Education: National contest for innovation

superman child

If you have children at home who like to tinker on things, whose questions don’t cease, who love exploring, who are endearing and compassionate, then you are most likely constantly looking for  platforms where they can express themselves.

One of my favourite stories is that of Arav Hak who raised over 9 lakh rupees to help children fighting cancer. When his mother took him to a cancer hospital to celebrate Diwali with the children there, the experience changed him from within. His life began to have a new meaning.  A new friend named Aditya, with big cricket dreams, directed him to feel content with life’s limitations.

Arav’s mother is exceptional for she nurtured her son towards being a person, we, as Indians, can all be proud of.

India needs to promote a ‘ thinking community’ and she seems to be on the right path.

India has a great forum to promote innovation – The National Innovation Foundation.

This is a special forum for school children where their innovations are honoured with the IGNITE award.

“What is invited for the contest?
Original and creative technological ideas and innovations of the students OR/AND any technological idea/innovation that solves any daily-life problem, be it household or of porters, labourers, or the likes. In addition, during their vacations or otherwise, the students are encouraged to look for other people who come out with innovative machines/devices or solve day-to-day problems using their creativity. Similarly, they are also encouraged to document and learn traditional knowledge (TK) practices from elders in their families and neighbourhood. The purpose is to expose them to the rich traditional heritage that we have, facilitating its transfer from generation to generation. The students submitting the maximum number of properly-documented entries (innovations/TK) to the schools (which would forward them to NIF) or directly to NIF, would be given appreciation certificates. For each innovation/TK practice spotted and documented by the student, he/she will be credited as being the ‘scout’ of that innovation/TK in records.” – Announcement by NIF

Simply browsing through the ‘ Innovations of the day’ listed on its website, children will be propelled to have a different perspective to the world around them.

I am going to list out the innovations of some of the awardees so that you will be inspired to check out the NIF website:

Schoolbag with foldable wheeled legs to distribute weight

Pothole detector in flooded conditions

Spectacle microscope

Automatic light intensity mechanism for study

Automatic blanket covering mechanism

Nail polish that indicates drugs/alcohol in drinks to prevent molestation

Stapler for buttons

Tiffin box that reminds one to wash hands

Differentiating natural and artificially ripened fruit

Adjustable Wheel chair and Walker

Portable latch for restrooms

Drawbridge doors for trains

Foot operated door opening system

A message sending facility to municipality when garbage bins get filled up

Reversible benches in public spaces during rain

Mobile charger or laptop adapter with inbuilt power back up 

a fourth (blue) light at traffic signal to indicate that traffic jam ahead.

Bio- fertilizer from cockroaches

A torch with an additional bulb to let you see near your feet

Posture correcting chair

Pen to check your concentration levels

There are hundreds of serious innovative ideas listed on the site.

On the NIF website listed entries are accompanied by a child friendly illustration. Children would be thrilled to read about them.

If you have raised  children who might make a difference, getting them into national level competitions, may just be the right catalyst. You need to focus less on winning and more on being in a space that provides the right environment. This may be the best way to challenge their exceptional minds.

Do check out here for  more competitions that they can register themselves for.

Parents and schools need to urge the student community to find solutions to the problems they see around them. Allow them to feel confident about their questions. Give them time to answer their own questions before dismissing them as silly or scolding them for not seeing what is obvious to you. Do not thrust upon them readymade solutions. Let them explore. They simply may find a new angle to it.

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