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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

To Pelling With Love: CLAT Training Session at Pelling (Sikkim)

Pelling is a small town hidden in mountain ranges in the district of West Sikkim with an altitude of 6100 ft. Pelling is 115 km from the state capital Gangtok and about 135 km from Siliguri, the nearest railhead and airport. The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport.

Most of the people of Pelling are Buddhists and speak the Sikkimese language. The other languages spoken are Nepali, Hindi, and English. The population in the region has an eclectic mix of several tribes and ethnic groups. Due to lack of access, education, especially the vocational sort, has suffered in this region. The only senior secondary school in a 10 km radius is the Government School,

The IDIA team had earlier conducted a pilot project at Pelling. The project included a talk to on law, law as a career, CLAT and National Law Schools. The team also conducted an aptitude test to identify intelligent students having an aptitude for law.

This time the agenda was to visit the school again to kickstart the preparation for CLAT for these students, distribute necessary books, IMS study material and talk to their teachers to identify such persons who can continuously guide the students. Interestingly, some of the teachers possess LL.B. degrees, but in their own words, they had seldom encouraged their students to take up law as a career.

The main challenge was to teach the students to use the material given to them even in absence of physical presence of a teacher. If we can motivate the students sufficiently, and show them how they can prepare on their own, very good results can be expected. Our effort was also towards building an effective study group amongst these students so that they can learn from each other, and keep themselves motivated in the long run through cooperation.

It took us more than 24 hours to reach Pelling since the beginning of our journey in Kolkata, especially due to a few tricky land slides on the way. The next day we visited the school, met several teachers who expressed their approval of our efforts, and pledged to support it in future.

We gave a set of study material to the library so that it can be accessed by anyone interested in preparing for law entrances. We established contact with the identified students, and ensured that they gather the next morning for an intensive session. The school agreed to provide us with a classroom for this purpose. Several teacher attended the session as well.

After a short introduction by Shamnad sir, we familiarised the students with the CLAT questions, explained the task that they are facing, and took them through the 7 books (see the list here) that were given to them earlier, apart from the several modules in the IMS study material packet. The whole affair continued for a large part of the day. We would have liked to conduct a session on how to use the internet resources effectively, but due to time restraints (the students had their annual examination starting from the next day) we had to skip that.

We (From left to right: Ramanuj, Arnab, Prof. Shamnad Basheer) gave the students certain milestones, things that they have to learn before they arrive at NUJS for the next session of training on 6th of July, 2010 for another 4 days of training. At this time, we shall conduct diagnostic tests to identify individual strengths and weaknesses so that we can help them improve.

Report prepared by Ramanuj Mukherjee (5th year student, NUJS).

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