Indian students strike it rich at International Biology Olympiad

Victorious: The Indian team at the International Biology Olympiad in Hungary.

Victorious: The Indian team at the International Biology Olympiad in Hungary.  

Rigorous training in Mumbai bears fruit; team of four returns from Hungary with a bag full of memories, knowledge and awards

A team of four students from India has returned with a bag full of memories, knowledge and awards after participating at the International Biology Olympiad at Szeged in Hungary.

Among the four, Hardik Gupta, Arunangshu Bhattacharyya and Suryadeep Mandal, hailing from Agra, Surat and Bankura respectively, secured silver medals. Akshay Gupta from Vadodara received an honourable mention from the jury. Mr. Gupta said, “The questions were quite lengthy and most of them required critical thinking and analysis. We learnt to think creatively as well. It was a necessary exposure.”

Mr. Bhattacharyya said the Indian education needs a serious overhaul. He said more content needs to be added to the syllabus instead of cutting it down like the CBSE did recently.

He said, “Education provided in most schools of our country is not enough to get us by in the world. We had to prepare for this international competition extensively and our school books barely covered our bases in biology.”

The team, solely sponsored by the Indian government, had received rigorous training from Homi Bhabha Centre For Science Education (HBCSE), a national centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), in Mumbai.

Ujwala Bapat, retired professor from St. Xavier’s College; Rekha Vartak, professor at HBCSE; and two scientific observers Dr. Kiran Kondabagil from IIT Bombay, and Dr. Ramvhadur Subedi from National Institute For Research In Reproductive Health, accompanied the students.

Ms. Bapat said, “My experience at the olympiad was strenuously difficult and unpleasant. We faced a variety of issues ranging from limited vegetarian food to the massive compilation of work. Some of us would stay up for long hours from dawn to dusk to meet the deadlines. I was hoping to visit Budapest, a necessary cultural spot to drop by when in Hungary.”

‘Only recognised contest’

Anwesh Mazumdar, national co-ordinator of science olympiads, told The Hindu, “I want to clarify that olympiads affiliated to Homi Bhabha Centre and TIFR is the only pathway to the true international olympiads. This is the only competition recognised and supported by the government of India unlike other alleged international olympiads known in the country. The invitation of the championship was received by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and routed to us.”

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:52:50 PM |

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