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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Dr Arvind C. Ranade
A – 50 Institutional Area
Sector – 62 NOIDA – 201 309 (U.P.) Phone: 0120 – 240 4430, 35
Fax: 0120 – 240 4437