in any other capacity which would lead to wider participation and deeper penetration of this unique activity. Past child scientists of NCSC would also be able to give expression to their talent through these clubs.
  • Become eligible to receive some kit, or posters, or books or some other software items free of cost (on first-come-first-served basis, depending on availability), and rest of the VP publications and other materials at very attractive discount rates. The club could also become an agency for selling VP materials (books, cassettes, CD ROMs etc.) and make handsome profits to fund their activities. Such a self-sustaining venture could really create strong and independent clubs in the country.
  • Be able to get together with other science clubs in a particular region to form cluster and organise programmes like trainings, workshops, jathas, lecture-cum-demonstrations, etc. for which VP could provide assistance in the form of resource persons, course materials and kits, and other necessary inputs- in response to a proposal for a specific activity.
  • Becoome eligible to be considered for awards and prizes based on yearly performance and activities. Each club would send their activity reports to VP and based on these and field visits by experts; the clubs could earn for themselves national recognition besides attractive prizes in cash or kind.
  • Be able to get international exposure and recognition through the VP Web page on the Internet.
  • Get opportunities to become proud participants in many pioneering projects in the country to be carried out on a very large scale. For example Root & Shoot Project (tree plantation and monitoring), Nature Camps, Ham Radio Training, Reading Club Project, etc. that are planned to excite, enlighten and enrich the members at the same time.
  • Become an active partner in the development of that locality by reaching out to the needy in many ways: VIPNET clubs would organise literacy projects, free coaching for the economically and academicaly weaker students, toning up of public utilities and services, making people aware of health and sanitation, and similar issues where scientific methods would have to be amalgamated with societal needs and developmental processes.
  • Be entitled to receive enough background material to celebrate certain important national and international events (or days) that would generate widespread awareness in the society. These may be National Science Day (28 February), National Safety Day (4 March), National Immunisation Day (16 March), World Disabled Day (19 March), World Forestry Day (21 March), World Health Day (7 April), World Earth Day (22 April), International Energy Day (3 May), World Telecom Day (17 May), World No Tobacco Day (31 May), World Environment Day (5 June), World Population Day (11 July), International Literacy Day (8 September), World Habitat Day (7 Oct.), World Food Day (16 Oct.), World Aids Day (1 Dec.), National Energy Conservation Day (14 Dec.) , and the like.

A Club may observe some of these through lectures, popular talks, children’s competitions, shows, etc. at their convenience to internalise the underlying concepts behind these celebrations.

How does one form a new science club and have it join VIPNET?

The initiative could come from any quarter. Some individuals are spreading the message, while most State Councils of S&T and NCSC coordinating agencies would be made aware of this. So when an adult, a child or a youth feels it worthwhile, he/she can discuss the formation of a science club with friends and people in that area. At least 11 members should join together to form a club. At a later stage, if number exceeds 100, one can think of a second club in the same area.

VIPNET does not place any restrictions on the number of clubs in a particular area. After the office bearers are elected/selected, they are expected to draw up a list of activities they would like to undertake with suggestions and, if necessary, help of the elders. Finally, after being in active existence for at least 3 months, by completing the Application Form (obtainable from the address given below), the club would seek affiliation with VIPNET from Vigyan Prasar. It may be noted that the affiliation would be given promptly if all particulars sought for are provided in the proper format along with the application. It is also desirable to receive your quarterly reports in appropriate time which will enable your club to derive all the benefits of VIPNET.

For further details please contact:

Dr Arvind C. Ranade
Scientist ‘E’
Vigyan Prasar
A – 50 Institutional Area
Sector – 62 NOIDA – 201 309 (U.P.) Phone: 0120 – 240 4430, 35
Fax: 0120 – 240 4437
Email: rac[at]vigyanprasar[dot]gov[dot]in