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IIT-Madras unveils hybrid course to increase water literacy

IIT-Madras unveils hybrid course to increase water literacy

IIT Madras has launched a four-month certificate course, Water Quality – An Approach to People’s Water Data, to create water-literate citizens. The course will teach about water quality and its impact on human health while also creating a database of ground, surface, and piped water quality. Students will have the opportunity to test water quality in practicals and receive a certificate from IIT-M. The course, in partnership with Tel Aviv University, costs ₹1,500 and is open to students in their final year of science or engineering.

In order to create water-literate citizens, IIT Madras has unveiled a hybrid four-month certificate course – Water Quality – An Approach to People’s Water Data.

Apart from teaching students, this course will help create a database of ground, surface and piped water quality, said T Pradeep, chemistry professor with IIT-M and one of the five instructors of the course. The institute has partnered with Tel Aviv University in Israel for the course.

As a pilot project, IIT Madras trained students of Stella Maris College, Madras Christian College and some students from Erode. It tested the water quality in 300 houses in Chennai and Erode and uploaded the data online. “Major findings from the previous exercise were that people were unaware about water quality and they believed that water from reverse osmosis is pure,” said Prof Pradeep.

Now, IIT-M has launched this course to expand the initiative. Theory classes will be conducted online and offline about water quality and its impact on human health. The offline practicals involve each student picking 10 houses and testing water quality, including measuring the pH, hardness, coliform, nitrate, chloride etc.

“This course is a deep-dive on water quality. Also, the course will generate water data. If we have 150 students, we will get 1,500 water sample data,” said Pradeep.

T Swaminathan, former professor of chemical engineering professor at IIT-M, suggested that the course could involve how different organisms, apart from humans, are affected by water quality.

Students can have a certificate from IIT-M on water quality, which will add to their resumes, and they can apply to water or food testing centres, shared Pradeep.

The course will entail a fee of Rs 1,500, which will be refunded after course completion. The fee will also include field test kits. For practicals, the students will be assigned the closest colleges or labs, said Prof Pradeep.

“The course can pick cities like Chennai, Trichy and Coimbatore for offline practicals,” said Swaminathan.

Minimum eligibility for the course is final year of bachelors of science or engineering. The registration forms are on the NPTEL website and the last date to register is January 18. Classes will begin from January 22, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, between 5pm and 5.50pm.

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