Bebras – Providing opportunities to rural students

The medium of instruction is Marathi at the Government Zilla Parishad School at Jaulke khurd, a medium sized village in Khed, Maharashtra. Like most rural areas, this school too lacks adequate infrastructure, with 3 computers (one laptop and 2 desktops), poor connectivity and intermittent supply of electricity. The school conducts competitions after schools hours as an extracurricular activity.

Santosh Hande, the all subject teacheras, as well as the students were apprehensive of  the online Bebras challenge held in Novermber 2018. Santosh selected 10 “bright” students to take the online challenge. To represent the school in competitions, it is a common practice followed by most schools to select students who have done well academically.

The first three students, after finishing the online challenge, came out of the room all excited and shared that the Bebras tasks are a lot of fun and easy to solve. Santosh Hande wrote to us, “आम्ही फक्त 10 हुशार मुलेच बसविली होती ,ऑनलाइन exam खूप छान आहे ,आत्ता वाटते सर्व मुलांना बसवायला पाहिजे होते , Thanks cspathshala, International ऑनलाइन exam दिल्यानंतर मुलांच्या चेहऱ्यावरचा आनंद पाहण्यासारखा होता ” which means “Only ten bright students from our school were selected for the online international challenge, seeing their excitement and happiness we felt that all the students should have participated. Thanks CSpathshala!”

Santosh Hande registered 10 more students including an enthusiastic Eshita Rale from 3rd standard who was keen to participate. She insisted on taking the challenge even though it was not offered in Marathi for her age group. She took the challenge in English with the teacher translating the tasks. When the Bebras Challenge results were declared it was indeed a proud moment. Eshita had done well. Her proud father announced that Eshita was the first girl student from the village who had participated in an “online international challenge” and distributed sweets to the entire school!

Three girls Janhavi Gawade, Pranali Borhade and Nikita Borhade secured the Best in India ranks and were felicitated by the village Sarpanch (Head of the village).  The felicitation became a celebration in the village with excitement in the air as students had participated in an “International Online Challenge”.  On being told that more students could not be enrolled due to lack of infrastructure, the parents in the village came together and donated three computers to the school so that more students can participate in the Bebras Challenge next year! One parent has donated a solar panel powered battery so that school can have uninterrupted power for the challenge.

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