Super 30 – The Road To The IITs

Welcome to the second contribution from our remarkable guest editor Utkarsh Joshi. In this interesting article he talks about the selfless commitment of one man who has made it his life’s mission to identify and nurture talent that has the potential but not the financial means to make it to the IITs. This is the story of Anand Kumar and his Super 30. 

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It takes a lot of resolve and hard work to come out of difficult situations and succeed in life. It takes even more to share one’s success with others like oneself and help them also succeed.

Anand Kumar has been there and done that.

super-30Based out of Patna, Anand Kumar lost his father at a young age and his family faced many financial hardships early on. There was a time when the entire family was dependent on his mother’s earnings. At a point in time he even delivered home made papad’s made by his mother, to shops and homes on his bicycle. However, gifted with superb mathematical skills, he was encouraged by friends and family to pursue his dream of higher studies abroad. In 1992, he founded the Ramanujam School of Mathematics as a club where anyone could join free of any cost and attend training camps.

In 1994, he secured an admission in Cambridge and Sheffield universities but his financial health did not allow him to pursue his dreams. However he did not let that deter him. He converted his club into a coaching institute providing coaching for various competitive examinations. At the same time, he decided that what happened to him should not happen to others. Financial health should not come in the way of talent being recognized and nurtured.

This led to the creation of the Super 30 initiative.

This initiative provides free coaching, boarding and lodging to 30 talented students from financially weak backgrounds. These students are handpicked by Anand and his team and trained for the IIT JEE entrance exam. This initiative is funded by the money he earns from his coaching institute where he teaches up to 500 students in a single batch, thrice a week for two and a half hours each. He teaches upto 4 such batches at a time and charges these students a very reasonable 4000 rupees for the 11-month course. This money is channeled into the Super 30 initiative. The results for the Super 30 initiative have been extremely encouraging.

Founded in 2003, 18 students made it to the IIT’s in the founding year. The number rose to 22 in 2004 to 26 in 2005 to 28 in 2006 and 2007 and up to 30 in 2008 and 2009. Yes that’s correct! In the last two years, the super 30 boasts of a cent percent record with 30 out of 30 students coming through.

Today Anand Kumar has come a long way. His dream of going abroad has been fulfilled and he has been a speaker at Atlanta, where he addressed an annual conference organized by the American Mathematics Society and the Mathematics Association of America. He also has made contributions to The Mathematical Gazette and the Mathematics Spectrum, both reputed journals published from the UK, and Parabola, published in Australia. But he derives most satisfaction from the fact that he has helped talented students from the lower strata of society to fulfill their dreams. With future plans of spotting and nurturing talent in young students, he now intends to set up schools for the financially weak segment of society and leverage a similar business model. So that talent does not fade away for want of finances, and education does not remain the privilege of the financially stable only.

Visit the Super 30 website to read more about the wonderful initiative.

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

Read other articles by Utkarsh Joshi here.

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