Monday, September 4, 2017

This year’s National Outreach Programme Summer Coaching Session (NOP SCS) took place from the 14th of July to the 28th of July 2017 and was a huge success. On the day of registration almost 500 successful applicants stood in front of the gates at LUMS ready to experience a grueling yet exhilarating 2 weeks of academic rigour. They were coached on subjects such as English, Mathematics, Basic Sciences, Critical Thinking and Soft Skills Development as well as given the chance to participate in extra-curricular activities such as the Sports Day, Drama Night and Music. There was a carefully planned course outline and structure in which all these elements were methodically embedded.

Preparing for this SCS involved an entire team of people alongside the NOP Centre, who were all ensuring that the session ran smoothly and met all its objectives. An extremely important part of the SCS infrastructure were the Instructors, TAs, Volunteers, LUMS Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and The Student Factory (TSF). These professionals were not only in charge of delivering educational content but also aided in the tasks of registration, commissioning dorms, managing events and conducting sessions. Their efficiency and tireless commitment to make the SCS a success created waves of positivity for all participating parties.

When asked about their experiences, Instructors exclaimed immense satisfaction at the results of the SCS. After interacting with students they witnessed a marked change in them, noting that they had all grown in terms of intellectual understanding but more importantly, social confidence. Since problem solving, embracing differences and opening up to a new environment were all aspects we wished students to be imbibed with, to see them being displayed by these prospective pupils was a delight for all.

Similarly our TAs went on state that the calibre of students was extremely high, their capacity and understanding meant that a lot of academic sessions were covered on time without any impediments.  To support students, TSF was conducting SAT preparatory sessions focusing on critical skills in both English and Mathematics; this was being taught and assessed. Their lab sessions incorporated presentation skills and students were given the task of preparing their own on select topics on the penultimate day of the SCS. TSF presentations were enjoyed by all those who attended and they too remarked positively on the energy, ambition and brilliance shown by these prospective students. They observed that there were discernible improvements in students towards the end of the session especially in terms of self-assurance and general presentation skills.

It must be added that it was not “all work and no play” for our SCS Attendees, they engaged in the Sports Day, taking part in football, volleyball, basketball, badminton and many more sports of their choice. It was heartening to see them use their team building skills on the pitch. Another aspect was the drama and music night that gave students the chance to prepare performances for their peers; an event where the collective creativity was relished by all. Drama performances were coordinated with the help of the Drama Society and their focus on social issues such as oppression and societal evil was dealt with absolute sensitivity and thoughtfulness.  Members of the audience later on positively commented at the nuanced performances and story line.

The above undertakings could not have been carried out without our Volunteers. They played a vital role in establishing the efficient running of all activities from start to finish. Some of their major tasks included: preparing welcome packs for students containing all the essentials they would need for their stay, processing check in and check out, data entry and collection, managing food coupons and providing support during computer lab sessions. It was amazing to see them get involved in so many aspects of the session.

Further support was provided by the EMS Team who were extremely responsive and vigilant in providing aid to any sick or ill student ensuring that they stayed healthy and fit throughout their stay. They too engaged in educating students about basic first aid such as taking one’s pulse, safeguarding one’s physical and mental health and promoting good hygiene habits. These tips will certainly serve students well when managing their health in the future.

All in all the NOP Centre deeply appreciates all the Instructors, TAs, TSF, the EMS and Volunteers for their participation; their dedication and diligence were major contributors in making the NOP SCS 2017 such a success.

Breaking Barriers