The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Race that turns kids to rats
Children take time off for a ball game on their way home from school

The heat is on, and there is no turning it off. Students face crushing burdens from all sides — school, home, peers, playing field… That is why Time to Talk asked readers to finish this open-ended statement: We can ease the pressure on students by…

lBetween hectic schedules at school and back-to-back tutorials. a student hardly has any time to breathe. We have to live up to our parents’ expectations. This pressure can only diminish if parents stop expecting so much from their children, and abandon the theory that their child should be number-one. Not every child can be Einstein.

This is a plea from a student crushed under the wheels of education. Please, for once, allow us to get away from the rat race. For even if we win the rat race, we will still remain rats, right'

Neha Almal,
Class XII, Calcutta Girls’

lStudent tension has become common. A few printed marks on a piece of paper are now all-important. So stress is taking its toll and frustrations have crept in. This has to be dealt with before it destroys us. Student counselling could make studying enjoyable, not feared. A realistic measure would be to start professional courses so a future is ensured for all. Apart from academics, stress should be laid on extra-curricular activities so kids have different avenues to invest emotions in.

Pravati Maulik Gupta,
IIIrd year, Shri Shikshayatan College

lStudents can be compared to saplings that easily fall prey to their environment. They have to cope with knowledge of things both good and bad and often, it is difficult to handle. Parents should remember the most important thing is to be a good friend. Students should also be allowed, after a point, to make their own decisions. If they are spoon-fed all the time, they will never develop the capacity to lead their own lives.

Tanmoy Ghosh,
IInd year, Asutosh College

lThe volume of studies has gone up considerably in recent years. Examination-oriented syllabi are also not advisable. Instead, teaching techniques could be improved to make school more lively by including an audio-visual element, hands-on-training and field study. Time management and value education classes must be incorporated to help fight academic and social pressure.

Sayan Banerjee,
City College

lWe can ease the pressure on students by not forcing them all into believing they must be superbrains. They have to be given the freedom to enjoy what they are doing and the space to think about other aspects of life besides studies, so they can become responsible individuals.

Aakash Kamal Misra,
BCCM, Salt Lake

lIncreasing pressures on students have deprived them of all forms of fun. They are often driven to suicide, afraid of not being up to the established mark. It is up to teachers and elders to lessen the load. More games and extra-curricular activities could help. Class tests can be taken frequently so students are better prepared. They should be taught ways to cope with pressure and exam phobia should also be addressed.

Sharmistha Dan,
Class XII, Shri Shikshayatan School

Think square

It is more than an average puzzle. The Kaleidoscope Classic, a “thinking” game, has been launched in India before taking on the rest of the world.

The teaser that offers a never-ending number of challenges has 18 red, black, blue and yellow pieces. Developed by Australia-based mathematician and psychologist Mark T. Wood, the product’s manufacturing rights are held by an Indian company working out of Noida. One of the three patent-holders of the puzzle, billed to be “the challenge that everyone can solve but no one can conquer”, is Calcutta boy Vishal Mehrotra. In three months Kaleidoscope has sold over 5,000 pieces. The first of the Dr Wood games — all based on squares — will now move to global markets as well.

There are over 20 billion possible patterns that can be made with the 18 pieces. “If a NASA computer was to solve one puzzle a minute, it would take hundreds of years to finish them all,” smiles Ratan Khanna, vice-president, marketing, Dr Wood Marketing Ltd. The company hopes the game will catch on in schools as a teaching aid. A Kaleidoscope competition is to be held soon at Barista, Delhi, followed shortly by one in Calcutta.


Fun ’n’ funda

Mitali 2003, the inter-college scientific and cultural festival of Nilratan Sirkar Medical College (NRSMC), kicked off on September 16. Day One, called Utsav 2003, began with seminars discussing problems like peptic ulcers, obesity and hypertension. Drama, singing, mono acting, playing musical instruments and dance added spice to the day’s line-up. Chao Quiz also made its debut here. Competitors had to parry posers like “Which is Bill Clinton’s favourite football club'” with answers like “Chelsea”.

