Olympiads

An Introduction Syed Ishtiyaq Ahmad

The international Olympiad movement is aimed at bringing the most gifted secondary and higher secondary students of the world together in a friendly competition of the highest level called Olympiad. The Olympiads do not lead directly to any career benefits; rather, they provide a stimulus to begin a career in science or mathematics, to undertake a lifelong journey into the realms of exciting intellectual challenges. The Olympiads are not merely competitions, they are the meeting places of the brightest young minds of the world, and many friendships forged at the Olympiads form the seeds of scientific collaboration later in life. It is much like the Olympics in sports; as Olympics are to celebrate the best in athletics, same in the Olympiads, are a celebration of the very best in school level science and mathematics. A major national Olympiad programme in basic sciences and mathematics which connects to the international Olympiads is in operation in India. The Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) is the nodal center of the India for this programme. The programme aims at promoting excellence in science and mathematics among pre-university students.

Among the sciences, the Olympiad programme in Astronomy (junior and senior level), Biology, Chemistry, Junior Science and Physics is a five stage process for each subject separately. The first stage for each subject is organized by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) in collaboration with teacher associations in other subjects. All the remaining stages are organized by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE)-TIFR Mumbai.

The Mathematics Olympiad is conducted under the aegis of the National Board of Higher Mathematics (NBHM).

Whether one is a student or a teacher of science/mathematics, heneeds to explore the various dimensions of the Olympiad program, dimensions that are not often encountered in regular education. If one is eligible, he strongly is encouraged to directly participate in the programme. If not, he should use the Olympiad resources as a learning opportunity for yourself and your friends.

History of Olympiads:

The scientific community of India recognizes the need for a national Olympiad programme in mathematics and basic sciences, which would lead to participation in the international Olympiads. India has been participating in the international Olympiads in Mathematics since 1989, and later started participation in Physics (1998), Chemistry (1999), Biology (2000), Astronomy (2004) and Junior Science (2007) as well. Enrollment of students in each subject has grown steadily over time, and currently stands at between 15000 and 50000 in different subjects. The science Olympiad programme involves a large number of teachers and scientists from across the nation. The nodal agency for all the science and mathematics Olympiads in the country is the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), a national center of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). The Olympiad programme is run in close collaboration with the teacher associations, the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT), Association of Chemistry Teachers (ACT), and the Association of Teachers in Biological Sciences (ATBS). The first stage of the Olympiad examinations is conducted by IAPT, while the later stages are the responsibility of HBCSE. The science Olympiad programme is fully funded by the Government of India through the Board of Research in Nuclear Science, Department of Atomic Energy (BRNS, DAE), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the Indian Space Research Organization, Department of Space (ISRO, DOS). The national Olympiads are overseen by a National Steering Committee (NSC), constituted by DAE, and comprised of members of each funding agency as well as eminent experts in each subject.

Olympiad Stages:

The national Olympiad programme follows a five stage process, starting with an examination held at nearly 1400 schools across the country and culminating with the international Olympiads at different corners of the world. The national level examinations are designed to assess the conceptual understanding, logical reasoning, laboratory skills, and above all, ability to apply problem-solving skills to novel situations, both theoretical and experimental. Training is included from the third stage of the programme and the first two stages do not necessarily require any specialized coaching outside the regular school system.

Stage1: National Standard Examinations (NSE)

National Standard Examinations in Astronomy (NSEA), Biology (NSEB), Chemistry (NSEC), Junior Science (NSEJS), and Physics (NSEP) constitute the first stage of selection of students in the National Olympiad Programme. Every student aspiring to go through successive stages of the programme and participating in the international Olympiads in 2017 must enroll for the NSEs in the respective subjects to be held in 2016. ELIGIBILITY FOR NSE: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Physics:

1. Must be an Indian citizen.

2. Date of birth between 1 July 1997 and 30 June 2002, both days inclusive.

3. Must not have completed (or scheduled to complete) class 12 board examination earlier than 30 November 2016.

4. Must not have commenced (or planning to commence) studies in a university or equivalent institution by 1 June, 2017.

5. Must not be appearing in NSEJS 2016.

Junior Science:

1. Must be an Indian citizen.

2. Date of birth between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2003, both days inclusive.

3. Must not have completed (or scheduled to complete) class 10 board examination earlier than 30 November 2016.

4. Must not be appearing in any of NSEA, NSEB, NSEC or NSEP 2016.

Stage II Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs)

The second stage in the selection process, the Indian National Olympiads in Astronomy (INAO), Biology (INBO), Chemistry (INChO), Junior Science (INJSO) and Physics (INPhO) will be organized by HBCSE in early 2017. These examinations will be held at about 18 centers in the country. The list of students selected for the INOs according to the criteria given below will be published by January 15, 2017 on the website: olympiads.hbcse.tifr.res.in.

Stage III Orientation-Cum-Selection Camps (OCSCs)

On the basis of performance in the Indian National Olympiads students will be selected in each subject for the Orientation-Cum-Selection Camp (OCSC) in that subject. At these camps orientation is provided to students for Olympiad level of theoretical, experimental and observational (for astronomy) tasks. Emphasis is laid on developing conceptual foundations and problem-solving skills. Students are exposed to innovative experiments with focus on conceptual and procedural understanding in experimental science. In astronomy, students are trained in basic notions in astrophysics, astronomical data analysis and night sky observations.

Several theoretical and experimental/observational tests are held during the camp. On the basis of performance in these tests, few students (numbers specified below) are selected to represent India at the international Olympiads. These students also receive merit awards in the form of books and cash. In addition, there are special prizes in each subject to recognize meritorious performance in theory and experiments. A camp concludes with a valedictory function where distinguished scientists are invited to speak to the students.

ENROLLMENT FOR NSE:

Find out from the principal and/or the head of department whether your school/college is a registered centre. If so, enroll your name by paying the required fee. Your school/college will give you all necessary instructions pertaining to NSEs.

If your school/college is not a registered centre, visit the IAPT website: www.iapt.org.in. This website displays details of the centres which were registered last year. This may be of help to you in locating the centre nearest to you and in enrolling your name at the centre by paying the required fee.

Fee: Rs. 100/- per student per subject.

Fee is to be paid to the centre in-charge of the centre where you have enrolled your name. No direct remittance to IAPT is permissible.

No TA/ DA is admissible for NSE (Stage I Examination).

Please note that NSEs are the organizational responsibility of IAPT. If you have any queries about NSEA, NSEB, NSEC, NSEJS and NSEP or if you have any difficulty in getting enrolled for these examinations, you should contact the following persons:

Prof. G. Venkatesh (Chief Coordinator, IAPT Examinations)

Prof. M. K. Raghavendra (NSE Coordinator)

F11A, 1st floor, Old Physics Building,

UG Programme,

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012

E-mail:iapt.nse@gmail.com Tel. No. 09632221945.

J and k students can contact:

Syed Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Secretary

Science Teachers Association J&K

Contact; 9018699110, 9796399110

Email. ishtiyaqsyed@gmail.com