The second Kuwait Children’s Science Congress (KCSC), organized by Science International Forum (SIF) – Kuwait in association with The Times Kuwait and Mughal Mahal, on 18 November at the Smart Indian School was a resounding success.
Student teams from different Indian schools in Kuwait competed with each other, and proudly showcased their inventive and unique scientific projects, to a large crowd of parents, teachers and well-wishers.
The annual Science Congress provides children of 10 to 17 years of age a rare opportunity to showcase their scientific knowledge and aptitude through exhibiting science projects they create from scratch. Students form five-member teams to undertake a project based on an assigned theme, which this year was on 'Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable development'. The teams had to present a solution to overcome the specific challenges presented by their chosen project.
This year's KCSC saw the participation of around 150 enthusiastic young scientists from all the major Indian schools in Kuwait. They were divided into two categories, Seniors and Juniors, with a total of 15 senior and 17 junior teams taking part in the competitions. A distinguished panel of judges, which included scientists from Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research, judged the competitions. The judging panel included Dr. Narayana R. Bhat, Dr. S Neelamani, Dr. Mohan Rana, Dr. K Ravindranath, Dr. Krishnakumar Sukumaran, Dr. Vinoba Mari, Dr. Jayasree Chakkamalayath and Dr. Sreekanth K. J.
The day's events began in the schools' auditorium with an inauguration ceremony where a ceremonial lamp was lit by a distinguished group that included leading scientists and special invitees.
From early morning, the exhibition stalls that were arranged around the school quadrangle were a beehive of activity, as the young scientists hurriedly put finishing touches to their project models. Crowds of enthusiastic spectators soon began to throng each stall, viewing the projects on display and listening to the explanations provided by the eager young students.
The panel of judges then toured each of the stalls and quizzed the students about the finer details of their projects. Following their interaction with the students, the judges expressed their appreciation on the novelty of the exhibits and the enthusiasm and efforts of the students.
At the end of the day, four teams, two each from the senior and junior categories, walked away with the top honors and were graded with A+ ranking. This high ranking qualified the winning teams to participate in this year's All India National Championships.
The winning teams of this year's KCSC were:
Seniors: Indian Educational School (Bhavans) represented by K.S. Abhinaya, Natasha, Raebel Christo, Sandra Prathap and Sarvesh Rajkumar, with the guidance of their teacher Sindhu Ashok.
Indian Learners Own Academy represented by Vaishnav Satheesh, Arjun Biju, Monika Sunil, Diya Raj Nair and Nikita Rajesh, under the guidance of teacher Annief.
Juniors: Indian Educational School (Bhavans) represented by Ethan Bobby Kurien, Lakshmi Sahiti Vallabhaneni, Rhea Pinto, Saima Mageshvaran and Vinayak Anilkumar, presented their project under the supervision of teacher Mary Gomez.
The members of the Indian Learners Own Academy were Allan Anilson, Anish Mathew Jose, Farhan Shakkel, Ruth Rose Lalu and Yusra Asad Khan, with the guidance of their teacher Srividhya.
Adding to this, five teams from Junior and six teams from Senior categories were grated with A ranking. The teams are as follows:
Seniors: Indian Community School (Khaitan) represented by Akshay Girish, Ayishah Wafiya, Devaprabha Sivaprasad, Fellah Acelin and Namira Bee, under the supervision of their teachers Minerva Ramesh and S. Neema Sohan.
Indian Central School represented by, Dishani Akesha, Anu Verghese, Abdul Monayem, Taiyeba Alamgir and Talal Mohammed, with the guidance of their teacher Shamsuddin.
Carmel School, Kuwait represented by Abdur Raqqib, Adithya Prakash, Alena Evelyn Joel, Jeol Michael and Jerin Jabob Jojan, presented their project under the supervision of their teacher, Jessy Scaria.
Indian Community School (Senior) represented by Abel Chris, Devang Dinesh, Reshma Sarah Mathews, Rithikha Raghupathy and Suraj Arun Bapu, along with their teacher Manu Ann Vargehse.
The members of Kuwait Indian School were Bassam Shahbaz, Hashil Muhammed, Jagadeesa Rajamundry, Mustafa Zakir and Shravya Komanapalli, along with their teacher Sunitha Davis.
Indian Community School (Khaitan) represented by Jeevan Jacob Varghese, Joel Mathew John, mevin Biju, Naveen Sni and Sabiha khan Makrani, with the guidance of their teachers Shilu Mary Samuel and Sumita Shanmughan.
Juniors: The members of Indian Community School (Junior) were Anagha V. S., Anna Shiju, Evelyn Cisal Joechim, Joanna K. K. Binoy and Mileena Varghese, with the guidance of their teacher Joyce Samuel.
Indian Central School represented by Ankita, Calvin, Fahad, Safura and Sumaiya presented their project under the supervision of their teacher Ruth P. Mathew.
