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Speaking to the Education Times on the sidelines of the recently concluded WISE 2021 in Doha, where he was invited to speak about his work, Gitanjali emphasized the need to integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education into society. “The biggest challenge in learning STEM is that we still don’t realize its full potential. It’s not just robotics or coding, it’s the application of science to the basics of life.” Winner of the Young Activist Summit in UN Geneva, Gitanjali wrote apps and books at an early age.
The teenager who hates being known as a ‘plant’ has struggled with self-doubt while trying to achieve her dreams at a young age.
Although there is a huge demand for STEM education in India, the results are limited. “Most of the students in India are motivated to study science and technology. However, unlike the United States, where there is a strong sense of support, Indian students have limited help and guidance to stimulate their emotions, “says Gitanjali.
Emphasizing the need to increase women’s participation in the world of science, Gitanjali points to the need for a change of mindset. “From what I have seen in schools, girls are extremely stigmatized and have to face strong boundaries set by society. When one looks closely, we see that STEM is considered a male-dominated subject. Although the thought process is slowly changing and we are seeing an increase, several scars still remain behind. Transforming the stem sector will happen by creating equal opportunities for girls. ”
Lack of role models is another reason why female students do not think of breaking barriers beyond a certain limit. “Change can be brought about by introducing more role models in the society. Women need a conducive environment to prove themselves, but for that, they must first break the shackles that exist in their minds. They have to compete and be inspired by the role models there, ”added Gitanjali, who is trying to connect science with every aspect of life and break the stereotypical image of a scientist while organizing workshops in India, Afghanistan, America and other countries. Country
“We need to connect the stem with all other streams, including art, history, music or dance. Science is not just about what scientists do in the laboratory or how it is portrayed in the media. It will serve the purpose of disciplining all sectors because science is meant for everywhere and for all, “he added.
Although there is pressure on Indian students to study science and technology-related courses, there is a clear gap in the development of scientific temperament. “The reason may be examination and number based education system. The excitement of scoring well in exams leaves no room for youngsters to explore their passions and hobbies, “adds Gitanjali, who credits her achievement with the unique pattern of parenting in the family. She and her younger brother spend very little time scrolling through the gadgets, as her parents focus more on vacation planning and world exploration. Traveling across 24 countries has given Gitanjali a unique perspective on the world.
“I will continue my innovative workshop. It’s important to be there for students who are passionate but don’t know where to start. Every student I’ve contacted has unique creativity and an effort to solve problems. ”
Several Indian students have come up with incredible ideas and they can be poster children of innovation. “The reason they can’t do it is because of lack of resources, but I tell every student that one does not need a 3D printer or expensive equipment. All they need is a piece of paper, a pencil and imagination.”
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