Kalpana Chawla Space Academy (KCSA), India’s first school-level space training institute, was inaugurated at the Adv Bapusaheb Bhonde High School in association with the Narayan Bhargava Foundation in Lonavala recently. The initiative aims to nurture school students in space education through a residential programme.
The KCSA will induct students from Class 7, based on a pan-India entrance test and a series of other selection rounds, into a four-year residential programme. The training of a special batch of 25 students from Adv Bapusaheb Bhonde High School in the current academic year has already begun, following a selection process. Also, the programme is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) which prioritises vocational skill development among school students.
Named in honour of the Indian-origin astronaut Kalpana Chawla, the academy was launched as part of India’s former president and missile man Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s mission to fulfil his dream of spreading science education across the country.
The academy was inaugurated by Indian nuclear physicist Padma Vibhushan Dr Anil Kakodkar in the presence of Dr Sudheer Kumar N, ISRO director CBPO, ISRO scientist Padma Bhushan Dr Pramod Kale among others.
The infrastructure has been developed through the Narayan Bhargava Foundation, a CSR arm of the Narayan Bhargava Group. Speaking at the inauguration, Narayan Bhargava, Founder and CMD, Narayan Bhargava Group, said, “India’s ambitious space programmes can only be sustained on the back of a steady supply of world-class scientists. There is a need for institutions that can identify and nurture talented students in space sciences at a very young age and encourage their curiosity and imagination in the field. Through KCSA, a first-of-its-kind academy, we aim to mould young students into top-notch scientists, innovators and space enthusiasts who can ensure India’s continued dominance in the space sector.”
The rigorous and broad-spectrum curriculum at KCSA focuses on the all-round growth of the child. Each year of the course consists of certain staple modules that give the student an insight into space science, social development, skill-building, physical development, and creative enrichment.
Students shall apply for the course through an online application. The pan-India entrance test would be used to shortlist candidates from the applicant pool.
The pedagogy chosen places little emphasis on classroom instruction and more emphasis on activity-based experiential learning that is centred around experiential learning focused on practical training, fieldwork, and projects for the application of concepts learnt while refining their skills through internships, seminars, quizzes, role plays, and more. A variety of topics, including fundamental scientific and mathematical concepts, astronomy, rocketry, robotics, STEM, environmental science, and biodiversity in addition to the Sanskrit language will be covered.