One, two, three… fade out,” signals Varsha, as she holds the Sony HDX 150E like a pro, while Sagarika meticulously jots down the script for the upcoming shot. Zoom into the school library buzzing with activity akin to a newsroom to meet the tech-savvy journalists in action: the Class 9 and 10 students of PSBB, Nungambakkam, who released their maiden venture online on December 23.
As part of the Student News Reporter programme, a one-year module designed by the BBC and the British Council for schools with global partnership that was launched in the city recently, the students released a three-minute film on a local community issue: ‘Obsession with Mainstream Careers’. The programme that began on November 29 with an orientation workshop organised by the British Council is moulding them to broadcast their own news stories, says Rani Venu, English teacher and project-guide.
The 14-member crew, who are at present learning the ropes of journalism say that their newly acquired skills were put into practice with the newsroom project. Ask them how they narrowed down on the theme for their film, Durga, a Class 10 student says that it was an obvious decision.
“Every year many of us are forced to take up the Science stream to pursue either Engineering or Medicine. And students who take Commerce are generally looked down upon. We wanted to address this issue,” the Class 10 student explains.
In a bid to analyse the issue, the team embarked on a fact-finding expedition. They conducted a survey among a set of 64 students of Class 10 and 12 in their school to reflect their career preferences. Furthermore, they also interviewed heads of institutions in the city — to capture the viewpoints of different stakeholders.
Not surprisingly, their student survey revealed that nearly 65 per cent of Class 10 students and 75 per cent of Class 12 students favoured mainstream careers.
To reflect global perspectives on the issue, the students also included opinions of representatives from their partner school, Reepham School, Norfolk, UK, says Rani Venu. Two foreign students, Hannah and Anasatacia, enrolled for an academic year in PSBB, Nungambakkam as part of the YES Exchange programme, also pitched in about the scope of academic system abroad.
“There is a wider choice of electives available for students in the UK. And generally all subjects are given equal importance. Arts are just as important as Science,” explains Varsha when asked about their analysis.
While the orientation workshop prepared them to face the initial setbacks, learning the ropes through trial and error was an exciting experience, says Durga. “I loved the rush of frantically working on the film. It was fun,” she smiles, narrating how the team used nearly 20 books to hold the camera in position before they got a tripod stand.
The film can be viewed on the PSBB school website. Feedback can be mailed to PSBBbuzz@gmail.com.