Ritesh Kumar, Akhilesh Kumar, Santosh Kumar and Nagendra Ram have cracked the highly competitive Indian Institute of Technology - Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) this year. They have more than just this academic achievement in common, however. They all come from poor economic backgrounds and are four of the 30 successful students who trained at Super 30.
This is the second consecutive year that Super 30, a unique training initiative in Bihar, has achieved a 100-per cent result at the IIT-JEE (the results of which declared on May 25).
Every year, Super 30 selects a group of 30 IIT aspirants from poor families, often from marginalised sections, and provides them with free coaching, food and accommodation. "This year most of the students finally selected for IITs belong to the Dalit community, backward castes, minority and rural backgrounds," says Kumar.
"Like last year, we achieved 100-per cent success. Our dreams have been fulfilled today once again. We are really happy and celebrating the results," Anand Kumar, director of Super 30, told rediff.com.
"This success inspires and encourages us to make a bigger impact in coming years," he added.
"I am from a poor background, my father is a teacher in a school but has not received his salary for the last two years. My family is struggling hard to back me. Thanks to Super 30, I have cracked the IIT-JEE," says Akhilesh.
Ritesh, another successful student of Super 30, said that his father owns 1 bigha of agricultural land in Naxalite-affected Jehanabad district. "My father never thought that his son would make it through the IIT-JEE, it was made possible by Super 30."
Nagendra, who comes from a poor Dalit family, said that it was a big day in his life. "Now my family members can raise their heads in village," he says.
Anand, the co-founder of Super 30, credits the success of the initiative to hard work and proper guidance. The initiative took shape six years ago when Anand, a mathematician in his late 30s, and Abhayanand, 56, an IPS officer who love to teach physics, founded it as an experment.
In its first year, 18 of its students cracked the exam. The number rose to 22 in 2004 and 26 in 2005 and has been steadily increasing over the years. In 2006, 28 students made it to IIT colleges. In 2007, 28 students made it through the JEE and two others were selected for preparatory.
But from where do the funds needed to support this venture come? Anand, who also runs the Ramanujan School of Mathematics, says Super 30 is supported by the income generated from the school, which has students from affluent families who can afford to pay to fulfil their dreams.