What is IDIA?
The IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access) Movement started off under the leadership of Professor Shamnad Basheer of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) as a movement to eliminate the inequities of education. Some very disturbing statistics reflected a complete lack of diversity, with a majority of the students clearing the entrance tests for these Universities hailing from the upper middle socio economic class bracket. The IDIA team set itself up, first in NUJS, and then in other National Law Schools throughout the country, as an attempt to question and change these statistics. The aim is to provide access to the resources required to crack the entrance exam to students who would not be able to get access to them otherwise.
What does IDIA do?
Local IDIA Chapters have been set up in Kolkata, Jodhpur, Bangalore, Lucknow, Kochi, Hyderabad and many other places. These local chapters have conducted aptitude tests in various schools for the underprivileged, and have started an intensive training programme for those who did well, and those who are interested in pursuing law as a career. A lot of students were found to be initially very apprehensive about their career prospects, but enough information was disseminated in this regard to convince most of them about the advantages of this career choice.
In addition, the IDIA has been pushing relentlessly for reforming the CLAT. These concerted efforts have resulted in the CLAT Committee agreeing to various affirmative measures—for instance, removing the section on static general knowledge, and legal knowledge completely from the paper. The rationale is to test the aptitude of the students, rather than the knowledge.
The Hyderabad Chapter
The Hyderabad Chapter is particularly interesting, since it is the only centre in the country where an effort is being made to increase access to legal education to the disabled. For this purpose, a school for the visually impaired, Sai Junior College, has been adopted in Raniganj. This school is run by the Devnar Foundation which is headed by Padma Sri Saibaba Goud who is also the President for the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness (NSPB). Ten students have been selected as IDIA Scholars, who are to receive free training for the CLAT. Laptops have been bought for these students, so that digitized study material can be converted to audio format to facilitate learning for them. Classes have recently commenced in all five subjects for these students as part of their training.
What will interning with IDIA mean?
Interning with the IDIA will mean being part of the teaching process for the IDIA scholars. The subjects to be taught include English, Logical Reasoning, Legal Reasoning, General Knowledge and Maths (grade ten levels). This is an immense opportunity, more so for law students, because the IDIA Scholars are not only exceptionally bright, but also extremely keen to learn about the Law, and understand its various facets. While most students would cherish the process of teaching in itself, the IDIA experience is that much more of a process of self-discovery in that it deals with children who have managed to devise incredibly ingenuous ways of learning for themselves. This internship presents the opportunity of being part of something extraordinary, something that might change the face of legal education in the country, but will definitely change your paradigm of life.
All interns will be expected to help with a wide variety of work. For instance, they may be expected to conduct weekly classes, act as scribes for practice tests, help in analysis of test results etc. The internship programme will extend to at least four weeks. All students who have graduated from school, and are currently enrolled in a course in Law or are graduates from the same, are qualified to apply. Selections are subject to the discretion of the Internship Cell. No specialized experience or training is required and you can feel free to come up with new, innovative modes of teaching and working. The interns are required to work in Hyderabad under the Hyderabad Chapter during the months of November and December.
All interns found to have worked in a committed manner by the end of the stipulated time period will be granted certificates for their efforts signed by Professor Shamnad Basheer, on behalf of the IDIA Initiative. For further details, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 09163787994 or 09163787987
We hope to hear from you soon.