I could only secure admission in Institute of Technology – BHU as my rank in JEE was not good enough for securing admission in one of the five IITs. Though I found that the intellectual level and caliber of students in IT-BHU was pretty high, the missing “I” in IT-BHU ensured that the students from the other IITs looked down upon us with some degree of contempt.
Let us now come to the present. The IIT JEE is now a two-tiered examination with JEE-Main being conducted as a screening test by CBSE and then another exam called JEE-Advanced conducted by the IITs. There are sixteen IIT’s in the country now. Opening IITs like fish markets in every corner of the country has brought down the general standard of IITs. In addition I am hearing crazy things like plates of vegetarian and non-vegetarian students are being segregated in IIT canteens and numerous other stories which make my blood boil.
The IIT JEE is still as tough an examination today as it was in my days. If you get through this exam it is like getting a certification of your high intellectual caliber. Of course, I have my own opinion of what it truly certifies but that is besides the point and not relevant to this post. The point I am getting at is, there is an unassuming man named Anand Kumar from Patna who is taking some steps to ensure that the poor and impoverished children of the country who do not have the exposure to get through the IIT JEE also get a chance to study in the coveted Indian Institutes of Technologies.
In 2002 Anand Kumar set up what he called Super-30 when he chose 30 students from the economically impoverished sections of the society and provided them boarding and lodging and coached them for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination. In the first year as many as 18 out of the 30 students he coached got through the prestigious examination and secured admission in the IITs.
The process of selection to the Super-30 involves a number of factors. There is a written examination and the economic status of the student is also taken into account. Generally children from the lower economic strata who do not have sufficient exposure but are full of potential are given a chance. In 2004, 22 out of 30 students of super 30 qualified in the IIT JEE. In subsequent years, several times all the 30 students of Super 30 coached by Anand got through the exam. The students coached by Anand are generally those who come from poor schools where the standard of education is not very high.
I will just give you some background about Anand himself. He was born in Patna, Bihar to a poor clerk. He studied in a Hindi medium government school where he developed a deep interest in mathematics. During graduation, Anand submitted papers on number theory which were published in the Mathematical Spectrum and the Mathematical Gazette.
Anand secured admission in Cambridge University but could not join because of his poor financial condition. In 2000, Anand was approached by a student who was poor and could not afford the costly coaching classes for IIT JEE. Anand was moved by this and it made him came up with the idea of what has grown today to be the internationally recognized Super 30. I give below the links to the Wikipedia articles on Super 30 and Anand Kumar
Wikipedia Article On Super 30
Read About Anand Kumar
I think it is a great initiative by a man who has himself faced so many obstacles and has lost many an opportunity. People like Anand Kumar are a very rare breed who have the heart and will to strive for those who do not get the opportunity and exposure to climb to the great heights they are capable of. May his tribe live long ! Long live Super 30 !