Chandan Kaushik Saikia is a Class X student of Namdeuri Higher Secondary School in Jorhat. His dream is to pursue his higher studies in an IIT. The day he came to know of a school-based quiz competition whose finals will be in IIT Guwahati, he knew he would be there. And so was he after winning the district-level competition with two of his classmates Dipankar Saikia and Gautam Neog. Not only was he in IIT, but he also won the quiz finals there and left a mark in the institution with his presence.
“Our first phase of competition was among 10 selected schools. Each school was represented by a minimum of 10 teams. So, we had to compete with over 100 teams. It was an online quiz. We won that round to qualify for the final round in IIT Guwahati. After a hard-fought competition among district winners, we emerged on top. For me, this is a unique experience and achievement,” says Chandan while talking to Asom Barta.
This quiz competition among the students of Assam was one of the activities under a special scheme called Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA) conceived by the Ministry of Education and conducted by the Samagra Shiksha Abhijan (SSA) in State-run schools for secondary grade students. The objective of this scheme is to inculcate a scientific temper in students and enhance their ability to handle competitions. Besides, RAA also aims to harness the potential of the youth by encouraging them to become problem-solvers and innovators.
Uday Jyoti Borah, an assistant teacher in Chandan’s school, says, “This idea has caught up. It is important to impart knowledge beyond books. The Olympiad has helped us. A team from IIT came and coached us in many experiments on science. It was a very fruitful exercise. Our students then exhibited these projects.”
“It is important to impart knowledge beyond books. The Olympiad has helped us. A team from IIT came and coached us in many experiments on science. It was a very fruitful exercise. Our students the exhibited these projects”
Among other activities under the scheme includes a Science and Maths Olympiad, formation of clubs on Science and Maths, mentoring of schools by higher education institutes, a children science congress, etc. A portal is also being developed called RAA Online Portal which will host a gamut of features related to the activities outlined.
The team of Archita Dutta, Anindita Bora and Rashmi Pathak of Class X representing Sivasagar Government Higher Secondary and Multipurpose School was placed third in the quiz competition. They are in a different league post their interaction with a team from IITG which came to their school. “We were opened to a new world in the three days that the IITG team interacted with us. From online coaching of Maths and Science, and personal interaction and exhibition of experiments, we learnt a lot,” says Archita.
Ratul Barman, the nodal teacher of the scheme for Paschim Bonbhag Higher Secondary School in Nalbari outlines the achievement of his school. “Our Class VIII student Dhiru Pratim Kalita topped the district-level competition (objective-type) in Science and Maths Olympiad. Besides, Dhritismita Brahma, our student, managed to secure a position in the Olympiad.” He says that a team of IITG interacted with 19 selected students from the school and coached them on preparing science-based projects. These projects were displayed at an exhibition held at one of the schools in the district where 10 students from the school participated.”