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Making rural Andhra children future-ready through STEM and SDGs

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Tirupati: Smile Foundation with the support from Shell India and in association with Govt. of Andhra Pradesh organised NXplorers Carnival in Tirupati. The day-long carnival was organised with the aim of providing rural school children a platform to display their prowess in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and understanding of the SDGs, in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The NXplorers Junior is an innovative educational programme that aims to empower young minds to address the complex challenges faced by the world today and to become agents of change. It also provides the tools, methodologies and skills needed to tackle the real-world problems using collaborative, innovative and inter-disciplinary approaches, developing STEM habits of mind through critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills are a few other goals. These are underlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, the programme is aligned with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and it envisions complementing the latter’s objectives.

Smile Foundation has been implementing the NXplorers Junior programme, a global flagship social investment STEM educational initiative from Shell, in 89 government schools in Nellore and Tirupati districts of Andhra Pradesh.

In addition, 77 government and affordable private schools of Thrissur district of Kerala, and 116 government schools in eight districts of Telangana, that include Warangal, Khammam, Hanumakonda, Jayashankar Bhupalpalli, Jangaon, Mulugu, Mahabubabad, and Bhadradri Kothagudem are covered under this internationally successful programme for school children.

During the carnival, as many as 40 selected change projects and innovative models in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) were exhibited by 120 students from 30 schools from Tirupati district. The school children had come up with working models and innovative ideas related to every-day problems, sustainable agricultural practice, controlling emission, nature conservation and many areas linked with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr. V. Shekhar, District Education Officer; M. Ananda Reddy, Deputy DEO, Mr. Bhanu Prasad, District Science Officer; Mr. S. Siva Shankaraiah, Assistant Monitoring Officer; Mr. Lakshmi Narayana, Assistant Director, DEO Office; and Mr. Ramana Rao, Assistant Director of Tirupati were among the distinguished guests and experts present during the carnival.

Dr. V. Shekhar, District Education Officer said,” Smile Foundation has been doing an exemplary work, displaying a high level of discipline. The exhibits presented were incredibly enriching, showcasing innovative ideas from children. It is truly inspiring to witness such creativity and futuristic thinking from our students.”

Mr. Bhanu Prasad, District Science Officer Tirupati, observed, “These conducted by Smile have been instrumental in enriching students’ ideas and honing their problem-solving skills. Thanks to Smile Foundation and Nxplorers programme, children have enhanced their critical thinking and analytical abilities. It is noteworthy that the programme focuses on addressing Sustainability Development Goals related to Food, Water, and Energy, thereby fostering a sense of responsibility towards global challenges and encouraging sustainable mindset among the children.”

Mr. K. Balaji, Mandal Educational Officer (MEO), praised the approach, concept and impact of the programme.

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