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Posted By : Admin
4/20/2016 12:41 PM

ijsoAn interesting contest that is held every year, for students of science is the International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO). The contest is held in December every year. Students who are under fifteen years of age on January 1 of the year in which the contest is being held and who are studying in Class X or below are eligible to compete.

"Indian Association of Physics Teachers and others involved in the Olympiads conduct awareness programmes in various places. Teacher training programmes are also conducted, in urban as well as rural areas, aiming to add an extra dimension to teaching, and to increase awareness about events such as the IJSO International Junior Science Olympiad. Awareness about it can certainly be improved, in India as well as worldwide. Currently, about 40 - 50 countries participate; this can certainly be increased with better awareness," says Prof. Surabhi Potnis from St Xaviers College, Mumbai, who was one of the faculty team leaders that accompanied the Indian team last year to the contest. Unlike the senior Olympiad, the IJST is not held in separate subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry, computer science and so on, but in science as an overall subject which covers physics, chemistry and biology. Indian teams have been performing consistently well in this international competition which has participation from developed as well as developing countries.

Of the six teams that participated in the competition held at Daegu, South Korea, last year, five secured a gold medal and one got silver. The year before, India was the "country winner," a title given to the country which secures the maximum number of medals. When asked whether preparing for this will not affect students adversely, when they are already working hard over their regular exams, not to mention preparing for the competitive exams, Prof. Potnis says, "The IJSO International Junior Science Olympiad is a competition. It's completely voluntary and does not really need any extra preparation. Students who have studied well and understood the concepts can easily participate and do well." The selection process and training happens for a whole year before the IJSO. In November, more than a year before the actual international contest, an all-India exam is held for interested students. Out of this, about 300 students are shortlisted for a Indian Junior Science Olympiad, which is held in January. Of this, about 35-40 students are selected for a three-week orientation-cum-selection camp that is held at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, in Mumbai. At the camp, students are trained rigorously by a team of faculty drawn from schools and colleges across the country.

Based on their performance, six students from this batch are selected for the international contest which is held in December. These six students are further trained in a pre-departure camp in November. Travelling to a new country is a fascinating experience for these students and holds many interesting experiences. In a lighter vein, Prof. Potnis narrates one such incident: "The team that went to Daegu, South Korea consisted of five boys and one girl, all vegetarians. In Daegu, they had a major problem of food, as there were many non-vegetarian items, but very few vegetarian ones on the menu. Initially, they subsisted on milkshakes and fries, but within two days the students took the initiative of meeting the chef and requesting him to make simple vegetarian items for them, which he did!"

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Unlike the senior Olympiad, the IJST is not held in separate subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry, computer science and so on, but in science as an overall subject which covers physics, chemistry and biology.

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