MIT announces winners of essay writing competition

The competition was conducted in two categories – school and college.

13 Sep 2021 | By Aultrin Vijay

(l-r) Sridhan G Pai, Niveditha Singh and Rahul Rajeev Nair

Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) has announced the winners of its essay writing competition, which was held from 1 August 2021 to 1 September 2021.

Participants, which included school- and college-going students, had more than 30 days’ time to prepare and write the essays. However, both categories – school and college – were given different topics to write on.

The theme for the college students was ‘Covid-19: Did the pandemic jumble print education system’, whereas for school students, it was ‘Covid-19: Did the pandemic jumble our education system’.

Rahul Rajeev Nair and Niveditha Singh, final year students from Department of Media Technology, MIT received the first and second place respectively in the college level. Meanwhile, Sridhan G Pai, a seventh standard student from Little Rock Indian School, Udupi, Karnataka clinched the first prize in school level.

Dr Amrutharaj H Krishnan, professor and head, Department of Media Technology, Manipal Institute of Technology, told PrintWeek, “Both categories were good and to the expected standard.”

“We were amazed to see and understand the thoughts of our students,” Krishnan added, citing the various essays written by 41 students – 23 college students and 18 school students.

Krishnan informed that five teachers from the Department of Media Technology, MIT, MAHE were the jury members, who were stringent during the selection process. According to Krishnan, the jury also checked for plagiarism in the essays to make the competition fair.

The winning essays

Sridhan G Pai (first prize)
Little Rock Indian School, Udupi, Karnataka

Covid-19: Did the pandemic jumble our educational system?
Kids with new uniforms, new bags, colourful umbrellas, neatly combed hair, some with smiley faces, some with heavy hearts and some crying, some too excited. These are the happenings we come across in the first week of June. This tradition of school, which was there for many years, was altered; from making college students to school-going kids sit in front of mobile phones/laptops, the pandemic took away these beautiful life moments and can never be forgiven.

Life is a roller coaster ride, new dreams, higher goals, climbing the stairs of success, challenging students who aim to reach their destination. Doesn't the feeling of happiness students get when they score good grades by writing exams in school count? Have they got to experience this lately? Though they have scored 100% there is criticism on not scoring by writing the exams. Dreams, goals vanished in thin air.

The fun children used to have during offline lessons and play time can't be found now in online classes. The pleasure of sharing tiffin is totally different. Gossiping during classes (about what chocolate they ate), being shouted at by the teacher, and behaving obedient for the next few days is not happening now. The enjoyment they used to get during physical education or PE periods is only in memories now. Fighting for victory in games with their friends is unexplainable. Such an amusing education system is engulfed by this pandemic.

Indian culture gives a high place to the teacher for his role in imparting knowledge, moulding the character of the student. This student teacher relation is now online. On Independence Day and Republic Day, patriotism would flow in the minds of students. Intense hard work for the preparation of annual days, much care shown by the students to not spoil their makeup is something to see. The ice cream they get to eat after an event on sports days is something they will miss the most. This kind of educational system not only aims at teaching them the lessons, but also makes them a responsible citizen when they reach their adulthood. All the joy and delights of this educational system is concealed by the blanket like pandemic.

This pandemic surely has jumbled the educational system, but also everyone's life; it has troubled the whole planet. Being worried about it will help nothing. We should work under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan as announced by our Prime Minister. Should learn time management from a child. Should make use of the time at home to bring out great colour from these academic years. There is no doubt that many competitions such as drawing, singing, essay writing, and storytelling conducted online will help in sharpening young minds during this time.

Rahul Rajeev Nair (first prize)
Department of Media Technology, MIT

Covid-19: Did the pandemic jumble the print education system?

Adaptation – the ability to learn from past experience. The use of knowledge to alter their environment. But how does one adapt if there were no past experiences to prepare or alter for an event? This is the conundrum that's currently haunting the entire print industry. Disruptions occurring on a global scale has become a part of daily life, while some have found themselves thriving others had to find ways to sustain themselves.

The print industry is one that doesn't fit either of these categories well. Albeit the industry has remained somewhat similar in terms of demand in the FMCG sector and the digital print sector, the overall industry has seen a reduction in the production of more than 40%. Unfortunately, this downfall has also propagated into the print education systems where almost all the universities with esteemed print courses had to be halted physically for a period of more than a year, if not more.

Once again, the virtue of adaptation is paramount for the survival of any endeavour. Henceforth, almost everything in regard to the education of print shifted to a virtual environment, everything ranging from theory to practice. In an industry where up to 90% of the work done is practical, the initial shift to a virtual classroom was met with doubts and resistance. To further exacerbate, students became more and more hesitant to pay huge fees for education concerning an industry that cannot be done through a glass pane. "Students may not like to commit to large fees for online content, especially for print education. This is mainly because the practical and hands-on training play a major role in print-related education," said professor Ramnath Shenoy, a senior faculty at the prestigious Manipal Institute of Technology, one of the foremost colleges leading the education in the print and packaging industry.

Several methods were tried to induce lab learning, practicals, and research work at universities, but the distance was always an issue that formed cracks in the efficiency. One of the most pressing issues was that of the collision of studies and duties. As most students live with their families, the levels of distraction and other "seemingly important" work were significantly higher. Along with the chaos and pandemonium outside, lagging network connectivity, chores and other distractions, students were stressed constantly almost on a day-to-day basis. This significantly affected a major segment of people to provide their optimal potential in the classes conducted.

