Run by: Kalyan Foundation Trust, Bhavnagar
Supported by: Gujarat Council on Science & Technology, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat
 Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat

National Children Science Congress (NCSC)

 National Children's Science Congress (NCSC) 2020 & 2021

National Children’s Science Congress (also referred to as Children’s Science Congress at the district and state levels), is a platform for children to carry out small research activities at micro-level. The seeds of this programme were planted in Madhya Pradesh by an NGO called Gwalior Science Centre. It was later adopted by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India for extending it to the national level. Initially the programme was coordinated by the then NCSTC-Network (a network of non-government and government organisations working in the field of science popularisation) as national organizer. Since 2014, NCSTC, DST has been organising the Children’s Science Congress with the guidance and support of the National Academic Committee, a core group of experienced academic team constituted by the NCSTC, DST, Government of India. It was a time when most of the country’s science communicators were involved in massive science popularisation movements like Bharat Jana Vigyan Jatha (1987) and Bharat Jana Gyan Vigyan Jatha (1992). It was then felt that the large-scale activities for developing science awareness among the masses were to be continued as a regular activity and hence the Children’s Science Congress was launched as a nationwide programme in 1993. The expectation was that it would enhance scientific temperament, arouse scientific curiosity and improve the understanding of the method of science among children vis-á-vis teachers with the aim that in the long run it would benefit the society at large. So, the programme of CSC has been successfully conducted since then. Like in the previous year, this year too we are bringing out an exclusive booklet on the Programme Guidelines and a separate Activity Guide Book which will deal with only the Focal and the Sub themes for the two years. This Activity Guide Book will deal with the specific Focal Theme for the years 2020 & 2021 which is “Science for Sustainable Living”. The Sub Committee of the NAC with the approval of the National Programme Coordinator has also conceptualized and finalized a Logo for the Focal Theme which can be used by all the stakeholders during these years. A logo also takes the NCSC to the next level and over the years this has become a flagship programme of the Government of India. The unique logo gives special focus to the focal theme.

Focal theme:  "Science for Sustainable Living"

Human life is plagued by environmental issues related to pollution, climatic calamities, degradation of natural resources (land, soil, water, flora and fauna etc.). These drastically affect ecological balance and ultimately lead to problems like climate change (both at micro and macro levels) which, in turn, influence the overall quality of life (QoL) for most of the life-forms on Earth. One of the main reasons for such deleterious effect is due to human activities driven by unjustified value systems based on the spirit of ‘more you consume or use, more you will develop’, and ‘faster is smarter’. In this context, there is a global consensus for rethinking and redesigning of our thought processes, values and activities that aim for ‘Sustainable Living’. Sustainable living is the practice of reducing demand of the human being on natural resources both at personal and community levels, with suitable replacement(s)/alternative(s). It pleads for a lifestyle which reduces the impact of human way of life on planet Earth, through judicious use of natural resources preventing pollution, rational decision-making in the use of materials, judicious consumption of energy, alternative method(s) of transportation and recreation, etc.

Considering the core aspects of the focal theme and easy understanding of the stakeholders, following five sub-themes have been identified and proposed –

I.            Eco System for Sustainable Living

II.        Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Living

III.     Social Innovation for Sustainable Living 

IV.      Design, Development and Modelling for Sustainable Living

V.         Traditional Knowledge System (TKS) for Sustainable Living


An approach to introduce methods of science for personal and community level decision-making to lead the daily walks of life and leveraging the outcome of science and technology for establishing the sustainable way of life (‘genre de vie’) towards improving/upgrading quality of life (QoL), through conservation of nature and ecosystem vis-à-vis to achieve equity, equality, happiness, peace and harmony.


Motivating and engaging the children for inquiry-based learning:

1. To learn and understand about ecology, economy and society

2. To apply scientific understanding in day-to-day decision-making

3. To design and develop approach and / or solution for tapping potentials and overcoming the challenges

4. To take transformative initiatives to community and society and for personal reflection, which means an opportunity to reconsider events,    thoughts and feelings from a fresh perspective.

Sub Theme 1:   Eco System for Sustainable Living

 ‘Eco’ means natural habitat. The system for the existence of natural habitat of biological community (of organisms) interacting with their physical environments is the ecosystem. It includes all the living things (plants, animals, and organisms) in a given area that interact with each other, as well as with the non-living entities (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere, land) around them. The living and non-living (i.e., physical) components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. All the plants and animals (both macro and micro) on the Earth rely on the respective ecosystems for food and habitation. Therefore, the ecosystems must maintain a delicate balance in order to stay vital. Human beings like other organism, also rely on ecosystems to have food and natural resources. Depending on various characteristics, the eco-system has been classified primarily as Terrestrial and Aquatic; but there are many sub-groups as shown in Box – I & II. It is to be understood, when natural resources are harvested out of an ecosystem, it can disrupt the delicate balance if not done in a rational and responsible way.

 Model Projects 1 to 11: Page No. 34 to 46


 Sub Theme 2: Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Living

Technology has been the driving force of civilization as we know. Earlier, technologies used to be small in scale, responsive to local skills and needs. These evolved slowly over a long period of time and catered to the local needs. Today, the technologies have grown in scale with high production rates, consuming large quantities of energy and resources, requiring large capital and highly-skilled manpower. The high production rate, consuming large quantities of natural resources has been damaging the ecosystem by indiscriminate extraction and the resulting environmental degradation. It is clear that present mode of production is unsustainable and damaging to the society. For example, ill effects of pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture, have now become the concern of all. Hence, there is need to consider alternative ways of meeting our needs without damaging our ecosystems.

