GUWAHATI, Oct 28 � For the first time in the country, the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) has designed and developed two mobile science laboratories (MSLs) with an eye on providing laboratory facilities to the secondary (class IX to class X) and higher secondary (class XI to XII) school students of the State who do not have laboratory facilities in their own schools.
The MSLs have been designed and developed to serve the students under a pilot project sponsored by the Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhijan (RMSA) and the UNICEF. It is relevant here to mention that a huge number of secondary and higher secondary schools � 2,607 to be precise � do not have adequate technical infrastructure.
To cater to the needs of these schools, the Science and Technology (S&T) Division of the ASTEC designed and developed the MSLs with the provision of laboratory facilities for physics, chemistry and biology. Almost two years� time was required to develop the MSLs at a cost of around Rs 25 lakh each.
While the MSLs will mostly carry the experimental gadgets to the schools, they also have the in-built facilities, limited though, for carrying out experiments inside them. Moreover, they can also be used as class rooms or demonstration halls with each having an intake capacity of 10 to 15 students at a time.
They have reading tables, tables to do the experiments on, besides each of them having the capacity to provide night shelter to five persons with the basic facilities like toilets, bathrooms, beds, etc.
The MSLs have battery and generator-based round-the-clock power backup systems. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had formally inaugurated the MSLs on the Independence Day. At the same function, he handed over one of them to the Assam Science Society and the other to the Jorhat Planetarium to help the school students respectively of Kamrup (Metro) and Jorhat districts to carry out their scientific experiments.
To inspire the students, the MSLs have the portraits of three Assamese scientists of international repute � Physical Research Laboratory scientist Prof Jiten Goswami, medical scientist Prof Ramesh Deka and plasma physicist Dr Dhiraj Bora, together with those of Albert Einstein, Darwin, Newton, JC Bose and CV Raman, among others.
Head (in-charge) of the ASTEC S&T Division, Dr Ranjit Kumar Barman told this newspaper that the MSLs were conceived, designed and developed indigenously, keeping in view the syllabus-based needs of schoolchildren. Former ASTEC Director HN Dutta evinced keen interest in the entire project.
The MSLs also have the provision for introduction of new experiments. However, the science facilitators aboard the vehicles should be well trained and well paid to motivate them intensely. The S&T Division of the ASTEC is in a position to help other States to design and develop such MSLs, said Dr Barman.