R. Sairam

Students and teachers of Fatima College recount their experience

MADURAI: P. Amuthavalli of Fatima College had seen the equipment used to extract DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) only in the books, till her educational trip to Singapore.

"I was taught how to use the equipment, after which I extracted DNA from a broccoli. It was an amazing experience," she recounted.

She was one among a select group of seven staff members and 22 students of the college who spent a week at Hong Kah Secondary School, Singapore.

They were on an educational tour to the country between April 7 and 14 under a pact, `Stars Twinning Programme,' reached between the college's Department of Home Science and the school. The Singapore Ministry of Education played the host.

The team was given exposure to a range of state-of-the-art machinery used by the food processing industry there and allowed to handle them too, says A. Sindhuja, a third year undergraduate student.

The college plans to include in its syllabus the inputs gained from the exposure at Singapore, says Reader, Department of Human Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, R. Latha. "The National University Hospital there informed our students that they could seek employment after completing their degrees. They will have to undergo a short term course at the university," she adds.

The college staff presented papers on various topics.

"We were treated as privileged guests and taken inside locations which were normally out of bounds for visitors," says Dr. Latha.

Not only academic

It was not academics all the way in Singapore as the team firmly asserted their Indian ethos over there by putting up some dazzling cultural performances.

They also taught their hosts how to cook a few Indian delicacies.

Says Cissie Theeblyn David, Head, Postgraduate Department of Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, "Last year, a group of students had come down from the school and spent some time here learning our culture and our food processing techniques."

The next trip to Singapore is scheduled in 2008.