The state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) cancelled its Young Scientists programme (Yuvika 2020) for this year due to the surging coronavirus cases across the country, an official said on Friday.
“Though the Yuvika programme was scheduled to be held from May 11-22 for school students of Classes 8-9, we deferred by six months due to the coronavirus spread since mid-March. With the pandemic continuing, we have decided to cancel it for this year,” the official told IANS here.
Launched with much fanfare in 2019 to instill scientific temper and impart knowledge about the country’s space applications and technologies to the young students, the 12-day programme involves visit by about 100 selected students to ISRO’s four operational centres across the country for exposure.
Three students from each state in the country are selected for the programme and are taken to Vikram Sarabhai space centre in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), U.R. Rao satellite centre in Bengaluru (Karnataka), Space Applications centre in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and the North Eastern space centre at Shillong in Meghalaya on familiarization trip and interaction with the space scientists.
“Of the 368 eligible students, 113 were shortlisted for the programme in March before the national lockdown was enforced on March 25 and extended. Due to uncertainty over the continuation of the pandemic, the trip has been cancelled,” said the official.
As part of its outreach programme, ISRO had set up space technology cells, incubation centres and regional academic centres for educating the students in space science.
According to ISRO chairman K. Sivan, the Yuva Vigyani Karyakram (Yuvika) has been pioneered to inspire young minds for taking up space science as a career subject and become space scientists.
“Science and technology are essential for the development of any country and play a major role in improving the quality of life, besides our safety and security,” said Sivan told the first batch of Yuvika students in May 2019.