In this era of ‘coding while schooling’, most parents are being lured to get their child enrolled for some course and science or math Olympiad. However, not all students find it useful but they want to get street-smart and ready for competitive exams. Mind Wars GK Olympiad, a national-level championship open to students of classes 4 to 12 from all education boards, is one such opportunity to make your child street-smart and prepare him for multiple-choice-questions based examinations including the larger competitive exams.
Exam Dates 2021: January 10, January 17, January 24, January 31 and February 7
In an interview to Salil Urunkar, co-founder and chief editor of Deccan Express, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited’s Senior Vice President Umesh Kr Bansal explained the need of this General Knowledge based Olympiad and how Mind Wars is setting a record by enrolling students from more than two thousand schools.
Q – How is Mind Wars GK Olympiad different than other Olympiads and education, coding courses?
Bansal: Ed-tech platforms make children learn something and, in that sense, they are competitors to schools. We are not educators and we are not competing with schools. We are actually complementing schools and students with what they read about current affairs, general knowledge besides the regular studies.
We are not saying make them literate, we are not saying make them more educated. We are saying make kids smarter. We have gamified things which make kids street smart, improve their sensory powers. We have to realise that it is not possible to take away the gadgets from children today. If we are unable to take away the gadgets, then at least provide something on those gadgets which will help to improve their brain power and future. That is why we started with GK.
GK is something that anyone can participate in and is applicable for each and every person whether he goes for coding, science, arts or commerce. We thought of bringing something that is constructive, useful for future and development instead of education.
It is usable and applicable for every child, not just for children who are interested in sciences or computers. We are not expecting children to undertake any course. There is no time bound activity. Children don’t have to complete any course within a fix time frame. No teacher comes and teaches them anything.
Also, there is no pass or fail in the GK Olympiad. We provide quizzes on whatever the children are doing, they can keep improving their scores, they can redo the quizzes and go to higher levels. It’s a continuous learning and smartness process that we have built.
Q – What were the findings of teachers’ survey conducted before Mind Wars was launched?
Bansal: Modern day Olympiads are kind of prep to some of the competitive exams which some of the kids will go through in the future. So, in that sense it prepares them for their future endeavours. We wanted to check with teachers on how they see what could help the students when it comes to general knowledge.
We wanted to understand what is it or how does the structure of exam should be. So, we surveyed close to 5000 teachers and principals from across the country. We wanted to be sure on how many questions, what kind of sections, what length, what duration should be there for the examination. Also issues like how long can a child sit, if they are giving it from home then what should be the time duration allowed, in which month would the exam be held, how many exams should we have and all such questions were asked and data points collected.
Teachers were keen on having something around general knowledge as Olympiads known in schools were typically science or math based. GK Olympiad is an opportunity for students from every stream to participate.
Q – How does Mind Wars GK Olympiad benefit the students?
Bansal: During the survey, we realised that the teachers were aware of the fact that when the kids leave school or move into competitive exams, they have to get used to dealing with giving multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and appearing for the exams online. This was traditionally started by a GRE or GMAT. It is also being taken up as a format by competitive exams and now MCQ are fairly prevalent across such competitive exams.
Schools teachers and principals wanted something around MCQ exams being conducted online and also something that offers the students the flexibility to choose an exam date of their choice. All larger competitiv
e exams also give the opportunity to students to pick a date. If they don’t pick a date, exam dates are at least staggered across multiple days so that the student can go to any examination center and give it on a particular date.
We used these inputs and made our Olympiad completely multiple-choice questions based. We also created a randomiser so that every question paper is very different which allowed us to hold the Olympiad on multiple dates. We realised that the academic calendars are slightly different across the country, which prompted us to design the Olympiad in a way that dates were spread across from November to February beginning. Hence the Mind Wars GK Olympiad covers the entire country and is convenient for students across all states to participate.
Q – Who can enrol for the Mind Wars GK Olympiad? How many students so far have participated?
Bansal: Mind Wars has typically covered students from class 6 to 10. However, the teachers were keen that we extend it to class 4 or 5 students and class 11 and 12th as well. Therefore, we have launched GK Olympiad for students from grade 4 to 12 this year.
So far, students from 1000 schools have participated in the Olympiad and we hope that more 2000 schools will be added to the competition. If we cross 2000 school participation mark, it will make us the largest Olympiad held in country. Since it is our first year and schools are also closed, the ability of schools to influence students or inform students and ask them to participate in Olympiad is that much limited.
We are fairly spread out and omnipresent in terms of geographic spread. We are not skewed towards any particular city or region. Apart from the top 10 to 15 cities, the next 80 cities in India start falling under tier II category. Tier II cities are frankly not smaller cities anymore and they are as good as the tier I cities.
Q – Any plans to tie-up with state or central government?
Bansal: We have received really positive feedback from the bureaucrats. They have also endorsed our concept and platform. Since we are purely into quizzing and we do not even have a side business of an ed-tech company, government officers showed positivity towards our initiative. What worked in our favour was that we were not charging anything to the students as our app is free to use and that there were prizes, certificates, merit badges, medals etc to be won by students across competitions and across grades. It’s a very constructive format and no else offers such.
Unrelated to Olympiad, we have been endorsed by five state governments already who have asked their students to participate in Mind Wards. We also held specific quizzes for the state of J&K, in Bhopal city, and a couple of other places as well. These are ongoing events and not related to Olympiad in particular.
About Mind Wars
Mind Wars is a multi-platform knowledge programme which aims to reach 1 crore students from over 40,000 schools across India. The programme is promoted by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
- 20-minute exam
- Comprises relevant and interesting general awareness questions across 5 topics per class
- Improves students’ ability to crack competitive tests
- Multiple exam date options for your convenience
- Option to improve score by registering again to take an exam on a later date
- Available on the robust free-to-download Zee5 app
- Accessible at a nominal fee of Rs 200/- (including GST) per student
Read More :