The institute hosted the Vigyan Jyoti STEM Camp for select female Standard XI science students during June 18 to July 02. Young, meritorious girls from various government and government-aided schools of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh explored the science behind everything and learnt techniques of self-defense and communication skills.

Vigyan Jyoti is a new scheme by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, which aims at increasing the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by making focused interventions during the early years of education. This year, DST had chosen 14 institutes across India, including IITGN, to conduct a pilot programme. The programme emphasised the need to move beyond routine curriculum-based science education and focused on building scientific excitement and temperament.

Thirty-two (32) girls, comprising 14 from Kutch, three from Dehgam, three from Mehsana, four from Ahmedabad and eight from Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh, participated in the two-week residential camp at IITGN. The initiative is funded by DST, and each participant received a scholarship of ₹5,000 upon completion of the programme.

IITGN faculty members and the team of Centre for Creative Learning (CCL) mentored the girls on various subjects of science with a combination of practical, interactive and theoretical sessions. More emphasis was laid on the hands-on sessions. There were sessions on language, personality, computational skills, karate, yoga and sports, storytelling, communication and life skills which focused on holistic development of the participants. The institute had also organised an interaction with women scientists (both faculty and PG students) from IITGN to inspire girls to pursue a career in science. The girls were taken to various labs and also the Science City in Ahmedabad to inculcate curiosity and enthusiasm in them.

Before coming here, I had thought there will be lectures on various subjects. But, we did several practical activities in lego, robotics, binary, 3D printing, etc. I saw lego parts for the first time. We also did sports and cultural activities. I no longer have the stage fear and I do not want to return. 

Grishma Gor

KKMS Girls High school, Anjar (Kutch)

I saw such an institution for the first time. It felt really good to be a part of this camp. We got to learn many things through smart classes which we do not have back at our school. I will apply this knowledge after returning and will also share the teachings with my fellow classmates.

Manisha Davar

Eklavya Model Residential School, Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh

We are happy that we got the opportunity to be at IITGN. Here we learnt the science behind various phenomenon and we also did many experiments using a motor generator, turtle graphics, JCB machine, etc. The practical sessions helped a lot in clearing our concepts. 

Siddhi Patel & Nidhi Rabari

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Vadnagar, Mehsana

Speaking on the importance of the programme, Prof Sharmistha Majumdar, programme coordinator, said, “Many of these girls were living by themselves for the first time in their lives. In my opinion, the realisation that a girl who is traditionally protected in the security of the household can survive, function and have loads of fun all by herself, while going through the rigours and discipline of learning, is extremely important. I hope this experience is empowering for all these young girls and inspires them to aim for the sky.”

Mr Manish Jain, head of CCL said, “When these girls came, they had assumed that IIT will be very strict and they will have to do science and math in notebooks. But they found the environment and learning experience here to be completely different. They were making robots, JCB machines, doing math out of stick and paper. The goal of the camp was to inspire these girls for a career in science, math and engineering.”