As the new academic year settles, different institutions have announced various scholarship and talent search examinations for school students. Not only does participating in such exams take you out of the routine school examinations, but it also allows you to test your creativity and ingenuity. As a bonus, there is usually a cash award involved for the winners.
There are many popular and recognised tests and olympiads conducted by private organisations such as the ‘Terraquiz’ by The Energy Resources Institute and Aviva Young Scholar Nat Geo Junior Hunt by CNN-IBN. But here we look at a few upcoming examinations which have been announced by various Central Government bodies.
National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement
Interestingly, last year it was a student from Thiruvananthapuram - Vignesh H P of Loyola School - who was one of the recipients of this award. Instituted each year by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the award is for children “between 4 and 15 years who have shown exceptional achievement in any field including academics, arts and culture and sports etc.” Every year one gold medal, with a cash prize of `20,000, and 35 silver medals (one for each state/UT), with a cash prize of Rs 10,000, are given along with a citation. Applications should be recommended by the State Government, any Govt of India department, district or local authority, or by a voluntary organisation. The last date for submission of nominations each year is July 31. The awards are announced on November 14. More details can be found on the Ministry website.
CSIR Innovation Award for School Children (CIASC-2013)
This one, as the title suggests, is for the innovative geniuses. Now if you have worked out a “a new concept or idea or a solution to an existing problem or completely a new method/ process/ device/ utility,” then you might just walk away with the one lakh cash prize that this award offers its first place winner. The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) - India’s premier industrial research and development organisation - gives away this award in the hope that children will develop an awareness and interest in Intellectual Property (IP). This, by the way, refers to creations of the mind (inventions, literary and artistic works, images, designs etc) used in commerce. “Any Indian student enrolled in an Indian school below the age of 18 years as on 31 July” is eligible to apply. Proposals can be submitted by a student or a group of students and must be received before September 30. And don’t worry if you don’t get first prize, there are 30 prizes up for grabs. Further details are available online at http://www.ngri.org.in/htmlfiles/pdffiles/events/CIASC13.pdf
INSPIRE Programme Scholarships
INSPIRE is the well-named acronym of ‘Innovation in Science & Pursuit for Inspired Research’. This is an umbrella programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) which aims to attract young minds to science at an early age. There is no competitive exam for identification of scientific talent in this programme but there are two prestigious scholarships available. The first one is ‘Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS)’ where “one million young learners in the age group 10-15 years” gets an amount of `5,000. The second one is the ‘Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE)’ open to those between 17 and 22 years of age. This is to encourage students to take up basic science degrees in college. The scheme offers 10,000 scholarships every year. More details are available on http://www.inspire-dst.gov.in/index.html
Like CIASC, this one too is to “harness the creative and innovative spirit of school children”. A venture of the National Innovation Foundation (an autonomous institution under DST, Govt of India), submissions have been invited for “original creative technological ideas and innovations” from school students that “solves any daily problem be it household, of porters, labourers, or the like”. The upper age limit is 18 years and students from any educational board and stream can take part. An interesting aspect of this is that students are encouraged to document and learn traditional knowledge practices from their family and neighbourhood. The last date for entries this year is August 31. Further details available at http://www.nif.org.in