They had community exposure, says Soumya Swaminathan
“Children have the same percentage of antibody exposure that adults have. We had shut schools saying children should not be exposed to the virus, but there has been community exposure since they have been doing other activities. Children have been going to malls, they have been playing outside, and are around their family,” said Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO.
“This is why organisations such as UNICEF and WHO have emphasised this and said that due to schools specifically, there is not much chance of infection spreading,” Dr. Soumya said.
She was speaking on the sidelines of “Every Child A Scientist” programme at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation on Sunday.
School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said that over the last one-and-a-half years, learning outcome deficits had been a huge concern. “The Chief Minister and the Tamil Nadu government will take a number of factors into consideration before making a careful decision about the reopening of schools. Student safety is our first priority,” he told the media after the event.
The “Every Child A Scientist” programme aims to encourage children, particularly those who come from underpriviledged backgrounds to take an interest in science. MSSRF is being supported by Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Chennai, in the programme.
In Tamil Nadu, the programme will enable access to modern learning tools, well equipped labs and field visits for students of classes VI to VIII from government schools. It aims to strengthen their inquisitiveness towards science and understanding of scientific concepts.
Speaking at the inauguration, Mr. Mahesh Poyyamozhi said that there was a need for dedicated scientific platforms where young students and teachers could learn basic process skills and develop attitudes towards science such as observing, classifying, communicating, measuring, inferring, and predicting.
“The earlier version of the ECAS programme laid more emphasis on classroom teaching while the current version will have more interactive learning sessions and connect them with leading scientists and laboratories enabling them to get up-to-date information in the chosen research area,” said Prof. Swaminathan, agricultural scientist.
He said that children’s scientific temperament directly contributed to the country’s progress.
Dr. Soumya spoke about inculcating scientific temper among children to counter misinformation.
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