From a Cattle-grazer to an IIT student!

Update: This post has been selected as one of "Spicy Saturday Picks" for 6th June 2009 by BlogAdda.

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Up until yesterday, if one asked me what it takes for anyone to get into an IIT, I'd probably say

  • Coaching from one of the top institutes (BASE, Brilliant etc)

  • Money to even enrol in these coaching institutes (they don't come cheap do they?)

  • And of course, the indispensable trio of talent, hard work and determination.


But that was yesterday. If one asks me the same question today, I'l probably mention only and only the last point. For, a Government Junior College in Hyderabad has busted the myth regarding the first two points.


The students at the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Junior College are from the extremely poor sections of society. They are children of daily wage workers, and many of these students have spent their childhood grazing cattle or toiling away in farmlands. The college itself runs in a small 5-room building and boasts of little to no infrastructure or facilities. And what is so special about this college?


Of the 35 students who are passing out from the college this year, 19 secured top IIT ranks. 7 of them are actually headed for IITs and the others have secured admission in reputed institutes like Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (of which Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is the chancellor).


This college is a model – of how “getting things done” is far more important than “patting one's own back”. I am sure any private institute would have used such an achievement as an excuse to waste newsprint by the kiloton, and shout from the top of their voices in an attempt to assert themselves as the “best coaching institute in the country”. And the private institutes would not have stopped there for sure – they would also have used this as an opportunity to hike their fees. And to think that the principal of this particular college gave all credit to students! As the news article puts it:


A beaming principal E Lakshmaiah modestly attributes the success more to the hard work and determination of the students than the alma mater. “The facilities are bare minimum here. But despite that, our students succeeded in the highly competitive nations-wide tests,” he said.


I feel the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Junior College deserves all the credit it is getting – so do the students who study there. In an era where education is fast turning into a lucrative business rather than an essential service; and when seats at professional courses are sold, exhorted or auctioned; this particular college is standing out from the crowd and doing a real service to the nation. Hats off to them.


Looking forward to an India where decent professional education is inclusive of the economically weaker sections of society. JAI HIND.


5 comments to From a Cattle-grazer to an IIT student!

  • Effort,determination,sincere applicationof mind.Days have gone when it used to be the m onopoly of the rich...not any more.Now ,even those who live without electricity,study under oil lamps make it big in life.My best wishes to the youngman

  • Thank you for sharing this, Kiran. Stories like this reinforce one's belief in the fact that success cannot be attained just by using a premixed 'formula'.

  • @BK Chowla: Yes - I now remember a few years back, the boy who topped the SSLC board in Maharashtra had studied under street-lamps since he dint even have electricity in his house! Good news for the future indeed.

    @Sumit: Absolutely! These stories also increase one's optimism and motivation.

  • True, true. The introduction of new IITs would help give quality Engineering education to more & more students in India.

    And hopefully the day isn't far when IIT will represent a larger cross-section of India than just the rich middle class who dole out lakhs into coaching centers so that their progeny get into IITs.

  • I fully support the idea of the growing obscurity of coaching institutes, to a large extent due to the nature of questions/pattern in the IITJEE in the recent years.
    I too have entered IIT Kharagpur without coaching though all of them were affordable for me and quite comfortably so.
    Indeed there is no more the need for hours upon hours of rigorous coaching or doling out lakhs to the IIT Joint-Entrance-Enterprises.
    All that they do is boost your AIR beyond your natural ability.

    @Mainak
    Well you might surely harbour a different feeling but as an IITian(Kharagpur) I feel the focus would shift from the IIT brand to the IIT-? brand in the near future.
    Quality of education is not as big a factor as is the quality of students and size and variety of curriculum.
    And probably the most important one being the confidence imparted by standing out at the national (even international) level.
    Just look at the guys entering through reservations.
    Incapable of covering even half the curriculum sufficiently well.
    New IITs might increase the opportunities in terms of quantity, but what about the quality of output?
    Surely then the curriculum(currently incomparable with other Indian institutes) would be downsized and constricted.

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