Project Implementation for Academic Year 2022-23

Phase-1 : Belagavi Education District

The Belagavi Education District in Karnataka comprises of 6 talukas - Belagavi, Bailhongal, Saundatti, Ramdurg, Khanapur and Kittur with 900+ villages, 330+ government and government-aided high schools and 900+ government and government-aided higher primary schools. From this region nearly 9,000 students, with family income below Rs.1,50,000 (~USD 1,800) per year, studying in 8th grade in Government or Government-Aided schools participated in the National Means Cum Merit Scholarship (NMMS) Exam conducted by DSERT in February 2022. The NMMS Exam has two papers: GMAT (General Mental Ability Test) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test). Based on a weighted-average of scores obtained, we shortlisted 269 students and invited them along with their parents for informing them about the Pratibha Poshak Project, its objectives and the format of the selection test.

Obtaining Student Data from DIET
Meeting Parents and Students
Meeting Parents and Students

Pratibha Poshak Selection Test

The selection process involved teaching a fairly independent topic in Mathematics and then evaluating the ability of the students to grasp and apply the topic/concept to solve practical problems. In the Belagavi education district the selection test was conducted in 3 places - Belagavi, Ramdurg and Bailhongal. 220 students of the shortlisted 269 students participated in the selection test. All the students who participated in the selection test were given a school bag (backpack) as a token of appreciation of their performance in the NMMS examination.

Launch of Phase 1

Of the 220 students who wrote the Pratibha Poshak Selection Test, 90 students were selected for the programme. The selected students were invited with their parents on the Programme Launch Day, 9th August 2022 at Ushatai Gogte Girl's High School, Belgaum. 90 Tabs, all pre-configured for attending online classes and having parental control policies, were given to the selected students. Students were given instructions for good use of the Tabs and were told about expectations (of commitment and hard work) from them. An experiential learning session from Col. Prakash Vastrad and his team was also organized for the students.

Interns setting up the Tabs
Launch Day - 9th August 22022
Launch Day - Giving Tabs to the Students
Launch Day - Giving Tabs to the Students
Launch Day 9th August 22

Beginning of Online Classes and Mentoring Sessions

Parallel to the process of student selection, we had begun our search for passionate and creative Mathematics and Science teachers. In response to our advertisement in the news papers and social media, we had received several applications. A panel of highly qualified and experienced members interviewed the candidates for their subject knowledge and creativity in teaching the subjects with practical applications to students of vernacular medium.

We had also received applications from seasoned professionals in various fields and entrepreneurs interested to volunteer their time for mentoring our students and teaching them life skills.

The selected ninety students were grouped into 3 batches of 30 each and online classes began from August 19, 2022. Weekly 3 sessions of Applied Mathematics (each of 70 minutes), 2 sessions Physics (each of 70 minutes), 2 sessions of English (each of 90 minutes) and 1 session of Analytical & Reasoning Skills (of 90 minutes) are conducted online outside the school hours. Students are also grouped in batches of 10 each and assigned a mentor. Every Sunday mentors interact with their students for 60-90 minutes.

Teacher Interviews by Panel of Subject Experts
Teacher and Mentor Orientation
Online class for students
Online class for students

Phase-2 : Chikkodi and Dharwad Education Districts

The Chikkodi Education District has 6 talukas - Chikkodi, Hukkeri, Athani, Gokak, Mudalgi and Raibag. The Dharwad Education District has 5 talukas - Dharwad, Navalgund, Hubballi, Kalghatgi and Kundgol. Nearly 20,000 students wrote the NMMS Exam from these two education districts in February 2022.

Phase 2 Selection Tests

We shortlisted about 800 students from these two education districts based on a weighted average of their NMMS-GMAT and NMMS-SAT scores, and invited them for the Pratibha Poshak selection test. Selection tests were held in 6 locations - Hukkeri, Mudalgi, Gokak (twice), Navalgund, Dharwad and Hubballi. Before the selection test, parents and students were briefed about the Pratibha Poshak programme. A topic in Mathematics was taught in a 45 minutes session to all the students and the selection tested the grasping and applying ability of the students. Students who had traveled from remote villages to participate in the selection test were given either a travel allowance in cash or a school bag (backpack) as a token of appreciation.

Launch of Phase 2

Of the students who wrote the selection test, 101 students were selected for the programme. Two induction programmes, one in Gokak and another in the premises of Govt Adarsha Vidyalaya, Dharwad were held on the 26th November and 3rd December, 2022.

Start of online classes (Phase 2)

Online classes for the students of Chikkodi and Dharwad education districts started from December 8, 2022. Weekly 6 hours of Mathematics and Science classes and 3 hours of English classes are conducted. On the weekends, a 90 minute session on Reasoning & Analytical skills and a discussion with the mentors are also held.

Backend Work - Our Students as Interns

Apart from talent search and student selection, the execution of Pratibha Poshak involves a fair amount backend operations. Some of the key activities are:

  • Creating and maintaining student database
  • Enrolling mentors and teachers
  • Timetable creation and setting up the Learning Management Systems (LMS)
  • Being in constant communication with the students - attendance tracking, informing changes in schedule, follow-up of absentees, ...
  • Tech support: resolve tech issues faced by students and teachers and setup access control for Tabs
  • Editing and publishing lecture videos on Pratibha Poshak YouTube channel for the use of all students
  • Organizing quarterly Pratibha Sammelans where students and teachers meet face-to-face

All these backend activities are being handled by a group of interns (students of Sharada Pratibha Poshan Upakram, which was the initial offline version of Pratibha Poshak) working the guidance of the Project Director. This internship has helped these students to meet the requirements of their undergraduate degree.