Patna: A daily wage labourer, a security guard, a grocer, a marginal farmer and a truck mechanic are among the proud fathers whose sons have cracked the highly-competitive IIT-JEE exam this year, thanks to Super 30, a free coaching centre for underprivileged students in Bihar.
This year, 27 of the 30 students from Bihar's Super 30 cracked the Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination.
Shailesh Kumar and Biswajit Behera are among the successful 27 students.
Biswajit Behera, whose father works as a security guard in Kolkata, said he had never dreamt of cracking the prestigious exam. "My father is a security guard in Kolkata. As I gave him the news, he was extremely happy, though he does not quite understand what it would mean," Bahera said adding his stay at the Super 30 hostel and the coaching by Anand Kumar and his team filled him with a lot of confidence.
Shailesh's father is a marginal farmer with less than two bigha land for agriculture, his main source of livelihood.
Behera was full of gratitude for Super 30. "If Super 30 had not provided me with facilities, it was beyond my reach to crack the IIT-JEE," he said.
"At Super 30, it is only education that matters. Even in the hostel, the peer group helps. We sit, eat and sleep together solving problems. When Anand Kumar teaches, it is like music. As most of the students are from poor background, they all put in all their effort, which leads to healthy competition," Shailesh said.
Ashish Ranjan, whose father is a truck mechanic, said his family and everyone in his village are in a celebratory mood. "As soon as I told my father about my success on the mobile, he was extremely happy. But he often said ITI, instead of IIT. He is a truck mechanic. He did not have enough money, but I read about Super 30 and came here to take the entrance test. Once I qualified and stayed at Super 30, I felt I could do it," Ashish said.
Sonu Kumar Rudra, son of a daily wage labourer, said his father and relatives were disbelieving at first when he told them he had cracked IIT-JEE. "I am lucky that I was selected by Super 30's Anand Kumar," Sonu said.
Sumit Kumar Gupta was on cloud nine after seeing his result. "I got to know of Super 30 through a newspaper. I came to Patna and took the test. Luckily I made it to Super 30 and that changed the course for me. Else, with the meagre income from my father's grocers' shop I would not have been able to continue my studies. At Super 30, there was no botheration, as I did not have to pay anything. Plus there was quality teaching," Sumit said.
Sumit recalled how two of his brothers could not continue their studies due to financial hardship. "I want to go for UPSC after my BTech. I have seen how Anand sir is making a difference to so many poor students, who don't even have proper schooling. His style of teaching is distinct. I also want to do something for the society," he added.
The institute selects talented students from poor families and provides them with free coaching, food and accommodation.
According to Anand, "Hard work, proper guidance and supervision are the secrets of our success."
Students from poor families have to pass a competitive test to get into Super 30 and then commit themselves to a year of 16 hours a day study routine. Coaching, food and accommodation are free for the students. Anand Kumar said the institute is supported by income generated from his Ramanujam School of Mathematics, which has students who can afford to pay fees.
In 2003, the first year of the institute, 18 students made it to the IITs. The number rose to 22 in 2004 and to 26 in 2005. In 2007 and 2006, 28 students made it through IIT-JEE. In 2008, for the first time all 30 students cracked the exam, as well as the following year.
The success story of Super 30 was telecast by the Discovery Channel two years ago.
Three years ago, 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.