Appropriate technologies (AT) refer to technologies that are adaptable to local needs, acceptable to users and made using locally available materials with the aim to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in resource-constrained environments. Appropriate technology is used to address wide range of issues. The concept of appropriate technology is multi-faceted; in some contexts, appropriate technology can be described as the simplest level of technology that can achieve the intended purpose, whereas in others, it can refer to engineering that takes adequate consideration of social and environmental ramifications and connected to sustainable living.

Model Projects 1 to 4: Page No. 59 to 66

Sub Theme 3: Social Innovation for Sustainable Living

A social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham invented a low-cost sanitary pad making machine, and developed grass-roots mechanisms for generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices followed during menstruation, particularly in urban slums and rural India. In fact, the film,’ Pad Man’ released in 2018 popularised sanitary pad among the women for their safe reproductive health and hygiene, also depicted about the prevailing taboos and stigmas on such natural phenomenon of womenfolk. Perhaps, Pad Man is one of the finest success stories of our times that show how a minor innovation can bring about major change in the life of women. When a small innovative step leads to a great impact on the society at large, such an innovation is known as social innovation. It means- ‘It is about new idea that works. Thus, social innovations are new idea(s) viz. products, process, services and models that simultaneously meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations. In other words, these are the innovations which are both good for society and enhance society’s capacity to act (Murray, et al., 2010)

Model Projects 1 to 5: Page No. 78 to 92

Sub Theme 4: Design, Development, Modelling and Planning for Sustainable living

We have been consuming natural resources (i.e., Materials or substances occurring in nature) since the beginning of industrial development at a faster rate than the planet is capable of regenerating them. Even today, in our day-today life we are over-using natural resources every year thereby posing threat to our future generation and livelihood. In fact, if natural resources consumption continues at the present rate, then by 2030, two Earth-like planets will be required to generate enough resources to cater to our demands because the world population will consume every year two times more resources that the Earth can generate over the same period. So, it is essential to make every stakeholder aware to stop or reduce un-judicious use and unsustainable consumption of our natural wealth; else there will be serious depletion of resources and shrinkage of earth’s carrying capacity.

In other words, unwise exploitation of materials or substances occurring in nature for economic gain will drastically affect sustainable living of human population on Earth in the long run. Hence, there is a need to understand critically the causes and effects of resource utilisation. Such understanding is a prerequisite for effective and useful planning and management of available natural resources for bringing solutions to the identified problem(s) towards sustainability at local, state, national and global level. Management of natural resource depends scientifically on reliable projections of future conditions (Modelling) to design, plan and implement desired actions towards sustainable living. Results from empirical studies, coupled with expertise and wisdom of people are essential components that area required for such planning, design and evaluation of management activities. Modelling and design for planning resources is considered as most essential and need of the day. Virtually, Modelling helps to visualize the future scenario from the historical information/events/data that aid to design and plan the activities for sustainable future. In addition, it also assists to forecast/ predict consequences of our quality of life in case we continue to exploit the natural resources irrationally to meet our demands. This also enables us to evolve sustainable way(s) for resource planning, allocation and management leading towards sustainable lifestyles for all. Moreover, Modelling, design and planning also become useful for conservation and enhancement of natural resource base in its maximum pristine/pollution free levels, which are presently concerned by all globally. Nevertheless, it allows the stakeholders to understand the problem related to various biotic (vegetation, animal, human, etc.) and abiotic (soil, water, air, etc.) resources and their interrelationships. Outcome of these assessments can be applied for design and planning carrying capacity, threshold limits, environmental impacts, natural resource conservation and management and so on and so forth.

Model Projects 1 to 4: Page No. 108 to 130

Sub Theme 5: Traditional Knowledge System (TKS) For Sustainable Living

Traditional knowledge refers to the knowledge, innovations, and practices of local people developed through the experience gained over time and adapted to the local environment and culture. As per the definition given by the United Nations University, “Traditional knowledge or ‘local knowledge’ is a record of human achievement in comprehending the complexities of life and survival in often unfriendly environments. Traditional knowledge, which may be technical, social, organisational, or cultural, was obtained as part of the great human experiment of survival and development”. Traditional Knowledge System (TKS) is collectively owned and vary with space and time as it is evolved in a different socio-cultural environment. It is society specific and is dependent on understanding. Further, observational and experimental information about their living environments, along with skill and technology are essential to design a lifestyle in that specific environmental context. TKS is important for sustainable living as a provider of alternative ideas in the present context of global climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, destabilized ecological services, food, and nutritional inequality, problems of sanitation and health. TKS is mostly traditional knowledge that is propagated orally and/or through practices by the respective practitioners/ performers. Songs and sayings, dances, paintings, carving, chanting and various performances are the most common ways of transferring the acquired knowledge down through the generations over hundreds of years or even more. Most of the traditional knowledge is mainly of practical in nature as it is seen particularly in the practices like agriculture, fisheries, animal husbandry, health, horticulture, forestry as well as pasture, land and environmental management. It is observed that many examples of traditional practices in the country on natural resource management, agriculture, medicine and health, housing and allied design and construction, have great potential to act as a support and encourage sustainable development. Diverse agro-climatic zones of India support a very high diversity of environmental and cultural practices, which nurture different traditional knowledge-based practices to adjust the way of life of the people to their respective environment. All these practices have some age-old history, progression and empirically tested observation, which essentially need not only documentation but also peer validation, scientific evaluation, and interpretation. Applicability of TKS in the contemporary context is significant to meet and support the requirement for sustainable living. It has been designed and developed by the local communities through their constant observation, trial and modification/customization to match with its appropriateness. Therefore, TKS has the characteristics of local, empirical, time tested dynamisms. By default, TKS or the untapped wisdom of our ancestors are still considered to be useful to promote sustainable living. It operates through the following principles.

Model Projects 1 to 7: Page No. 141 to 155

 More Projects IDEA: Page No. 156 to 157