This profile was prepared when Rajeev Vartak was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1994.
The New Idea
Rajeev seeks to change profoundly how science is taught in India. He hopes to make science much more accessible and exciting by helping people "see science" and readily relate to it in their everyday lives. Through the development of "user friendly" and cost-effective scientific devices and teaching aids, Rajeev hopes to extend this new, effective scientific education to both teachers and students even in the remote tribal and rural areas of India. Rajeev's approach strongly involves parents and teachers in creating and adapting the science curriculum. In this way, the science curriculum will reflect local knowledge and real-life applications. In addition, the parents and teachers themselves will become better educated regarding scientific principles and applications. Ultimately, Rajeev hopes that the introduction of this new approach to science education will bring about a deeper community awareness and much more activism regarding science-rooted issues, notably including the environment. He believes that once children understand the issue, they will become a bridge bringing environmental awareness to their parents and others in the community.