Join the Talent Bandwagon

Alia Tabassum
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Those looking for a career in pure sciences have several talent search programmes to enter the courses where studies are funded under official schemes. Dr. Seemin Rubab provides a glimpse of the entire spectrum.

The fact that the talent should be identified and nurtured from the very beginning is the genesis of all talent search examinations. Moreover, these tests are designed to enable students and institutions to measure themselves against a national standard. One of the most prestigious talent search exam, the Olympiads train the students to tackle any entrance exam of high calibre. In particular students who want to write JEE exam in future may appear in National Standard Examination (NSEs) in Physics and chemistry. Those who want to write NEET may appear in NSEB in addition to the above two.  Stakeholders in education are aware of many of the talent search and nurture programs but they seem unaware of all the benefits of such exams. All science teachers of secondary and senior secondary schools should take pro active role in conduct of such exams. All science teachers are urged to become members of professional societies like Indian Association of Physics Teachers and similarly named bodies for Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology to motivate their students for participating in Olympiad exams. Among other things Olympiads and Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) lead to admission in prestigious Institutes of basic science like Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISERs), National Institute of Science Education and research (NISER) and Dept of Atomic Energy etc.
National Talent Search (NTS) Exam of NCERT: NTS exam of NCERT is targeted at students of class X. NTS is a two tier (state level prelims and national level) exam which consists of two papers namely the mental ability test and scholastic aptitude test. The scholarships are awarded to the successful candidates for pursuing courses in sciences up to doctoral level and in professional courses like medicine and engineering up to second-degree level. The state level exam will be conducted on November 17. For details visit the website of NCERT.
Olympiad and National Standard Examination in Sciences: Students having proficiency in basic sciences at senior secondary level can sit for prestigious exams like National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP) and the ones for Chemistry, Biology, Math and Astronomy. The Olympiad in Junior Science (NSEJS) has been added from the year 2008 for secondary level students. NSEs lead to National, Asian and International Olympiad Examinations. The programme aims at promoting excellence in science and mathematics among pre-university students and selecting teams of students to represent India at the International Olympiads in these subjects. NSEs are conducted on November 24 and the last date for registration is September 15 (www.iapt.org.in). A student can sit for any three of the subjects. The exam fee is only Rs. 100 per subject for all three stages. Any student can apply through his/ her school for participation in any of these Olympiads.  The Principal/ Senior Faculty Coordinator in the subject may contact IAPT office at Pune and get the institution registered for the conduct of examination after completing necessary formalities. Merit-wise top 300 students from all over the country will be called for the Indian National Olympiad in respective subjects. About 35 students selected on the basis of their performance at the National Olympiads will be eligible for the respective Orientation cum selection Camps (OCSC) at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai. The final teams for International Olympiads will be chosen from these students at the end of these OCSC Camps.
International Mathematics Olympiad: Regional Mathematics Olympiad (RMO) is held in each region normally between September and first Sunday of December each year. All high school students up to 12th std. are eligible to appear for RMO. On the basis of performance in RMO students are selected for Indian National Mathematics Olympiad (INMO). INMO is held on first Sunday of February each year at various centres in different regions. The top 30-35 performers in INMO receive a certificate of merit. The INMO certificate awardees are invited to a month long training camp in May-June, each year. The final team consisting of five exceptionally gifted students represents India at International Math Olympiad (IMO) held in July every year. For application forms and registration process the students are advised to visit the website of HBCSE, Mumbai.
The Indian National Olympiad Informatics (INOI): It is a nationwide competition organized annually by Indian Association for Research in Computer Science (www.iarcs.org.in/inoi) in coordination with CBSE. The goal of the competition is to identify school students with outstanding skills in algorithms and computer programming.
Kishore Vaigyanic Protsahan Yojna (KVPY): KVPY is aimed at senior secondary as well as  graduates. It is a program started by Department of Science and Technology (DST) in 1999 to encourage students of basic science, engineering and medicine to take up research careers in these areas. A generous scholarship is provided up to the pre- Ph. D. level to the selected students. This program is administered by Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (http://iisc.ernet.in/kvpy, http://www.kvpy.org.in). Students who represent India in the International Olympiads in Physics/Chemistry/Biology /Mathematics/Informatics and Astronomy automatically qualify for KVPY Fellowship provided they complete X/XII Standard Board Examination and continue studying in science subjects.There are two separate streams for students enrolled in 11th std (Stream SA) and 12th std (Stream SX). Only those students who have scored more than 80% in science and Mathematics are eligible for this scheme. All the eligible candidates from Streams SA and SX have to appear for a written aptitude test. Students are advised to visit KVPY website in September to know about important dates regarding KVPY aptitude test to be held in November.
(The writer teaches physics at National Institute of Technology, Srinagar. She is life member of Indian Association of Physics Teachers. She blogs on drseeminrubab.blogspot.com)