IDIA Sensitization at Somaiya University / educational complex

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The Somaiya University / educational complex is located in Vidyavihar, Ghatkopar (East), Mumbai. This University has different colleges in varied streams of science, humanities and commerce. For the purpose of IDIA, we have selected the following 3 colleges which comprise of students from Class XI and XII.
 
1.     S.K. Somaiya Junior College;
2.     K.J. Somaiya Junior College of Arts and Commerce;
3.     K.J. Somaiya Junior College of Commerce and Science.
 
The first sensitization was conducted in the K.J. Somaiya Junior College of Arts and Commerce. This has already been captured in the blog post of January 19, 2013 by Diptoshree Basu.
 
On January 28, 2013, we conducted two sets of activities in the other two colleges (1) Short talks with students from S.K. Somaiya Junior College; (2) an aptitude test and sensitization for students from K.J. Somaiya Junior College of Commerce and Science.
 
1. S.K. Somaiya college:
 
Here, contrary to schedule, we were unable to hold a power-point presentation for students as the college was unable to arrange for it. So, we took the opportunity to go to individual Class XII classrooms and give a 2 minute talk on legal education and legal profession to the students. A good bunch of interested students who were thinking about law, or were keen to think in that direction approached us and enthusiastically signed up for the aptitude test. Pursuant to confirmation from the college, we will soon follow up on the test.
 
2. K.J. Somaiya College for Science and Commerce:
 
Here, the Principal had requested us to first hold the aptitude test and then conduct a presentation. He felt that instead of collecting all students (immaterial of their interest in law) for a presentation, we should try and pick out the interested ones.
 
So, we followed a strategy of a 2 minute talk + aptitude test + presentation.
 
2 minute talk:
At the outset, we went to individual classes and had an informal and short chat with the students on the possibility of a legal education, its pros in terms of empowerment, learning rights and duties and the world of opportunities before a law graduate. We then explained that we wish to hold an aptitude test for them which will help them gauge where they stand at a national level in a probable law entrance exam. Through this, we try to do two things: get them excited about something new like law; second, try to present the aptitude test as a challenge. A good number of students signed up for the test.
 
Aptitude test:
We conducted aptitude tests for about 70 students from Class XI.
 
Presentation:
We followed the aptitude test with a power point presentation. The presentation covered the importance of legal education for one’s career and life. On the career point we stressed on the wealth of opportunities available to a law graduate especially from one of the NLUs. We focused on national and international opportunities for work, higher studies and the promising financial remuneration after a legal education. We also spoke about the diverse paths of politics, bureaucracy, journalism, business management which a lawyer may take.
 
We equally emphasized on the role of legal education in changing the way a person thinks –it forces the person to constantly weigh the relevance or irrelevance of an issue in making a decision. It makes a person understand which point actually substantiates an argument and which doesn’t, thus enabling a person to make more convincing arguments and looking at things more objectively. Thus, it shapes the personality of a law graduate to become a good thinker, advocate and leader.
 
Lastly, we explained the process of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) to the students, including the extent of preparation which is required and the expensive coaching classes. As the students had already written the aptitude test, they felt more familiar with the pattern and subjects of CLAT. Also, a test before the presentation helps in preventing a possible negative bias or fear towards the CLAT.
 
We familiarized the students with the role of IDIA in attempting to bring diversity in the students being enrolled in NLUs. We elaborated that we seek to spread awareness about law as a career option by talking to students of various junior colleges and also guide them towards legal education. Further, we emphasized that we offer extensive support to students who are unable to financially invest in – coaching for CLAT and / or for the fees and costs of an education at a NLU. Thus we tried to relay the message that if anyone wants to do law but doesn’t have the finances or guidance to support their ambition, then we can help them out.
 
We noticed that the students in this sensitization were more drawn into the process. The fact that the students signed up for the aptitude test is an important factor in this ‘interest.’ Further, if the students liked giving the test or found the test relatively doable, they would see the subsequent steps as a chance to hone their skills. These factors contribute in a perception that the presentation is not a mere top-down mundane speech but something that the students can use.
 
Our findings are making us re-think the process of sensitizations and we are wondering whether it makes sense to administer an aptitude test right at the start?

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