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Project Beyond – Unique competition for schools in Shimla to encourage student-led social initiatives

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SHIMLA- What are the critical issues that urban youth of Himachal Pradesh is facing in today’s modernized world: delinquent behaviour, substance abuse, academic stress, and depression due to growing competition that often leads to suicidal attempts or suicides. The fact that substance abuse among Himachal’s youngsters has reached an alarming level isn’t a secret. The age of exploration for such subjects has dropped for school students. Himachal’s urban environment isn’t difference and children are taking a hit due it. Another loss that children face today is of sensitivity to moral and ethical values. The virtues of compassion and empathy hardly find any place in the academic race.

Keeping in mind all these issues, स्वAWAAZ, a Delhi based organisation, has initiated a unique competition for schools in and around Shimla. The initiative called Project Beyond is taken in association with Rotary Club Shimla Midtown. This is an inter-school competition to encourage social responsibility and community engagement in students. The participating school teams will include students of sixth to tenth standard. The teams will be required to plan and implement a social project on the competition theme ‘Kindness Matters’.

About 200 schools including both private and government schools in Shimla and Solan districts have been invited to participate in Project Beyond. The last date of registration is May 12, 2017. Schools have been provided with detailed guidelines and rules of the competition. Schools have about 45-50 days starting from May 1 till June 20 to plan and implement a social initiative on ‘Kindness Matters’, the theme of the competition.

A submission form along with supporting evidence in the form of either a write-up with photographs, a powerpoint presentation or a short video has to be submitted by schools till June 20. The best social initiatives will be awarded, the award ceremony for which will be held in July, 2017.

The organization and Rotary team are offering continuous support during the entire duration of the competition. Schools will soon have an online portal through which the teams will be able to regularly communicate and interact with the participating schools.

स्वAWAAZ believes that the focus in schools should shift from mere academics and marks-oriented learning to holistic development of students that will help in curbing these pressing issues.

As per the founders of the organization, the Project Beyond was evolved with the aim to enable a culture in schools and community that creates more thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, change-makers who are responsible and perceptible individuals. The goal of Project Beyond is to create a thoughtful society by fulfilling key objectives like cultivating an environment of kindness, gratitude, empathy and respect, spreading social awareness through student-led social initiatives and enabling schools, teachers and students to be agents of change.

Recently, स्वAWAAZin association with Rotary Club Shimla Midtown, organised a seminar for school principals and teachers on ‘Impact of Innovative and Reflective Practices in Schools’. This was held on April 5, 2017 at Rotary Town Hall, The Mall, Shimla. Sh. Ghanshyam Chand (H.A.S.), State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, Himachal Pradesh, was the Chief Guest. Over 45 delegates comprising school principals and senior teachers from several schools in and around Shimla attended the seminar.

The main purpose of the seminar was to orient schools about the need and impact of adopting innovative and reflective practices for holistic development of students. ‘Project Beyond’ was also introduced at the seminar.

Project-Beyond---seminar-pics

स्वAWAAZ, founded by experienced professionals, who works with varied types of schools across India. Their work involves school enrichment programs, teacher training and development, student workshops, child safety in schools, youth and community engagement programs.

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390 students attend St. Bede’s National Seminar ‘Celebrating Indian Science’

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St. Bede's National Seminar

Shimla: On Thursday, the Science Faculty of St. Bede’s College Shimla, in collaboration with Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), Shimla Chapter, hosted a one day National Seminar entitled ‘Celebrating Indian Science: From Past to Future’.

Around 350 Science students of the college along with 140 students from various colleges and schools of Shimla attended it.

These institutes included Centre of Excellence, Govt. Degree College, Sanjauli, R.K.M.V, Rajiv Gandhi Govt. Degree College, Chaura Maidan, Convent of Jesus and Mary, D.A.V School, Lakkar Bazaar, St. Edward’s School, Loreto Convent, Tara Hall, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jakhu, Govt. School, Sanjauli, Monal Public School, Model School Summerhill and Chapslee school.

St. Bede's National Seminar 2

During the seminar, the students were shown a movie on ‘The Quantum Indians’ in the first technical session of the seminar, and it was followed by On the Spot Quiz.

