Govt school students break Olympiad jinx
When 17-year-old Satyam, studying in a government school, applied to participate in the 4th International Olympiad of Metropolises in Moscow — where he won a bronze medal on Friday — he did not even have a passport.
“I had seen other students getting selected for international competitions or exchange programmes and sometimes, the passport would be an issue. So the first thing I did was to apply for one,” said the class 12 student of Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya in Dwarka’s Sector 10.
Satyam, and his classmate Harshita Rao, 17, won bronze medals in chemistry at the international competition held in the first week of September in Moscow, becoming the first team from a government school to bring home a medal.
The two were among the eight students from Delhi government schools who flew to the Russian capital to participate in the Moscow Olympiad, held for the students aged 14-18 years. The duo competed against 44 teams from across the world.
Started in 2016 by the mayor of the city, Moscow Olympiad tests participants on their knowledge of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and informatics on three different tests. The students are judged by a jury comprising world-renowned professors and scientists.
Asked about his favourite aspect of the entire experience, Satyam said, “It was winning a medal.” The Najafgarh resident, whose father has a water-supply business, added that Moscow was a clean city and he enjoyed the weather. “We could have performed better if we had more time to prepare but it was a good experience since we got international exposure,” the IIT aspirant said.
His classmate Rao agreed to the same. “We got to interact with students from different countries and that helped us understand how chemistry is studied across the world. It will also benefit me if I decide to go abroad for higher studies,” she said.
“We even exchanged numbers with some of the participants and plan to stay in touch,” added Satyam.
Rao, however, struggled with the local cuisine. “I didn’t like the food and survived mostly on fruits, bread and the food we carried from here,” she said.
While this was Satyam’s first international tour, Rao had visited Japan in April as a part of a cultural exchange programme. “The Tokyo trip was smoother because more people spoke and understood English, compared to Moscow. We noticed that the Russians promoted their own language and culture a lot. It is something we could learn from,” said Rao, who aspires to serve the country as a civil servant.
Principal Rajpal Singh said the first medal would instil confidence in other students. “They broke the jinx. Now, more students will be inspired to take part in such competitions. Besides, interaction with those who study different syllabi will benefit the students. This is empowering for our children who often come from marginalised communities and do not have the means for such exposure.”