Mitt Romney once said, "Education is the investment our generation makes in the future." This holds particularly true for an industry, which for the most part is well misunderstood and underestimated within a longboat of people. Therefore, the downfall or rather the insufficiency of knowledge among the next generation of print and packaging pioneers directly correlates with the future of the industry as a whole.

Institutes harbouring the best print education systems in the world are trying their level best to unwind these tangled knots in the current teaching scenario. However, due to the sudden shifts occurring in the climate surrounding these decisions, things still appear to remain stagnant. As the uncertainty regarding the education of print and packaging students continue, the dip in their actual learning gains causes doubts and anxiousness within the print industry.

"The students must gain practical first-hand knowledge of the various processes occurring within a print workflow, the absence of which can cause severe troubles in their future work life. The lack of offline, physical internships and apprenticeships due to the pandemic is seriously affecting the students' abilities to learn directly about the knowledge of the craft of print from the veterans and experts of the industry," said Rajeev Kavuthodi, managing director of Al Sulaiman Media, Qatar.

Every industry has been affected by Covid-19, and print is not exempt from the pandemic's ramifications. Our business, as well as the education that goes with it, has been particularly hard hit. It is reflective of the fact that the print business is ailing and that in order for it to survive, adjustments will be required. At the end of the day, no one can be blamed or vilified for the situation at hand. One must work with what we have and make the best of it. Then again on the bright side, the next time an event of this magnitude occurs, our industry's virtue of adaptation will manifest itself to protect us better than the last time.

Niveditha Singh (second prize)
Department of Media Technology, MIT

Covid-19: Did the pandemic jumble the print education system?
In the normal paced life, where everyone was running to the daily chores, something unpredictable had set itself up, waiting to set its shadow. Just like dark clouds, our livelihood got surrounded by Covid-19. Did Covid-19 have a huge impact on society? Each and every disaster in an individual’s life teaches a new lesson and makes a person even stronger. It motivates mankind to do something effective, which can repair the particular damage. Did it affect the print education system?

If this pandemic had never hit the millennium, we would never try to think out of the box. This major hurricane in our life forced us to make the best out of technology. In other words, this pandemic directed the technology to a totally advanced level. At the same time, we cannot deviate from the fact that this entire situation has unbundled our classic print education system and turn it into disarray. Because of Covid-19 everything is operating online. Day by day, technologists are striving hard on how to make the digital platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet even more comfortable and efficient for the students, professors, corporate world, industries, manufacturing units and more. Technology is not always efficient and causes disruption to classes. Online learning requires students to have a high speed internet connection and at least one gadget, which a few students aren’t even able to afford. But with books, the government gave free supplies to the students. Students have trouble grasping concepts that are taught through online classes as marking and highlighting is difficult to do.

If we could go back in time, say around five years, we would never have been able to anticipate the turn in the education system or the learning process. Now that the classes are taking place on online platforms, thus, it's hard to predict to what extent the technology will evolve. The print education system is not completely dissolved, but due to the pandemic, it is holding onto a threat. As the pandemic is taking more time to settle down than anticipated, the specialists will try to give their best shot on innovative and creative ideas and fulfil the requirements of each and every individual. In this time of crisis, online classes are the best alternative to the print education system. Most of the students prefer digital learning over books because it’s not breaking the barrier between learner and learner’s learnings. But certain things cannot be erased from our memories, no matter which path our lives have put us in. As per the statistics, due to the lack of printed books, the students find it difficult to memorise. Even the assignments assigned to the students aren't bringing out the utmost abilities, as paperwork tends to help and is never a con to the students.

In pre-Covid times, as students, there was a different level of excitement in buying new books or attractive stationeries. Going to a Xerox shop to print pictures or buy A4 size papers in order to convert those attractive stationery into captivating masterpieces demanded a set of creative minds. Begging seniors for their guides and assignments gave the early taste of negotiations and learnings. The inauguration of new books and then creativity oozing out on the same ones through doodling had its own fanbase. Carrying a backpack full of books to the school every day, completing the tasks to avoid punishment, reading the lessons out loud had an irreplaceable place in the development of a child. The efforts, not only to take the previous year papers from the librarian, but also to be the first ones to do so, rushing to the teachers at the last moment to acquire important questions; these are not mere memories, but were a whole experience. The digitised books and education not only clouded the grasping, but also eclipsed the holistic development of a student that is needed.

As the education system has almost shifted to online learning, the study material has become very accessible and affordable to the students, but we definitely learnt many values such as coordination, teamwork and interaction from the print education system. Because of Covid-19, many kindergarten students are missing out on a lot of things such as human touch, growth and physical activities, which play a vital role in their lives.

Due to constantly sitting in front of the screen at a very young age, they are developing ophthalmological issues. The writing abilities of children have decreased with the decrease in practical learning. The digital books and education eclipsed the holistic development of a student. But just like a coin, everything has two faces, two visions, two sides.  The pandemic has forced us to think out of the box such as gaining more technical knowledge and increasing our creativity. On the other hand, we can see the entire print education system in danger. The print education is at a very undefined state as the pandemic has forced the people to opt for non-print education. Covid-19 has indeed jumbled up the print education system. Covid-19 has turned out to be like an ocean, whose tides are the problems thrown by it on the shore. Humankind has turned on its survival mode to fight back and thus led to acquiring more skills to combat the situation.

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