HBCSE is organising a two day workshop on creating a Marathi Vishwakosh i.e. Junior encyclopedia (std. 9-12). Several teachers, writers, and eminent scientists from Maharashtra are involved in the workshop. The workshop began with address by Prof. J. V. Narlikar an eminent astrophysicist and who is active in science popularization.
The speaker began his address with an answer to a commonly asked question — is there a need for Marathi Vishwakosh (encyclopedia in Marathi language). He affirmatively said—“Yes!” and defended his position by saying that teaching science can begin by using our mother tongue, because it is natural for anybody to understand due to the fact that we communicate and understand clearly in our mother tongue. When it comes to any other language (English) for learning science then one needs to translate, paraphrase before understanding.
During the workshop, the speaker gave suggestions related to the improvement of Marathi Vishwakosh such as usage of a simple, and common i.e. unofficial language in the encyclopedia, incorporating a FAQ at the end of the volume to encourage the students to find out the answers, to include articles releated to current issues, and most importantly to contextualized with the Indian culture.
After the address there were questions/suggestions.
I too was tempted to provide with a suggestion by pointing out that the project can involve students. Just before the volume gets published, get a good representative of students (10-25) and during vacation ask them to read the entries in the volume and then get their feedback on the simplicity, understanding, etc. and then incorporate the feedback before publishing. The encyclopedia is ultimately for the students. I am glad that the suggestion was accepted as a good idea. 🙂