The second day started with seminars on wound management, diabetes and migraine. The stage was then set for music. The Hindi and Bengali solo competitions were won by Prabir Dutta of the host college. The evening began with the Hindi antakshari where Mithun Pandey, Debarshi Roy and Ajoy Prasad from Mirjapur City College bagged the honours. In the recitation round, Anindita Sengupta of NRSMC came in first. The evening entertainment included singers Gautam Ghosh and Raghav Chattopadhyay.

September 18 started with seminars on the ill effects of smoking and diabetes. The cultural session began with a debate where Aniruddha Lahiri of NRSMC bagged first place. Subir Ghosh of the home side led in the painting and photography competitions and Himangshu Mahato, also playing for the hosts, stood first in creative writing. As the choreography beat spread across campus, the crowd poured in. Home players Kamalika Bandopadhyay and Debjani Bhattacharya bagged the honours. In extempore, Subhasattawa Indra of JB Roy Ayurvedic Medical College was the winner. The day ended with Ground Zero, a play presented by Spandan.

The scientific session on the final day featured fungal infections, surgical infections and anaemia. The cultural session included quiz in which the home team of Shaswata Bhattacharya and Pinaki Sirkar emerged on top. Indranil Das was adjudged best slogan writer. The last evening saw Pratik Choudhury, sing soft and slow songs, punched with his witty comments in between tracks.

Debarshi Chatterjee,
IInd year, NRSMC

Bill Clinton and Chelsea: On the quizzer’s menul

All for society

The Interact Clubs of St Joseph’s College and Welland Gouldsmith School have come together to conduct community service projects. A meeting, attended by Interactors of schools like G.D. Birla, Mahadevi Birla, St James’, Apeejay and St Thomas’ for Girls, was held on September 20 at St Joseph’s to plan their first projects.

An Adopt-A-Mother programme has been conceived. Gargi Banerjee from Child In Need Institute (CINI) spoke of their experiences with would-be mothers and infants in rural areas.

A blood donation camp, in aid of the Thalessaemia Society of India, has also been discussed by the two clubs, on September 26 at St Joseph’s from 10 am to 2 pm. Those who wish to donate blood but are unable to do so on the particular day can fill a form, promising that they will do so when required. The clubs will host a prom to raise funds for these projects on September 30 at Tollygunge Club.

— Akshay Jain,
Class X, St Joseph’s College


Meeting point

The annual District Interact Assembly was held at the Don Bosco School Park Circus auditorium on September 10. The seventh edition of the meet brought in 700 Interactors from the clubs of various schools, as well as senior officials from Rotary and Rotaract. A Leadership Training Programme was arranged for the present and prospective Interact boards. A general counselling session was conducted by Rotarians, Rotaractors and past Interactors. Barry O’Brien took part in a panel discussion and counselling session. A new member — Neeraj Kalra from Don Bosco Park Circus — was inducted on to the District Council as Zonal Representative 3.

— Ankita Rathi,
Mahadevi Birla Girls’

March forth: Around 150 students participated in a march organised by the Interact Club of Mahadevi Birla Girls’ School to mark International Peace Day on September 21. Senior students from M.P. Birla Foundation, Apeejay School and South Point also joined in. The silent procession went from Victoria Memorial to Park Circus Maidan via Theatre Road.


On-field business

There is more to campus life in B-schools than slogging through class notes and acing exams. A month before the recruitment season begins and students go all out to bag the big-buck offers, XLRI Jamshedpur and IIM Calcutta fought on a different field last weekend.

At the IIMC-XLRI sports meet, the annual contest held on the Joka campus, it was time to have fun as budding managers showed off their prowess in 21 sports events, sports quizzes, music concerts and loads of other informal programmes. The hosts emerged as the winners and took the championship trophy.

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