IGNOU felicitates 41 South Asian students

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - Dressed in crisp school uniforms, as also traditional attire, winners of the IGNOU-UNESCO Science Olympiad had a gala of a time Sunday at their felicitation ceremony at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) campus here.

The Olympiad was held in August at 102 centres in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, including 83 in India.

A total of 4,384 students of the 11th grade participated, of which 41 were selected for their outstanding performance. Twenty-nine prize winners were from India and 12 were from other SAARC nations.

“This is a first of a kind Olympiad that was held in the university and the response has been overwhelming. We have been actively supported by UNESCO in our effort to nurture young talent and we will make this an annual event,” IGNOU vice chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai told IANS.

The winners were happy that their hard work paid off. While some of them came with their parents, others were accompanied by their teachers.

“It was a great experience, with so many students from different countries getting together. The test was difficult but I enjoyed doing it a lot as it challenged and raised my standard of intelligence,” Minhazul Islam from Bangladesh told IANS.

Sonam Drukpa from Bhutan found the syllabus tough as it was quite different from what they are taught back home.

“I got the syllabus from IGNOU’s website and got a bit worried as it was not similar to our school syllabus. So, I started studying in a library for three weeks patiently and was prepared for the exam,” she said.

“I prepared on my own and completed the syllabus in one month. It was good test of my ability and I liked the whole experience,” Saidmohammad Agha Arif from Afghanistan told IANS.

The authorities too were meticulous in their preparations.

“We made the necessary arrangements and paid for their trip to Delhi and also helped them in procuring the visas. We made sure that all the students participated in the ceremony,” added Pillai.

The winners received medals, awards, cash prizes and merit certificates. Further, five were declared overall toppers and received an ‘Award of Excellence’. They also received laptops from Intel.

“This Olympiad is an added milestone to popularize science in south Asia. There is a need to demystify science and technology so that everybody can access it,” said UNESCO General Conference president Davidson L. Hepburn.

The function coincides with India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s 121st birthday, 25th anniversary of IGNOU and 65th anniversary of UNESCO.

IGNOU is one of the world’s largest open universities which provides education to 1.5 million students.

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