In association with the Northern Education Department, the Yarl IT hub conducted its junior category Yarl Geek Challenge – 4 which came to an end with success on 17th of October. Unlike the previous years, Yarl IT hub conducted the Zonal level competition in 5 centers of North: Vavuniya, Mankulam, Kilinochchi, Jaffna and in Madduvil, where schools from 12 zones of North brought almost 50 teams to compete.
The evaluation for the zones of Vavuniya North, Vavuniya South, Mannar, Madu took place in Vavuniya Computer Resource Center while the competitors of Thunukkai and Mullaithivu were evaluated in Mankulam Central College. In Madduvil Chanthirapura Skandavarodhaya maha Vidyalaya, the competitors from Thenmarachi and Vadamarachi were evaluated. Finally in Vembadi Girls’ High School participants from Jaffna, Valikamam and Island zones were evaluated.
The participants were made clear about the format of evaluation and the competition before the competitions in each center was about to start. In Jaffna center, almost 25 teams competed and 12 teams were selected from this center to compete in the next round. Almost 10 teams competed in Kilinochchi center and 5 of them were selected. Also from Vavuniya and Madduvil centers 14 teams got selected to participate in the next round. By the end of the announcements of the selected teams for the next round, certificates were given to those who showed interest in taking part in this competition.
One week later and it was time for the finals. This was a two-day event with mentoring sessions and evaluations.Despite coming from zones that are economically and technically behind, the teams that made it this far showed amazing interest. Although they found it hard to find internet access or enough of computers to bring up their ideas, the interest they showed during the competition was appreciable. They had a willingness to learn from the mentors with who they worked with on the 16th. During the day they were given a chance to enhance their product in order to meet the evaluation criteria of the judges. Also, a special session about pitching ideas was given to the participants, so that they know how to present the whole work in the given 4 minutes.
There was a vibration of tension felt at TCT hall on 17th of October, for it was the D-day for the participants. Although the pitching was to start at 10 AM, competitors arrived at the venue almost around 7AM to start practicing, to make sure that there were no technical errors in hardware, or any mistakes in the presentation. Nervousness among some leaders of the teams and excitement among others were easily witnessed when the leaders were asked to come forward to pick the chits with the number of their presenting turns.
Every team presented their product in their unique way of pitching and everyone did it well. Most of the teams came up with educational websites, but a few teams had also designed websites with business purposes. Compared to previous years, this year’s Junior challenge also saw many hardware and mobile apps designed by the talented youngsters that took part.
In other words, students had used this platform very well to bring out their hidden talents which also helped Yarl IT Hub to achieve their mission “To Make Jaffna another Silicon Valley.”
Along with experience, the participants were awarded with merit certificates for their interest and their try to take part in it. Also, every zone had a winning team awarded with first place and cup. The details of the winners from each zone are as follows:
- Vavuniya South : V/ Tamil Madya Maha Vidyalayam
- Kilinochchi Zone: Vaddakkachchi Central College
- Mullaiththivu Zone: Mu/ Madya Maha Vidyalayam
- Islands: Velanai Central College
- Valikamam: Araly Saraswathi Vidyalayam
- Vadamarachi: Chithambara College
- Thenmarachi: Meesalai Veerasingam School
- Vavuniya South: Kanagarankulam MV
- Jaffna Zone: Jaffna Hindu College
- Thunukkai Zone: Mallavi Central College
The best apps
YGC-4 Junior’s title was won by the team from Vavuniya Tamil Madiya Maha Vidyalayam which brought hardware called “Secret knocking”. This is a door unlocking system that will open the door only when the right number of knocks with the right rhythm is given as pre-set. What makes it unique is that this device is supposed to be fixed inside the house so that no outsiders will know about it. They also mentioned that in future they’re planning to add features like a photo snap when someone gives the wrong enter code or an SMS alert to the owner about the wrong entry code.
Bloom buds, a team from Vembadi Girls High School, won the best Web Application. The website is aimed at A/L students in the Technology stream. They said that they want to create awareness about this stream and support the students studying in this stream with limited resources for practical and notes. Since this stream was introduced quite recently to A/L’s, there is a shortage of past papers and model papers for the students to practice; therefore through this website interested teachers can upload papers set by them. It is also remarkable that the website is a live one, in which almost 20 users have submitted their user registrations for acceptance by the admin.
The Methodist College girls from Point Pedro brought a mobile app that will track the attendance of school students and notify the parents if the student is absent on a day. This is the app that won the best mobile app award. It looks like the girls have noticed that many students have the habit of lying to their parents that they’re going school, but they cut school to go out for a movie or to hang out. So, this app is going to make the attendance at school online, and if a student is absent an SMS will be sent to the parents of the absentee. It is noteworthy that the team came up the whole system working.
Finally, there’s the team from Dr. Thiyagarajah Maha Vidyalam, Karainagar, which won the best hardware award. “The number of accidents due to travelling on footboard has risen, and we have seen many during our journey to and from Karainagar to Jaffna. Also, we have heard the owners of the bus complaining about being cheated by the conductors in buses. We thought that these problems should be solved,” said the team from Dr. Thiyagarajah Maha Vidyalam, Karainagar. “We have designed this device that will signal the driver of a bus if there is a passenger on the foot board. In addition, this device will keep a count on the number of passengers who have travelled during the day, so that the owner can calculate the earnings for the day.” This team also thinks that it can develop the device in the way to send SMS notification to the owner of the bus about the number of passengers travelled during a day.
This event, YGC juniors, is not only about winning, but it is what you learn. Although this is done in a competition format, the key is to push students forward to learn IT, to develop skills in IT and to share knowledge. And it is really wonderful to know that most of them, despite every reason that might push them down, are keen to develop their skills in IT and to be “out-of-the-box-thinkers”. Every success is in the readiness to learn everything you could.