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Getting the feel of Science Olympiads

THE SPIRITS of the children to win a medal for India at the Olympiads could be easily judged by the fact that despite it being Sunday about 200 students from various schools of Lucknow turned up at Seth MR Jaipuria to have a real taste of the International Science Olympiads (Physics, Chemistry and Biology).

india Updated: Oct 25, 2005 10:58 IST

THE SPIRITS of the children to win a medal for India at the Olympiads could be easily judged by the fact that despite it being Sunday about 200 students from various schools of Lucknow turned up at Seth MR Jaipuria to have a real taste of the International Science Olympiads (Physics, Chemistry and Biology).

Perhaps for the first time students and teachers shared the same seat in rapt attention to listen the experts and take down notes. The interactive sessions also saw school children saw children asking a wide range of questions to the subject experts.

Initially the students were hesitant to ask questions, but with the days progress they become very interactive. Prof Vijay A Singh, National Co-ordinator, Science Olympiads told HT Campus: “In-depth study of various aspects of the subject is required. Superficial studies will not prove beneficial if you aim for the Science Olympiads.”

He further stated that children who are preparing for the Olympiad have to develop a love for the subject. Prof Singh also emphasised on teachers training to ensure good performance at the international level.

When asked about India’s medal hopes in the coming Olympiad, Prof Singh said, “This year we have a better chances and we are certain that our children will perform better.”

Singh also lamented that the move of the government to give only two chances for IIT-JEE has unfortunately killed the spirits of the IIT-JEE. “The best book for the students as far as Olympiad is concerned is the NCERT text book and a couple of international publications like the ‘Haliday and Resnick Physics’,” said the Physics professor when asked about the best book for preparation.

Professor in Organic Chemistry and Head Chemical Department, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, Prof SD Samant expressed his satisfaction on the performance of Indian students. “My mantra for students is you must understand your potential and also be aware of the national and international situations in this field,” said Prof Samant. The professor was also of the view that in India, the focus is more on theory and very less effort is put on experiments.

He admitted the quality of examination in India is quite poor and has to be updated as per the international standards. He also opposed the concept of grading in the examinations.

Academic co-ordinator, Chemistry Olympiad programme, Dr Savita Ladage said, “We have won three gold medals, five silver medals and six bronze medals in the last Olympiad at Taipei in 2004 and we are confident that this time the medal tally will improve.”

Apart from students there are also ‘Research Generation Camp’ for the teachers and at a time 25 teachers are taught various nuances of the science Olympiad. “At the camp in Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) we expose the teachers to a variety of problems which can be asked in the Olympiads,” added Savita Ladage.

Students also showed their keen interest in the workshop and were excited about the new tricks and tips they got from the experts.