In the wee hours of the morning when the tehsil office in Aligarh’s Koil isn’t full of people rushing for administrative work, a classroom comes alive. The meeting hall, now the classroom, immediately fills up with aspiring civil service students from distant districts in the region. A group of young officers take on their roles as teachers.
Inspired by Bihar’s Super 25 (where 25 poor meritorious students are given free coaching and lodging to help crack UPSC exams), these classes in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh were started in November last year and coach over 250 students.
For students who come from out of station, the government guesthouse has been transformed into a hostel. Local officials like the deputy collector, Additional District Magistrate (finance) and SDMs start taking classes early in the morning.
In an interview with the Times of India, Koil sub-divisional magistrate Pankaj Verma, the brainchild of the initiative, said, “The idea behind this initiative is to provide access for coaching to students from the weaker sections, as they cannot afford the fee in private coaching institutes.”
Emphasising the joy the work gives them, he said, “We do routine work every day, but these coaching classes give us satisfaction like no other work.”
“When I was studying, I faced a lot of problems and had no one to help me. We give them proper guidance here,” said Raj Kumar Gupta, a Naib Tehsildar (Assistant district officer) who teaches history to the students.
The criteria for selection stands out for this initiative. SDM Pankaj Verma explains, “We don’t look at the past academic results solely, as dedication and commitment is what is needed more for success in civil services exams.”
Post the written exams, the UP babus will start preparing students for interviews too.
One of their students, 23-year-old Ramesh Kumar Gautam from Bulandshahar, praised the initiative saying, “No private coaching centre has such a faculty with proven track record.”
Connect to Sub-divisional magistrate Pankaj Verma here.