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Conscience call on campus

Even as the reconstruction of Iraq flashes into homes, the spectre of war cannot go away, with daily reports of death and destruction. Attractive though the idea of study abroad may be, a second thought in these uncertain times is not unusual. Here’s the last issue of Time to Talk on the topic ‘In the wake of the war, will students think twice about going to universities in the US and the UK'’

lUniversities in the UK and US may be the foremost in the world, but a disruption in the nation would still affect campus life. Just like communal violence, terrorism and even natural calamity have shaken our country. Students as well as their parents have to be concerned about the security as well and must, in the present scenario, think twice about studying in countries like the US and UK.

Barsha Chabaria,

M.Com, Calcutta University

lDetermined students will not give undue weight to factors like politics and war. For a student, education has to be top priority. The UK and US are some of the best places to study and to pass up the chance in the name of war is absurd. This is a temporary phase and will end.

Vineeta Nair,

Class XII, Modern High School

lIt is quite natural that students will have second thoughts about studying in the US or UK now. When you are travelling miles away from home, the first thing you worry about is your safety. And since these countries are embroiled in a war, there is always a risk factor. However, this is only a temporary phase.

S. Goswami,

Mahadevi Birla Girls

lThe war on Iraq will not deter students from going to the US or UK for higher studies. Students are rarely made targets in international terrorism. There might be a few who pull out at the eleventh hour, but the majority will stick to their plans.

Subhobrata Basu,

3rd Year, Asutosh College

lThe involvement of US and UK in the Iraq war may have a psychological effect on a student’s mind. But the show must go on, and it is better not to let these things affect such vital decisions. An opportunity to study abroad can change one’s life.

Amrita Singh,

IIIrd year, Gokhale Memorial Girls College

lStudying in a country directly engaged in aggression on another country may put some students off. But, practically speaking, if the institute is good, problems should not arise. On the other hand, it will help our country by plugging the brain drain. After all, it doesn’t matter what country we study in but the effort we put in. In our country as well, many things happen all the time that may cause offence to others. The important thing is not to support the wrongdoers.

Nidhi Bawaria

lI don’t think students will think twice about going to universities in the US and the UK in the wake of the war. Their main priority is their career and finding a footing in life. A person focussed on career will not be stopped by anything, leave alone a very serious issue directly concerning India.

Kamalika Chaudhuri,

Class XI (Arts), Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan

 

Creamy contest

She’s gone from being a school student to a soon-to-be television star. For Srijita Bose, it’s a dream come true. “I ate ice creams, collected the wrappers and gave them to the ice cream man in school. He gave me a scratch card, on which was written ‘Max prize’. The Kwality men took it away and then rang my parents the next day.”

Srijita will be on her way to Bombay to shoot for an animated film with none other than Scooby-Doo, the lovable, ever-scared ghost-busting dog on Cartoon Network. The first Calcutta winner of the Bano Toonstar with Scooby-Doo contest, run by Kwality Walls and Cartoon Network, says she hasn’t had time to inform all her friends yet, but “I don’t know what they will say”.

As for appearing on TV, the 10-year-old is excited, not nervous. “I have never acted before, so I have no idea what it will be like. I am sure it will be fun,” the La Martiniere student says. The shooting is scheduled between June and July, and if everything goes smoothly, it should be over in a week. But for the youngster, seeing the sights and doing some shopping is on the agenda, too.

The fame is just a side effect. “I don’t think I will be famous in school when they see me on TV in September. But I would like to be famous. It would be nice,” Srijita says. However, since school closed for the holidays after the windfall, her friends don’t know of her prize yet.

Parents Nabanita and Gautam are happy for her because “she is a shy child, and maybe this will give her a bit of confidence”. The contest is on till May 31.

 

Action cry

Right Now was set up in 2000 by a dozen young college-goers to address issues concerning children, youth and the environment. It was the “growing apathy” amongst the Indian youth that prompted them to start the movement that intends to bring together like-minded and sensitive young people to work together towards achieving a better state and society.

Right Now has chapters in Pune and Calcutta that have been working with young people on sexuality and peace.

On Monday, Right Now, in association with the department of sociology and political science, Presidency College, organised a screening of The Children We Sacrifice, a documentary on child sexual abuse. This was also the launch of the group’s campaign on the subject, with future plans for more such events involving teachers, principals and college students. The objective: To make young people aware about issues of sexuality, body literacy and gender stereotyping and to encourage discussion and debate about forms of effective intervention in cases of abuse, breaking the ‘hush-hush’ attitude and providing a support structure.

The Calcutta chapter has organised a debate on human rights violations in Kashmir, a workshop on sexuality and gender for Class XI and XII students of Loreto House, and has conducted surveys on AIDS awareness and sexuality.

— Oishik Sircar,

4th Year, ILS Law College

 

Top grade

It was a pat on the back for St Xavier’s College from its ex-students. The alumni association of the college — which has recently been awarded the ‘A’ grade by the NAAC — held a celebratory ceremony on Saturday, felicitating old professors and fathers of the school. Students, teachers and alumni put up a glittering show, followed by a lavish dinner on the lawns.

 

Question time

South Point High School celebrated its golden jubilee recently, hosting the MP Birla Smarak Kosh inter-school quiz and one-act play competitions.

Quiz master Barry O’Brien kept the audience guessing through seven rounds of quizzing. Over 25 schools participated in the prelims, with St Augustine, St Xavier’s, Don Bosco Park Circus, Calcutta Boys, Frank Anthony, Patha Bhavan, the boys from Birla High and the hosts qualifying for the finals. The contest was aced by Sroyon Mukherjee, Pingal Khan, Antariksh Das and Mainak Mazumdar from the host school, with Don Bosco and St Augustine following in second and third place.

Leading city schools also participated in the ninth M.P. Birla One-Act Play Competition on May 11 at Madhusudan Mancha. Mahadevi Birla’s Six, a play on two burning issues — child labour and trafficking of women — won them first prize. St Augustine’s production, A Bridge Too Far, a story about a teenager who suffers from loneliness, came in second. Next up was Lakshimpat Singhania Academy, presenting Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the ‘Fairest’ of them All!, a bilingual play that reflected on lives of real-life politicians, journalists and film stars. Apeejay School received the Judges Choice Award for their play Just Look At Me... Keep Looking which examined the futility of communalism and casteism.

Anushree Mazumdar of MBG and Shayani Bhattacharya of Carmel won the best actress awards while Nisha Karunakaran of Apeejay and Sahil Shanghavi received special mentions.

 

Laurel for lawmen

It was victory for Calcutta all the way at the Willem Vis International Commercial Arbitration Competition in Vienna, Austria, recently. The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences team comprising Joy Jyoti Misra, Mithun V. Thanks and Siddharth Sharma put India on the world champions map, now the second Asian nation to win the title in the competition’s 30-year history. The trio beat several renowned institutions, including Harvard, London and Columbia universities, with their skills in negotiating and arbitrating international commercial disputes at the mock trial sessions.

 

Summer dos

Teachers Chitra Bhaskar and Savita Mehrotra are organising a summer camp from May 23 to June 1, 9 am to 12 noon, at Sushikshan Vidyalay, 103 Lake Terrace (Contact No: 24666345). Kids between the ages of six and 14 will be taught yoga, gardening, puppetry, mask-making, dramatics, snack-making and music.

Aptech is starting vacation courses — Whiz Kids, Wonder Teen, Web Wizard — for kids between six and 18 years. Starting with the basics, these courses cover the basics, animation, HTML, Front Page and Internet, according to age group.

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