Monday, September 14, 2015

A project for schools students in India

This article is concerned about an academic project that we have recently initiated for school students in India. The project is running during the academic year 2015-2016 in some schools in rural regions of Maharashtra. Some of my friends, who are working at various international research institutes, have written short articles (in Marathi as well as English) for students and we are distributing this supplementary reading material to the students in the rural areas. We need some helping hands. This blogpost explains what we need and we request you to help us if possible.

1. We are searching for partners in other states of India. We have a partner in Tamilnadu, and an NGO which have promised to work in some northern states. But we seek more schools and may be NGOs which will enable us to reach other states and more students will  benefit.
2. We have articles enough for an year. However, if this project succeeds, we wish to continue further, for the next year too. And for this, we need more articles.

The whole project involves NO MONEY. None of us have paid a single penny to each other either for writing or of distributing the articles.

Since the end of my masters in 2009, I have been visiting schools in rural areas of Maharashtra state along with some friends to make students interested in studies and offer them a career guidance. Maharashtra is my native state. The project ran well till 2013. However, later my visits to India reduced and my companions also moved to different places. This made planning these educational camps impossible. During 2013, we organized one camp in a village close to Pune. The planning took nearly three months and  lots of energy. But just a day before the camping day a sudden flood disconnected the village from  neighbourhood and we had to cancel the camp! This was the time I decided to plan something more concrete and something which will use the talent of my fellow researchers efficiently.

I thought that visiting a school once in a year is not so effective. If we want the students to benefit more, then we have to provide them with constant motivation and information. This gave rise to the idea of writing articles and sending them to EACH high school student from the schools we have been in contact with.

The plan:

I have been writing this math blog since two years. Shantanu, who is a physicist, has a nice blog on physics which contains beautiful articles and ideas, the link to Shantanu's blog is- Abhijeet who is an astronomer, and I planned to write articles on physics in Marathi long time ago. I planned to put all these writing projects together and asked others friends and colleagues to join. The plan was that we would write minimum 8 good articles and send them to the schools we have been in contact with. Depending on our funding situations, we would distribute the articles to EACH student in  8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th standards.

How should be the article? The article should be understandable by most of the people of all (sensible) ages--- something like a newspaper article, but more academic and scientifically correct. The readers should not need any prerequisites to understand the article. The article must be 2-4 A4 papers long with font size of 11-13 points. These 2-4 pages should also include the graphics. If the article is so good that the reader would not get bored, then all the rules will be ignored!

What do we expect from you-1:
1. At the moment, we have 8 articles. Five of them are in Marathi as well as English. However, we shall be happy to get more articles so that the project can be continued next year as well, that is, educational year 2016-17. 

Can you offer us an article? 

The subject should be your area of expertise and the topic of the article must be related to your present work experience. The articles should be in Marathi and English. Take your freedom to chose the topic. It is not necessary that the article is a scientific article! Arts, professions, environment... all are welcome! We should chose the best from all the branches of knowledge and offer them to the young minds! Let them choose what they want! We should tell them that Engineering, BSc, physician are not the only professions available. The modern world is full of infinite possibilities for profession!

2. The topic of the article must be "modern" or "non-traditional". Simultaneously  the authors should take care that the article interests student.
  Let me elaborate more on this point. For example, the mathematical articles in Marathi (or for that reason most of the Indian languages) seem to be bound by very few topics such as the stories and biographies of Shree Bhaskara, Shree Aryabhatta and Ramanujan, plane geometry involving triangles-squares, (the same) information about pi ---π. It is a fact that the school students cannot relate their academical studies with the technology used in their real-life. This reduces their interests in the studies. Our articles should enable them to relate their academical studies with what they use in the real life. In very simple words, I would say  if the student who has read an article in our series goes for an on-site-job in the future, and the job reminds of her/him of the article, then this will be the true rewards for us.

3. Some of us are writing articles about language studies. If you are a language expert and are confused about what to write, then here are some options: most of the German-French language teachers play nice interactive language games during the teaching. You may discover such a game which a student in a rural remote village can also prepare using the simple resources available to her/him. Otherwise you may also exhibit the resemblance/differences among the indian languages, or indian languages and some Indo-European languages. This can be done in such a way that it encourage the students to learn another languages.
Those who work in laboratories may design simple experiments for these students.

4. The author reserves all the right of the article(s). We won't use/modify the article for any purpose without the author's permission. 

5. We have been sending the articles since June 11, 2015. To read the sent articles in Marathi and English click here.

6. Arul Ganesh and Dr. Divakaran D. started working on the translation of the articles and implementing the project in Kerala.

What shall I/we do with the articles?
i. Editing.
ii. We have some friends, social-workers and NGOs who work in Kokan, North-Solapur, Phalatan who will receive a Marathi as well as an English article, each month via email. They will print the articles and distribute monthly to the students. Most of these people will bear the expenses of printing.

What do we expect from you-2:

If you cannot write an article, still you can participate to distribute it to a school.
6. You can contact school(s) in your native village, your own school, the school of your children or an NGO that works in such projects and explain them the project and ask their permission to participate. If the school agrees, send me an email or comment on this blogpost with your Google+ id and I shall include you in the monthly mailing list. 

7. It is your responsibility to print the articles and make them appear on the students' desk. If there is a genuine issue with funding, please let us know and we may try helping you. None of the coordinators, authors, translators, editors or anybody involved in this project has asked for a single penny for their toils. The project does not expect any sort of economical exchange.

Future of the project:
We cannot assure the exact future of this project, however, we have some plans. At the moment think of the following discussion just as "making plans for the uncertain future :) ". 
1. Some of us are of the opinion that we should make a blog of these articles. This blog will be dedicated to all possible streams of knowledge--- physics, mathematics, environment, economics, languages, etc.
2. Once we have all the articles, preparing an e-Book with LaTeX does not seem a hard job. We have not yet thought about what to do with this book but ,eventually, each one of us will surely have a nice book to keep on your coffee table.

                                                                    ∆  ∆


  1. HI Rohit,
    How s the project doing?
    Have you prepared writeups for year 2?

    1. Hi Anant!
      We have stopped writing new articles.
      I shall update you when we start writing again.