School students to learn weather science with this campaign
Pune’s Vidnyan Bharati will be starting weather units in schools in Maharashtra to train students to learn and forecast weather.
Considering the changing climate patterns and extreme weather events, understanding weather has become a necessity. With this in mind, Pune’s Vidnyan Bharati has taken it upon itself to start weather units in schools in Maharashtra to train students to learn and forecast weather. The first such weather unit was inaugurated at Grammangal Muktashala in Palghar district’s Aine village.
Set in a small village in Palghar’s tribal belt, a lot of students in the school come from families that are involved in agriculture and related activities. “While weather departments issue weather warnings, they don’t always reach the last farmer on time. The weather forecasts issued by the regional centres also might differ from the local conditions a lot of times. Under this initiative, we are going to install rain gauges in the local, village/school weather units, and train students to take readings. It will help the farmers understand their local conditions better and plan accordingly in the long run,” Jeevan Prakash Kulkarni, a retired scientist from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
As said above, a rain gauge has been installed at the Aine school today. The self-operated equipment that runs on solar energy has been designed by a student of Pune’s VIT College. It is also connected to an app. Students from classes V to XII will be trained under this initiative. Vidnyan Bharati has also invited individuals as well as CSR units of corporates to help design and fund such units in different schools and villages across the state.
A rain gauge has been installed at the Aine school today. The self-operated equipment that runs on solar energy has been designed by a student of Pune’s VIT College.
“What we learn about weather in schools is very limited and theoretical. We read about a few concepts just to answer the examinations. However, with a weather unit in school, the children can actually learn about the concepts that they learn about in their curriculum practically. For instance, why are we not taught about the correlation between weather and farming practices from a young age?,” Vilas Rabde of Vidnyan Bharati said to Indie Journal.
At the weather units, the students will be taught to take weather readings in real-time through the app that would keep updating the data every 10 seconds. People will be able to receive the updates on WhatsApp messenger as well. They will be acquainted with different parameters based on which the patterns are detected, such as temperature, humidity, etc., and based on those, how to forecast weather. Apart from these, Kulkarni has also designed a special textbook for the students to use as a reference to understand and derive from the data that they have collected.
“Learning about weather from a very young age can help students in several ways. They can of course help their parents understand the weather systems better. Moreover, this training at an early age can open doors for several career paths. An understanding of weather is not only required in the weather departments. It is also required in an array of fields like armed forces, disaster management, aviation, etc. Many children, especially in rural areas, don’t even know about this path and these choices,” Kulkarni said.
Maharashtra saw some of the worst extreme weather events this monsoon. The rainfall was erratic and the season was marred with flooding, landslides, lightning events that took several lives, homes, livelihoods. “Now we cannot stop these events. However, we saw this time that if information and warnings reach people on time, they can get to safety and loss of life as well as livelihoods in some cases could be averted. These self-operated weather units can help with those. If we can predict rainfall and possible flash floods at hyperlocal levels, information can reach people much faster,” Kulkarni said.
That is why Vidnyan Bharati is trying to take these units to every smallest and the remotest village as possible. Kulkarni said, “We are starting with schools, but the aim is to reach each and every village. Eventually, we will also be trying to inculcate data about water discharge from dams and other factors that concern locals every monsoon.”
The organisation plans to start five such centres this year. While the first one has been inaugurated in Aine today, there is one at Pune’s Garware school as well. “By next year, we hope to have at least 25 such centres in the state. But we are going to need financial support for that. Setting up one such centre requires Rs 1 lakh. We are trying to connect with Corporates at the moment in a bid to acquire CSR funds for the activity,” Rabade said.