Aalok Sathe, a student from Pune, won a bronze medal at the 14th International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) that came to an end on 29 July. The top three individual scorers included Jaeyeong Yang from Republic of Korea, James Wedgwood from USA and Liam Robert McKnight from UK. Teams from Sweden, Australia and UK took the top three positions in the team contest.  The IOL for secondary school students is one of the 12 international science Olympiads. Computational thinking, analytical reasoning and logical deduction were the focus of this year’s global competition, co-organised by Microsoft Research to encourage computational thinking and the study of linguistics among students. Over 170 students representing 30 countries, including India, USA, Japan, Germany and Singapore, gathered to test their minds against the world’s toughest puzzles in language and linguistics.  The event facilitated awareness, evoking interest in the scientific study of language among young change makers from different parts of the world. India was represented by 10 students shortlisted through the Panini Linguistic Olympiad (PLO). The five-daylong event comprised two competitive individual tests, team contests, jeopardy-style quizzes and cultural performances introducing global students to the rich and diverse (cultural) heritage of India.

Grand celebration

Madurdaha Satyavritti  Vidyalaya – the education wing of Dakshini Prayash – celebrated its 14th Foundation Day on 24 July at Rotary Sadan. The programme was graced by Meeryung Hall. Also present on the occasion were Craig Hall, Consul General, Consulate General of USA, Damiano Francovigh, Consul General, Consulate General of Italy, Dr. KB Bakshi and many more.  Madurdaha  Satyavritti  Vidyalaya (MSV) was established as an education wing of Dakshini Prayash that has been uplifting socially and economically challenged persons, especially children, through education, healthcare and self-reliance. There were about 400 students, 40 teaching and about 10 non-teaching staff present at the event. 

The programme aimed to nurture the indomitable spirit amongst children of a lesser privileged section of society to help them to overcome the shackles of economic poverty and grow up accomplished, healthy and self – assured members of society.

Sports initiative

Narendra Modi digitally launched the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) initiative pan India on 23 July, kicking off nation’s multi-city, multi-sports school and college sports competition. With the official launch, Reliance Foundation will invest in building a culture of sports in schools and colleges.  As part of the digital launch of RFYS initiative, the dignitaries connected from New Delhi through live broadcast, simultaneously to eight sports grounds at Kochi, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati and Pune. The Prime Mininster interacted with the school children and watched the RFYS football friendlies played among schools to mark the launch of this initiative ‘Let’s Play’.  For the inaugural year (2016-17 academic year), football competitions will be held in these eight cities competing in four categories- Junior Boys (Grade 7 – 10); Senior Boys (Grade 11 – 12); Senior Girls (Grade 11- 12) and College Boys (Graduate institutes) to reach to two million children in 2000 educational institutions with 40,000 plus youths participation in sports. From second year (2017-18) multi-discipline sports such as basketball, athletics, badminton, volleyball and tennis will be added. RFYS will cover 16 cities, 4000 institutions and expect to have one lakh students’ participation through the initiative. They will have over 3000 games in Football competition to be broadcast on digital platform in the inaugural year.

Building Apps for a better future 

The U.S. Consulate General-Kolkata, in collaboration with Nasscom 10,000 Start Ups and Microsoft, hosted a 24-hour Hackathon, ‘Building Apps for a Better Future’ at the American Center from 23- 24 July.  Approximately 126 participants comprising of students, entrepreneurs, professionals aged 16-60 as well as representatives from startups and corporate bodies participated in the event that used technology for social good.  Registered participants came in from Kolkata as well as parts of north Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chennai. Through many hours of computer coding, they worked in teams building websites, mobile apps, and hardware hack on apps for next generation enterprises, citizen reporting, and technology to address climate change.  They were also placed into teams to pitch ideas, network, code and get mentored by technical and business experts for the next 24 hours. 

 Nasscom 10,000 Start Ups Deputy Manager Ravi Ranjan and Microsoft Senior Audience Evangelism Manager Mark D’Souza joined Consul General Craig Hall to present prizes to the top three winners and the popular choice awardee. The winning teams App or After, Kolkata Intelligentsia, and Dark Swag  received internships at the Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Lumia devices, free library membership at the American Center and will also have a chance to pitch for incubation at Nasscom Warehouse Kolkata, Angel and VC investors.  The United States and India as enduring global partners in the 21st Century are committed to provide leadership on issues of shared interest.  The sharing of effective technology, skill development, and innovation play an important role in this partnership.

Lending programme

Emami Foundation, the CSR and philanthropic unit of Emami Group of Companies organised text book lending programme covering 346 students of class XI and XII from 16 schools across three centres in Kolkata and Hooghly on 30 July.  This was the eight edition of this programme under the Foundation’s educational CSR scheme ‘Padho India Padho’. Javed Ahmed Khan, Minster in Charge, Depts. of Disaster Management and Civil Defence, Govt. of West Bengal, graced the function as the Chief Guest. Around 154 students were distributed free text books. The event reached out to a total of around 1657 students of Kolkata and its suburbs as well as in Assam.   Besides, it also felicitated 330 students from 15 schools of Haripal block in Hooghly for securing high marks. The endeavour was undertaken to acknowledge the success of the rural students, recognise their achievement which otherwise remain unnoticed and to motivate them for future success.

Brilliance acknowledged

Students from FIITJEE Delhi NCR, an institute for IIT-JEE training demonstrated scholastic brilliance in National Talent Search Exam (NTSE 2016) with 399 students across India qualifying stage-II, conducted by the NCERT. The results were declared on 24 July. The NTSE Stage II examination is a science competition where a total of 775 students from across the country qualified. It is talent search examinations for school going children in India. It aims to identify students with high intellect who have immense ability to succeed in academics.  Every year, the programme is conducted in two stages. While the stage I is preliminary stage which allows all the students studying in class X to participate, stage II is only conducted for students who have qualified the first stage.Accordingly, Stage-I is conducted at the state level by States or Union Territories (UTs) through written examination, Stage-II is held at a national level. The examination acts as a guidance for the students to check their capability and potential, and weak points and shortcomings in the domains covered by the examination.