Thursday, May 31, 2007

'Super 30' rocks again in IIT JEE'2007

Yesterday, the results of the coveted and one of the most challenging entrance tests, IIT Joint Entrance Examination' 2007 were declared. This year, 2,43,029 candidates wrote the entrance test, out of which 7,200 candidates are eligible to seek admission to 5537 seats in IITs at Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Chennai and Roorkee and the other two institutions in Varanasi and Dhanbad. This year 54,025 girls wrote the entrance test and 587 of them have qualified.

The results of this pattern come every year, but the results are something, which offer complete satisfaction having made to one of the best schools in the world. Most of the selected students come from middle-class or upper middle-class backgrounds and prepare for the exams through private coaching and correspondence course material from groups like Brilliant Tutorials, FIITJEE, etc. Cost factor being a prime concern and access to good study material another important factor to consider, students from rural or semi-urban are generally not able to match with those students from towns and cities. This point assumes that most of the students who crack the IIT JEE undergo some sort of training or mentorship other than the regular course material used at +2 level. To put a halt to the practice of more than two attempts to make into the IIT's, thus indirectly discouraging the mushrooming of private tuition schools, IIT examination board has introduced the new rule that allows an aspirant a maximum of two attempts to take this test.

Whatever may be the case, in the past few years, a small group of desperately poor, talented students have made it into the IITs. This year also 'Super 30', a grooming school located in Patna, the capital of Bihar, one of India's least developed states in India will be sending 28 bright chaps to the IITs and the remaining two, both Dalits are hopeful of sailing through once the results of SC/ST aspirants are out.

What makes 'Super 30' special is this. Anand Kumar, a local mathematician, and Abhayanand, Patna's Deputy Director General of Police and a lover of physics, founded the school in 2003 to help promising locals get ahead in the caste-based society. The name of the group is 'Super 30' as both Anand and Abhay scour Bihar's least privileged communities for 30 bright students to coach them for the exam, providing free lessons and housing. The results from this intelligent group speak it all. 18 of them cracked the test in 2003. In 2004, 22 of the 30 came out with flying colors. The number of successful candidates increased to 26 in 2005 and 28 in 2006.
The 'Super 30' heroes this year include Pranav Prince whose mother works as a tailor to support the family. There are also a nurse's son and an FCI godown watchman's son. "Hard work + 'josh' = success," formulated Abhishek Kumar, another 'Super 30' star who is ranked 327th in the IIT-JEE this year.
Reading this news, it reminded me of one of my batch mates, Sudhanshu from my graduation school days. Sudhanshu hailed from a small town in Bihar. He was called 'Pondy' in my batch, a sort of introvert who in spite of a tight schedule and strict regime with the course program was often lost in his world, engrossed in solving problems in Mathematics and working out puzzles most of the time. Four years back when we left campus, he had a high paying job in a multi-national firm. But the sophistication, worldliness and chamaak dhamaak of corporate world, couldn't hold back his true inherent aptitude for long. He ditched his job within one year and took to teaching Mathematics and helping students to crack IIT.

Dost, I am proud of you.

Also why I felt good when I read this news is because of the fact that, today education is a trump card for those from the lower [both in terms of economy and information] strata of the society to march with the new world, kaadam se kaadam milake. Moreso results like these spread the awareness among the rural populace that even they can make a mark. To give an example, Santosh Kumar, was one of the products from the 2006 batch of 'Super 30', and his story is classic example of never-give-up and dream for the best in the world and work towards it. Santosh is from Dumari, a village in the Bihata district, about 22 miles from Patna. Nearly all in the village of 3,000 residents scratch out a meagre living as farmers. Santosh after attending the village school used to sell vegetables the family cultivated in a nearby market town.
Santosh saw that "education was the only way out of poverty," he says. At first, he planned to study so he could become an officer in the Indian civil service. After high school, he enrolled in the Patna College of Commerce, and then he heard about the IITs and the Super 30. "I went straightaway to Anand Kumar and told him: 'I dream of IIT, but I have no money.' He gave me his test, and I came second in the class. [He] let me into his Super 30 -- free," Santosh recalls.
In the IIT JEE'2006, his efforts paid off, when he won a coveted seat at IIT Kharagpur. He ranked 3,537 out of the 5,000 students chosen.

Early this year, Norika Fujiwara, a former Japanese beauty queen and actress, made a documentary film on 'Super 30' for its innovative and successful attempt to send poor children to India's top Engineering Colleges.

Also, this post was of special interest to me, as someone in my own family had a more low-toned version of what few chaps had undergone as mentioned above. Close to 26, years ago my father's younger brother had topped in his Bachelor's Degree at IIT Kharagpur and was awarded the Gold Medal in Dept of Electrical Engineering. He had got scholarships to make to the top schools in the US for his Masters Program, but the family didn’t have enough funds to sponsor his air-tickets then. Somehow the finance part was taken care through loans. My uncle later completed his Masters and then his Ph.d and today heads and operates one the best Electrical Engineering Company with offices at various locations in the US and in Canada.

As in the words of Bubli the movie in "Bunty Aur Babli",
chote chote sheroin se
khaali boore dopehroin se
hum to jhola uthake chale

Keep reading and remain connected.

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