Ramu and Sandeep travelled to Bengaluru for the first time with their trainer Moorthy full of excitement to participate at the Genwise Summer school at Bangaluru. This being Ramu’s maiden train trip his joy knew no bounds.The two Bebras India national toppers from Group Mahavira (age 14-16), Sandeep and Ramu from APTWR (Andhra Pradesh Tribal Welfare Residential School), Chintoor, East Godavari participated in the GenWise Summer School (GSS)- Advanced, Bengaluru, April 28- May 19, 2019. Coming from a humble background and a tribal school, the students have worked hard and with a smile to learn. Their parents are engaged in agricultural activities back in their villages in Andhra Pradesh.
Bebras India Challenge (www.bebrasindia.org) is organized by ACM India’s CSpathshala initiative (www.cspathshala.org). ACM India/CSpathshala’s goal is to make it possible so that every child in India learns Computer Science. Bebras challenge embodies this. The 2018 Bebras India Challenge was held from 19th – 30th November for age groups 8-18 in English, Gujarati, Marathi and Telugu with participation of 1,37,081 students from 380 schools across 12 states.
GenWise (www.genwise.in) had offered an opportunity to the 2018 Bebras India National Rank holders 2 full scholarships for Government as well 5 scholarships of Rs.1 lac each for other schools. The total course fees for the other participants is Rs.1.49 lacs. The Summer School is an intensive and immersive platform for gifted students to be challenged by their peers, inspired by their expert/ passionate mentors, as also pursue any one area of interest in-depth. Vishnu Aghnihotri shared, “GenWise’s goal is to bridge the gap between the formal curriculum and the needs of the world of the future. This is done by bringing the knowledge and ways of thinking, researchers, experts and practitioners have, to young students in school. Students benefit by gaining exposure to diverse disciplines, an opportunity to pursue their areas of interest and develop habits of rigour.”
Initial reactions shared by Sandeep and Ramu were everyone spoke in English! Ramu and Sandeep seemed to adjust very quickly despite the language barrier. While one of them could understand a reasonable amount of English, the other one could not. But what really stood out was the camaraderie between them and each one trying to help the other.Initial intimidation which was overcome by the trainers interaction and counselling and they settled in making friends with the other students having fun and enjoying themselves.
A typical day at Genwise included ATB session (awareness through body) on mindfulness, self awareness and concentration, academic sessions to challenge the students thinking and discover concepts through experiential learning, fun games, sports, creative activities and learning to play bridge, interactions with leaders and thinkers like authors, entrepreneurs, educationists, social governance experts, professionals from industry and fun nights like karaoke, lip synching, DJ, a sunday movie, and finally a talent nite as a culmination of the bonding shared by the children!
Ramu and Sandeep participated in the academic course on Bitcoin & Blockchain: The Future of Money & Business conducted by Dr. Navin Kabra in the first week.The journey became challenging when the academic sessions began. Ramu thought it was very tough to understand and learn in English while Sandeep said initially he thought it was tough but slowly realised that if he learns it will be easy. By going slow and with the help of another Telugu speaking instructor, Hari, Navin made progress and covered cryptography and blockchain technology. Hari became their buddy who helped them by playing a role of an interpreter! Ramu and Sandeep said, “When Hari sir explained it becomes easy!”.
Over the next two weeks they completed a basic course on Cryptography conducted by Dr. Navin Kabra and Ms. Geeta Prakash. Not only did the Genwise team help in the academic program but got Ramu and Sandeep involved in all the activities. Dr.Navin Kabra ran a virtual money contest and it was Sandeep who won the contest and took home a Bluetooth speaker!
The students who all belonged to elite schools encouraged Ramu and Sandeep to participate in all the activities and got them speaking in English! What excited Ramu and Sandeep were the Bird-watching walks and museum visits which was a first time experience for them.It was interesting to watch them at the Bridge match which had 9 teams participating and Ramu and Sandeep winners on their table! Their sense of achievement and excitement knew no bounds!
On the Graduation Day when the parents of the students visited Genwise it was indeed a proud moment for the Genwise team. Ramu and Sandeep confidently explained the basics of cryptography to the parents and visitors at the Open Day of the GenWise Summer School. They also demonstrated the encrypting messages with secret keys using Vigneyere Cipher and then decrypting the same.
Vishnu Aghnihotri, Founder Genwise, shared, “GenWise’s goal is to bridge the gap between the formal curriculum and the needs of the world of the future. This is done by bringing the knowledge and ways of thinking, researchers, experts and practitioners have, to young students in school. Students benefit by gaining exposure to diverse disciplines, an opportunity to pursue their areas of interest and develop habits of rigour.”
The three weeks at Genwise gave Sandeep and Ramu a unique learning experience through the academic program, interactions with industry and social sector leaders and sports. It also gave them an opportunity to interact and make friends with talented and gifted students from across the country!