NIAS to mentor innovative young minds for the future

The NIAS has been mentoring students of classes 11 and 12 (aged 16-18). Now, the institute is tapping into much younger talent. REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE

The National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) is scouting for innovative young minds now. Potential bright young candidates will be identified and mentored from a very young age.

Until now, the NIAS has been mentoring children pursuing class 11 and 12 (aged between 16 to 18 years). Now, the institute is tapping into much younger talent. 

Though, six years is too early an age, the children have a lot of potential and talent, NIAS Director Shailesh Nayak told DH. There is a need to recognise talent and nurture it, he admitted, and said children change interests and career choices every day.

“The idea is to ensure proper guidance and nurturing of talent after the young ones choose a field. It is being done to recognise the needs of the children, especially in rural areas,” he said.

The NIAS team is working on identifying and training teachers, too, on how to spot young talent. They started the exercise on an experimental basis in Mysuru and Charmadi Ghat. So far, they have identified 100 potential children. It is the first time such an exercise is being done, and small steps are being taken with extreme caution.

“We are working on a large scale expansion where the children will be given advanced training at special centres. The challenge for us is to scale up to the state and national level. Funding is also crucial,” Nayak noted.

At present, NIAS gives selected grade 11 and 12 students a cash prize of Rs 50,000. The students are selected after a thorough screening process, and are provided access to mentors from all over the globe.

Though it has not been decided to give the younger lot cash prizes yet, they will surely get all the help and support to pursue their dreams. Apart from purely academic streams like science and engineering, any talent - music or even theatre - is given priority. At the recent mentoring programme, students have shown interest in films, theatre, car racing, molecular biology and so on, Nayak added. 

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NIAS to mentor innovative young minds for the future

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