Kuwait Indian School was represented by Huzaifa Imran, Laxmi Kalyan Yada, Phani Gayatri Gubbala, Shahzeen Shuaib Surve and Syed Nadiya, guided by their teacher Nisha Gopakumar.
Indian Community School (Khaitan) represented by Carol Geevarghese, Megha Johnson, Nena Kunnath, Paul Dheeraj Briendel and Vishnu Santosh Kumar, presented their project under the supervision of teachers Jaya Nirmal and Sheela Binnu.
The members of Indian Educational School (Bhavans) were Abhishek Jayant Patil, Karthik Sudheer, Malavika Krishna, Shreya Varsha Arun and Tanmay Sahu, with the guidance of their teacher Freny Abraham.
Speaking to The Times Kuwait, the team members of Indian Educational School (Bhavans) senior shed light on their project which was on why children wear spectacles at a tender age. The team members who conducted a survey in various Indian schools around Kuwait shared their results at the congress.
“With the help of our Principal and the guidance of a doctor, we had conducted a survey in which we found that a large number of students within the age group of 5 to 15 years use spectacles,” said the students. The team suggested that maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding excessive use of digital media such as televisions and smartphones could help lower the risk of having to wear spectacles.
Another thought-provoking project was presented by the Junior team from Indian Learners Own Academy, which focused on how biochar is a safer and more sustainable option compared to fertilizers, and how its usage can help farmers in Kuwait. The team stated that the motive behind the project is to completely eliminate the use of fertilizers in Kuwait's farms.
“Biochar helps boost the growth of plants and increases water retention capacity of soil. It rectifies the soil pH. Our hopes for the future are to have farmers in Kuwait use biochar rather than fertilizers for farming as the soil here is not fertile. In the long run, using biochar in agriculture will result in a better produce which will help improve the country’s economy,” said Ruth Rose Lalu, a member of the team.
Commenting on the event, Arun Kumar from SIF-Kuwait said: “Kuwait Children’s Science Congress is no ordinary science program. It is approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of India and SIF-Kuwait has been appointed to conduct the event.”
He went on to say that the students were provided with the topics and guidelines, six months prior to the event. The main aim of this exhibition was to introduce the concept of research among students. “The research topics were tough yet interesting. Students had to prepare a project based on the problems surrounding their project and come up with a solution that they thought was best,” he added.
Compared to last year, this year’s exhibition saw the participation of nearly 15 schools and “students are now taking this competition very seriously,” he said.
Commenting on the judging panel he said, “This year’s judging panel consisted of eight highly qualified senior scientists from different streams of science and technology.”
Asked about the future events he said, “Looking at the success of this year’s event, I am confident that the participation level will increase next year. Hopefully, we will have more participants and projects which will be educative.”
On the sidelines of the prestigious exhibition were three spot competitions in which several hundred students enthusiastically participated .
The competitions were arranged in three groups: Sub-Juniors (Classes 5, 6 and 7), Juniors (Classes 8, 9 and 10) and Seniors (Classes 11 and 12).
In the first competition, the ‘Sci-Fie’ contest, competitors had to observe their surroundings to find some exciting scientific fact and capture it via a ‘selfie’ on a mobile camera. They then had to take a print out of the picture and write a description about the science behind their observation, before submitting at the event.
The ‘Art of Science’ contest, is a pencil-drawing competition where the contestants are required to draw an image on the theme ‘Rising India – Science and Technology’.
In the third spot competition, titled ‘Math Genius, students were tested on their mathematical analytical and logical skills.
Adding to this, SIF-Kuwait also held the IGNITE Science Writing Award Ceremony, which awarded winners of IGNITE Science Writing Contest 2016. Introduced in 2015 as a tribute to late APJ Abdul Kalam, the IGNITE Science Writing Contest offered participants complete freedom to travel through their imagination, exploring endless possibilities of Science.
The theme for this year’s contest was ‘Transformation using Technology.’
The contest witnessed the participation of several hundred participants from Sub Junior (class 5,6,7), Junior (class 8,9,10), Senior (class 11,12), and Adult (Age 18 and above) categories.
The names of winners from the spot competitions and IGNITE Science Writing Contest 2016 are as below:
SIF-Kuwait, which aims to ignite the minds of the young with a scientific temperament, was formed in 2014 when a group of professionals from the field of education, science and technology launched a platform for the Indian student community in Kuwait. The group aimed to identify and encourage Indian students with a flair for science and technology.
By introducing India’s rich scientific heritage to the youth, SIF looked to ignite interest, kindle the inquisitive spirit and develop young minds to have a passion for science and technology and motivate them to take up science as a career.
Through invigorating the scientific temperament in them, SIF hopes to encourage students to contribute towards India Vision 2020 and to spread the message of supporting and building Indian society using science as a tool.
Today, SIF – Kuwait programs are actively supported and implemented through 18 Indian schools in Kuwait, with more than 6,000 students actively engaged in them.