The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Red ribbon in class routine

It’s in the papers, it’s on TV and it’s everywhere. But it has yet to enter the schools. Educating students on HIV/AIDS is yet to catch on, with most shying away from discussing sexual health in schools and colleges. But the overwhelming response from students when Young Metro asked, “Should AIDS education be taken up in class'” says a thing or two…

lAIDS has become a pandemic caused by unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, infected blood, and passed on from mother to child. With no known cure for the disease, education in class is a must to curb its spread.

Aditya Narayan Saha

lPrevention, they say, is better than cure. And in the case of HIV/AIDS, no cure is possible. When education has taken the challenge of bridging the gaps of caste, creed, sex and religion, it may spread the word about HIV with positive results.

Shivaji Ghatak,

Ist year, City College

lAIDS education should definitely be introduced in schools, especially in a country like India, where an estimated 4 million people are presently affected by the HIV virus. The only way to prevent it is by educating everyone. A way of doing so is by educating students in schools and colleges to clarify their misconceptions about this deadly disease.

Piali Dasgupta,

Class XII, Patha Bhavan

lWith estimates indicating that India will soon have the highest number of people infected with HIV in the world, educating school and college students is a must. No heed should be paid to those questioning the introduction of the issue. It is a pity that sex education in schools is still a taboo though the act is not.

Subhobrata Basu,

IIIrd year, Asutosh College

lImparting AIDS education in class will be a great move. Most of us are unaware of what HIV/AIDS really is. We are filled with misinformation and those infected are still stigmatised in our society. Students can also organise campaigns to convey the message to others.

Sharmistha Dan,

Class XI, Shri Shikshayatan

lToday it’s AIDS, tomorrow, population control, one day, UN studies... With our daily load of homework, computer classes, and everything else, we are already overburdened. We are not machines. Please spare us.

Dibyendu Ghosh,

Barasat M.G.M. Higher Secondary School

lStudents are the future of India, and should be definitely made aware of the danger of this dreaded disease so they can avoid health hazards.

Piyal Mukherjee,

1st Year, Institute of Engineering and Management

lStudents must be given the tools to become able, healthy citizens of tomorrow. Sexual health education must be made compulsory. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

Sanhita Das

lHIV/AIDS in our country is spreading at an alarming rate due to the ignorance of the people. It is time the youth is made aware of the issues to prevent its spread. We are the most receptive to information during our student days.

Vineeta Nair,

Class XII, Modern High

lStudents on the threshold of puberty see the world through new eyes and may falter along the way. We should welcome the introduction of AIDS education in our classrooms. Our peers ill advise us, and we can’t ask our parents about these things.

Abhinanda Chakraborty,

Julien Day, Ganganagar

lWe must take up arms against HIV/AIDS, not those suffering from it. So, early awareness is essential.

Subrata Biswas

lIn a conservative country like India, where the discussion of subjects like sex is taboo, AIDS education should be taken up in class to spread correct information amongst the youth.



First steps

Traffic safety and prenatal care, eating lessons and tree-hugging. That is what the toddlers at Kindled Hearts Montessori House learn. Life skills and emotional intelligence are prioritised over problem-solving and discipline at 3B Ronaldshay Road.

Following principles of vertical grouping and activity criterion for promotion instead of the age, the Montessori has a “transit group” for toddlers yet to become ‘Montessorians’. Involving parents with the education process is key. Every term, before the open house, questionnaires are answered by parents. Special mother-child events are held. A child counsellor visits the Montessori weekly to listen to the problems faced by the parents and to discuss the child’s growth.

Keeping cartoon characters at arm’s length, Kindled Hearts has introduced computers to the kids, showing them CD-ROMs on topics of classroom discussion. They get Net savvy early on, with children being allotted personal e-mail addresses. The Montessori has its own website, with online application forms.

A nature club has been formed where the kids are taught plantation of trees and vegetables. The kids celebrated Earth Day on April 22, and have a special winter agenda with activities like ‘feeding the birds’, ‘flying like a butterfly’ and ‘hugging the trees’. The value of nature is introduced to the toddlers, who made carry bags out of old newspapers with their own artwork pasted on them and even encouraged local shopkeepers to use them.

The concept of creative learning has brought in dance workshops and even a weeklong workshop on puppetry, where puppets were made from cards, empty cans, boxes, old matchsticks and coconut shells. They were taught about plantation and how to recycle items for crafts. Recently, they held a land transport project where the students were taught about the modes of transport they encounter daily. Road-crossing rules, signs and traffic signals were also explained.

To prove to the kids that ‘reading is fun’, sessions where children read simple stories, chose a character and enacted them have been put together. A well-stocked library caters to those between one and 14, and even carries journals for mothers-to-be. The library has also been made available to the public against a nominal membership fee.

There is a Toddlers Café and a Montessori Café on campus, where nutritious food is served as advised by a dietician. This helps them learn to eat on their own, and a little bit of spillage is not frowned upon. A school magazine is published, with nursery rhymes composed by its teachers.

Grooming for life — not just admission tests — is what these kids are treated to.

— Harsh Vardhan Sonthalia,

IInd Year, St Xavier’s College


Festive times

It was finally Bhawanipur College’s turn to organise a fest. Umang 2002, the college’s first formal fest drew participation from over a dozen academic institutes.

Off-stage events kicked off the three-day affair, like Shristi- creative writing, Akriti - poster-making and Mirage - face-painting. But the top draw for the day was Mock Parliament. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh impersonators all had their say. Though it was Anup Chaudhary as Laloo Prasad Yadav who brought the floor down with his antics. HAM and Medley were also held on Day-I.

The second day got rolling with eastern music, which saw Institute of Modern Management carrying away the prize. The skit competition, won by Xaviers, was followed by an Antakshari. In the western group round, Banjo from Xaviers bagged the individual and team prizes. Singer Shayne, who was the judge of the event, also took the stage to belt out a few popular numbers on request.

On the final day, VJ Anchoring, dubbed Jabbering Jabboroni, was the first event on the list, hosted by Shakeeb Rehan, a Bhawanipur teacher and an RJ. Next up was the western dance, where the hosts put up a stunning show. The finale was the beauty pageant — Mr. and Miss Umang — which saw all the wannabe models walking the ramp.

Finally, St Xavier’s was adjudged the overall winner, with the hosts trailing in second place. The curtains came down on Umang with a DJ nite.

—Anupa Law,

2nd year, Bhawanipur College


Down the clothes line

The effects of the Winter Festival 2002, held at Max Mueller Bhavan are still lingering on. The weekend activities — blending the traditional and the trendy — brought to the stage a touch of glitz and glamour to cultural fare.

Evolution of Indian textile was the theme of the fashion show that followed the inauguration. Indian rituals and ethnic trends were brought out by the sequences, a first-time effort for the students of the Goethe Institute. Christmas carols in Dutch were the next in line.

Students from the language course staged comic skits, Telephone Cross-connection and another on the feud between husband and wife. A musical programme by the Institute music group featured more Christmas carols as well as chartbusters and Dylan hits. A performance on the violin was also thrown in.

Last-minute practice sessions, led by festival coordinator Sabita Dhar, paid off as the audience stayed glued to their seats. They had the chance to loosen up at the dance held afterwards.

— Anisha Baksi,

Jadavpur University

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