Bhatt Hembram, Kshirodini Sahoo, Nivedita Panda, Satyajit Sahoo, Subhendu Parida, Parveen, Sahil, Kajal, Vijay Makwana have one thing in common- they all come from deprived backgrounds and have passed NEET and JEE with flying colours. Despite the lack of resource, access to digital education and financial difficulties they were able to crack the most crucial entrance exams.
These students, who are first-generation learners born to parents working as farmers, daily wage labourers, taxi and auto drivers, vegetable and roadside vendors, betel shop owners, among others. Thanks to the initiatives by a few NGOs and government-funded organisations, these meritorious students from economically weaker section (EWS) made it to the top institutions including IITs, NITs and medical colleges.
Confidence building“Keeping the underprivileged students motivated and confident is the biggest challenge for us. Most of them feel unsure about their abilities. Despite having the subject knowledge, most of them fail to gather the courage to respond confidently,” says Super 30 fame mathematician Anand Kumar, who begins the teaching by giving pep talk and making the students watch motivational videos to help them realise how getting best education has nothing to do with one’s economic status.
Ajay Bahadur Singh, who runs Zindagi Foundation in Bhubaneswar gives more importance to build confidence. “Initially, the challenge is to make them realize that they are at par with their urban counterparts. It takes us a few months to make them confident. The COVID-19 has added an insult to the injuries of these students grappling with limited resources,” says Singh. He adds that arranging fees for higher education is another area where we have to help them.
“The pandemic and ensuing lockdown derailed the teaching-learning for those who cannot digital infrastructure, seamless internet connectivity. During the lockdown some of them lost their hopes and were unsure of clearing the exam,” Singh adds.
“Being the first-generation learners, these students are dependent on us for any kind of support, assistance and doubt clearing,” says Singh. Access to quality education for everyone is the only way to eradicate poverty and calls for similar initiatives everywhere in the country.
Naveen Mishra, president, Vikalpa Foundation based in Haryana’s Rewari district call these initiative as the need of the hour. “We need more of these social initiatives to help those who cannot afford expensive coaching to prepare for medical and engineering examinations,” says Mishra, who too was supported by his teacher while studying at IIT Delhi, in 2002-2006.
“I secured admission in IIT but meeting the expenses was a difficult for my family. Thanks to my teachers who offered me monetary help while studying at IIT Delhi,” says Mishra, who now helps government school students in Haryana, to prepare them for exam under the Super 100 programme supported by the state government.
Candidates shortlisted under the Super-100 programme, get free lodging and food from the Haryana government and the teaching and training part is offered by Vikalpa Foundation.
As many as 23 out of the 37 students of the ‘Super-100 programme’ have cracked the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced, held for admission to engineering colleges across the country.
“Going to a paid preparatory class for the competitive examinations was beyond their imagination. Some EWS students had the potential, all they needed was little exposure and motivation to create history,” adds Mishra, who terms this kind of educational initiative as social entrepreneurship.
Source From : Times Of India