The sensitisation session for the XI and XII students of Ossanam English Medium Higher Secondary School, Kattappana, Idukki was conducted on 2 September 2010. The Management and staff of the school were welcoming. The novel idea of sensitising pre- varsity students to take up law as a career option was appreciated by the headmaster of the school, Fr Dominic.
It was sad that some of the schools in the district were reluctant to permit the IDIA volunteers to proceed with the sensitisation programme. The prejudiced approach of the school authorities and their unwillingness to change the conventional conception that they have about the legal profession was disappointing. It is an irony that people who are supposed to widen and modernise the outlook of the students narrow down their options to medicine and engineering. The experience that we had was both educating and disheartening. It would not be possible to resurrect the lost glory of the profession unless the older generation is ready to change their mindset. The realisation of the hurdles on the path ahead helped create a great sense of responsibility in us.
The welcoming attitude of the authorities of Ossanam EMHSS shows the genuine interest that the authorities have about the future of the students. The school believes in educating students than making them mere literates. Thinking beyond the prescribed syllabus was taking the path less travelled by!
The session started around 10 am. Each class had to be separately addressed owing to the constraint of time and space. The students were receptive and at the same time doubtful about the prospects of the profession. They heard about CLAT for the first time ever in those sessions. The idea of national law schools was also new to them. We made them realise the various options available to a law graduate besides litigation.
At the first instance they found it hard to digest. As the session advanced, they were successfully convinced of the different opportunities available to a law graduate like working with law firms, NGOs, other corporate firms, social organisations and other entrepreneurial possibilities. They were also informed of the advanced academic training and exposure available at the law schools. But as we proceeded with the fees structure many of the students openly expressed their disappointment at the unaffordable rates. It was to their relief that IDIA is providing financial aid to financially weak students.
The interactive session followed. It was to our surprise that the students instantly came up with their queries without any hesitation. A good number of the questions were on CLAT and its preparation. They also wanted to know the syllabus followed in the law schools. Those students who took CLAT seriously came to us to know more of the life at law schools which included internships, moots etc.
At the beginning of the session of the 203 higher secondary students who attended, only 3 students were interested in the profession and around 10 students had some idea of the subject. However, after the interactive session 150 students showed real interest in law and attempted the aptitude test. We hope to see at least some of those faces in the national law schools.
Report prepared by Nimmy Tom and Telma Raju