Meteorology projects in schools a non-starter

Meteorological instrument worth lakhs of rupees are lying defunct in different schools across the state, thanks to the indifference and apathy of the state government.

In a bid to collect real time data of different regions, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has installed various observatories in 530 schools in all the districts of the state except Malkangiri, Deogarh and Sambalpur under the Participation of Youth in Real-Time Observation to Benefit Education (PROBE) scheme.

Under the scheme, school students would collect data based on meteorological observations for understanding day-to-day environment including weather. The students would collect data on the maximum and minimum temperature daily, along with relative humidity, rainfall if any, the sunshine hours along with the time of sunrise and sunset. This data would then be recorded in specially designed log books for computing.

However, after the project was completed in 2011, the observatories are virtually rotting as neither schools authorities nor students are taking any interest in these. “It was the duty of science teachers to train the students in collecting data on a daily basis, but once the project period was over, not many took interest, barring some schools where headmasters and science teachers have been enthusiastic about training the students entirely on their own,” said an official of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

The centres are provided with a rain gauge, an anemometer and a Stevenson’s Screen -instrument found in any weather office. The Stevenson’s Screen is a combination ofinstruments like hygrometer which measures humidity, thermometer to measure the maximum and minimum temperatures and a sunshine recorder.

“It was an extra work given to teachers after completing the routine works. But we are not given any honorarium for it. The data generated can be collected and used for disaster-mitigation purposes but no enthusiasm on part of the state government was shown after the project was closed,” a science teacher said on condition of anonymity, .explaining the reason for teachers not showing interest in the project.

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