The national Olympiad programme in science subjects culminating in the international Olympiads of 2021 has been disrupted by the Covid19 pandemic in the country. In view of the prevailing situation, the following decisions are announced.
- In a departure from the usual three-stage procedure for the selection of the teams to represent India at the international Olympiads that has been followed in previous years, the selection procedure for the 2020-2021 cycle has been condensed to a two-stage process as a one-time exception.
- The two stages in each subject will be:
- A three-hour two-part examination called the Indian Olympiad Qualifier (IOQ), jointly organized by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) and the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) – HBCSE (TIFR)
- An Orientation-cum-Selection Camp (OCSC) organized by HBCSE.
The IOQ in each subject will be a combination of two examinations, held in a single sitting for the examinee.
- Part I: National Standard Examination (NSE)
This will replace the standalone NSE of other years. The duration of this part will be 1 hour and will consist of multiple-choice questions, similar in standard to the usual NSE. This part will be a screening examination for selective evaluation of the second part (INO) only and performance in this part will not play any role in the selection for the next level (OCSC). This part of IOQ in different subjects will be called National Standard Examinations (NSEs) in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Junior Science, and Physics: NSEA, NSEB, NSEC, NSEJS, and NSEP, respectively.
- Part II: Indian National Olympiad (INO)
This will replace the standalone INO of other years. The duration of this part will be two hours and will consist of detailed questions, similar in standard to the usual INO. This part will be evaluated only for students screened through the first part (NSE), and the selection for the next level (OCSC) will be determined solely by the performance in this part. This part of IOQ in different subjects will be called Indian National Olympiads (INOs) in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Junior Science, and Physics: INAO, INBO, INChO, INJSO, and INPhO, respectively.
- The IOQ will be jointly organized by the IAPT and HBCSE. The academic responsibility of Part I: NSE will be borne by IAPT, while that of Part II: INO will be borne by HBCSE. The remaining stages of the Olympiad programme will be carried out by HBCSE.
- Online enrolment for IOQ is expected to start on the IAPT website (iaptexam.in) by 01 November 2020. Further confirmation regarding this and detailed information regarding eligibility, enrolment, and syllabus for IOQ will be announced shortly. These are expected to be similar to previous years.
- The tentative schedule of IOQ examinations is as under:
- Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Junior Science (IOQJS): January 17, 2021 (Sunday) 14:30 – 17:30 hrs
- Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Astronomy (IOQA): February 6, 2021 (Saturday) 9:00 -12:00 hrs
- Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Chemistry (IOQC): February 6, 2021 (Saturday) 14:30 – 17:30 hrs
- Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Physics (IOQP) February 7, 2021 (Sunday) 9:00 – 12:00 hrs
- Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Biology (IOQB): February 7, 2021 (Sunday) 14:30 – 17:30 hrs. Please note that this schedule is tentative, and is subject to change at short notice, depending on the prevailing pandemic situation in the country.
- The screening criterion for Part II (INO) of IOQ to be evaluated will be similar to the qualification criteria for INO from NSE in previous years. Detailed criteria will be announced soon.
- The criteria for qualification for OCSC on the basis of performance in Part II (INO) of IOQ will be similar to INO-to-OCSC criteria applied in previous years. Detailed criteria will be announced soon.
- The programme for stages beyond IOQ will be announced at an appropriate later time.