IIT Madras NSS SEED camp activities in Uthkotai Village Tamilnadu
In my previous article I have mentioned about visiting The Mahatma Gandhi High School Uthkotai Village Tamilnadu, in a view to provide education to children from insecure family backgrounds. In this article let me tell you about the how we have spent and engaged ourselves with the village people in tamilnadu. On the first two days we only spent time acquainting ourselves with the students of various classes. This was because of arrival on Saturday afternoon with Sunday being holiday. We spoke to the staff teaching and non teaching and others in charge of the management of the school. The details of the school were noted from these talks. Also we familiarized ourselves with the daily timetable of the students. Every day we helped the students of various classes in their study hours from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in various subjects. On the first day, we also spent considerable time talking to the students personally addressing their problems along with advice and encouragement. Students of the senior classes especially have some tendency to be lax and need some motivation.
The 1st of December is also world AIDS day and we were asked to educate the students on the awareness of the disease and its prevention. This was done by addressing all the students and several of us took turns to speak.From Monday, we took turns in going to various classes and teaching them subjects like mathematics and particularly English. Since the medium was Tamil and none of us were too familiar with the language except for spoken Tamil, we simply chose a topic and told them to study. However we were able to understand their doubts and clarify them.
It must be brought to notice that one of the volunteers, Bharat Reddy, fell severely ill with viral fever on the third day and had to be taken back to the institute. The Ilango village volunteers also visited us regularly and gave us significant help in some of our activities. Efforts were undertaken to get student profiles of all the students in the institution. The records were studied for getting information of student names, addresses, and other official details. The volunteers personally inquired from each student their special talents and skills, prizes won, academic performance as well as their experiences and feelings about the institution. We found out that many students were very talented in arts and music, dramatics and some in dance. Many are skilled in sports like volleyball, hockey, cricket, football, kabaddi and athletics as well. They are all very happy and have had no unpleasant experiences here and many are much happier and well looked after by the institution then they had been at home. Details are available with the student profile which has already been sent.
On the 5th, Wednesday, the morning half was dedicated to normal classes. During the afternoon, we arranged a series of experiments to demonstrate various scientific concepts. In this direction we were given considerable help from the Ilango Village volunteers who had just carried out some of these experiments earlier in their camp. These included
• Charred egg in water to demonstrate total internal reflection
• A paper stuck to the mouth of a glass filled with water turned upside down demonstrating the pressure exerted by air
• Inflation of a balloon tied to the neck of a coke bottle to show that CO2 gas is used to aerate these drinks
• Lighting of a candle in a beaker inverted over a trough of water to show the rise in water level due to lowering of air pressure in the beaker by consumption of oxygen
• Demonstration of solute solvent relationships, salt dissolving in water layer and not in oil layer
• Demonstration of convection, conduction and radiation using a candle
• Demonstration of the presence of inertia using a coin, paper and a glass.
The response was more favorable than what we expected. Certainly the rural students show greater interest to new or unconventional styles of teaching methods. Institutions like SEED go a long way in helping underprivileged children come up against social neglect. The school at Uthkotai village needs some attention in the areas of infrastructure and faculty. The experience of the camp has taught the volunteers from IIT Madras about the value of education and also given us insights into the simple ways of the village. Camps like this should be encouraged in the future as well.
More articles: Summer camps in Tamilnadu