15 years of Super 30 break several myths

Anand Kumar’s Super30 accepts no help from anyone, coaches the poor and the bright, those who studied in government schools and cleared the Bihar Board Exam to crack the IIT admission test

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

NH Web Desk

Every year the scene repeats itself. Teary eyed parents, jubilant students and the ‘Master’ hugged and often flung into the air for the benefit of cameras. On Sunday in Patna, it was no different as result of IIT-Advance admission test came out. All the 30 students coached under the Super30 scheme passed the IIT JEE (advanced) examination. The unique scheme was initiated 15 years ago in 2002 by Anand Kumar.

But for Anand Kumar, it is doubtful how many of them would have cracked what is arguably the toughest admission test in India. Undoubtedly bright, all the 30 boys (since the condition is that they live and study together, taking the added responsibility for the girls’ safety may have deterred the innovators from taking them in) took a test last year in July-August on the basis of which they were selected.

Only the poor and the bright, those who cannot afford to pay for coaching at Kota or even nearer home are the ones who flock to take the ‘Super30 test’. Several thousand students from Bihar take the test every year but only 30 make the grade.

Once they are selected, Ramanujan School of Mathematics Trust takes care of their board and lodging, food, clothes, books and medicine. In addition to providing an opportunity to the 30 bright boys to study together and help each other, they get the advantage of being guided by Anand Kumar, who has an uncanny ability to solve and communicate the methodology of cracking the most complex of mathematical problems.

The boys help each other. One of the successful boys had once explained that a unique feature of Kumar’s coaching is to demonstrate to the students how the same question can be asked in different ways and how they are also solved with different steps and methods. “As a result, we remain unfazed even when the questions look tricky…Anand Sir manages to instil the confidence that all questions can be cracked,” he had added.

As many as 396 students so far have had the benefit of free coaching under the Super30 scheme of Anand Kumar and get admission in various Indian Institutes of Technology. Many of the remaining 54 students have secured admission in the Indian Statistical Institute, yet another premier institution which admits the brightest of the youngsters and where the admission is equally tough.

This year, the father of one of the students who cracked the examination is a Yoga teacher while another is a daily wage labourer; father of another student happens to be a landless farmer while one makes a living by selling eggs. Sons of autorickshaw drivers, vendors selling socks on the footpath, of nurses in primary health centres have been among those who have been mentored by this innovative and charitable scheme.

What is also remarkable is that the Trust accepts no monetary help from anyone, not even the government. The expenses are all borne by the proceeds of evening classes that Anand Kumar engages for Intermediate students. He charges a fee but it is lower than most other coaching institutes.

Even more remarkably, virtually all the students who pass through Super30 have studied in government schools and took the Bihar School Examination Board’s exam to finish schooling.

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