In the second session, Prof. P.K. Ahluwalia delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Impact of Innovation on Human Development through Science and Technology: From Past to Future.’

St. Bede's National Seminar 3

In the second half, Prof. Subhash Gupta delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Our Journey of Science – Future Ahead.’

In the third session, Prof. Jaspreet Sambi from Panjab University Chandigarh delivered a talk on ‘Indian Science Looking Back and into Future.’

To stimulate the idea of controlling pollution and protecting the environment and to share and discuss issues relating to it, a Panel discussion on the topic ‘Can Scientific Interventions Help Overcome the Curse of Pollution’ was also organized.

Towards the end of the seminar, students asked questions related to their queries which were answered convincingly. It was followed by a live demonstration of experiments by Physics, Microbiology, Biotechnology departments. The Department of Botany and Zoology put up an exhibition on medicinal plants and insects.

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Training for farmers held at UHF Nauni under short term skill development programme

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Short term skill development program atUHF Nauni

Shimla: A short-term skill development training programme and demonstration to young aspiring entrepreneurs and farmers was organized at the Directorate of Extension Education of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni.

Twenty-five participants from Shimla and Mandi districts of the state took part in the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) sponsored training. Training coordinator and UHF’s Joint Director (Training) Dr Rajkumar Thakur said that the training focused on integrated production technology of horticulture crops.

Dr Rajkumar Thakur addressing the farmers

Dr Rajkumar Thakur addressing the farmers

The participants were apprised about the subtropical and temperate fruits like apple and citrus. Various aspects of beekeeping and mushroom cultivation were also discussed during the programmes due to the interest shown by the trainees. Besides lectures on insect-pest and disease management of pomegranate, apple, citrus and vegetables, practical demonstrations at kiwi, stone fruit and high-density apple plantation, apiary and canning unit of the university were also undertaken.

Short term skill development program atUHF Nauni 2

The training curriculum was designed to address the agricultural training requirements of the participants and training kits, ‘Package of Practice’ of various crops along with other university literature on spices and floriculture were also distributed to them. On the last day, Dr Thakur gave away training certificates to the participants besides a training stipend of Rs 1400 each.

In July this year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for one year for Rs 55 lakh was signed between UHF and SJVN. Under the agreement, the University will organize 32 trainings for farmers at its main campus and different research and training stations.

Over 800 farmers and orchardists will be trained under this initiative in one year. The SJVN Foundation will bear the total cost of these trainings.

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Nauni varsity student to represent India in International Kickboxing championship in Argentina

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Himachali Kickboxer Lokesh Bhanot

Solan: While the youth of Himachal Pradesh is becoming infamous for the sudden surge in drug addiction it is witnessing currently, there are those who are bringing laurels to the State.

Lokesh Bhanot, a local from Solan district and a student of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni is all set to represent the country in the World Kickboxing Championship to be held at Buenos Aires, Argentina from November 5-10, 2018. The World Kickboxing Federation is organizing the championship, it was informed by the Public Relation Officer of the varsity Suchet Attri.

A fourth-year student of B Sc Forestry at the University’s College of Horticulture and Forestry (COH&F), Neri, Bhanot had bagged a bronze medal in the senior category (90-100 kg) in the National Kickboxing Championship held at Patna in 2016 and a Gold Medal in the 65-75 kg category at the National Championship held at Ghaziabad in 2012-13.

In addition, Bhanot has won several medals at the state and district level championships in different weight categories, said the PRO.

Hailing from Solan, Bhanot had previously represented India in Italy in 2013 where he became a black belt in the sport. In 2017, he was selected to participate in the World Kickboxing Championship in Sudan and Brazil, but could not participate due to his exams.

Not only has Bhanot excelled as a player, but in 2017 also became a World Kickboxing Federation accredited International referee in the sport by clearing the official exam. He is also an accredited national referee.

Bhanot credits his parents, coach and college teachers, and friends for their constant support for his success. The university has also recognized his achievements and awarded him with Outstanding Student and Sportsperson award at the University and College level.

While congratulating Bhanot for bringing laurels to the university and the College, Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said that the University has been encouraging sporting activities along with academics.

He added that this achievement will also motivate other students of the university. Dr PC Sharma, Dean of COH&F and faculty also congratulated Bhanot for his sporting achievements.

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