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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Book Review: Super 30:Changing the World 30 Students at a Time

Getting into one of the elite Indian Institute of Technology engineering colleges is a dream that many youngsters & more importantly their parents chase as it is considered a passport to a bright & secure career. Aspiring candidates have to clear the Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE), the annual entrance examination to be among the privileged few to secure a seat. The current admission rate in 2017 is around 0.92% in IITs (about 11,000 out of 1,200,000 who applied for JEE Main). 90% of students who pass this exam attend coaching academies, which has created a $3.37 billion industry with annual tuitions of up to $1,700.
Super 30:Changing the World 30 Students at a Time, tells the extraordinary story of Anand Kumar, a maverick maths teacher, who is on a mission to select & place 30 of the most financial backward students in IIT each year.  In the 13 years since he started this special school in 2003 for the under-privileged, he has managed to place 333 of  the 390 students under his tutelage. This is a phenomenal achievement considering that the IIT entrance exam is one of toughest tests and Anand manages this marvelous feat of helping students saddled in poverty change their destiny by securing the coveted seats by training them all with his own financial resources.

In this sometimes sad but engrossing book of 230 pages, the biographer Dr Biju Mathew takes us through the many ups & downs that the humble and intellectually gifted Bihar-born Anand had to go through. Anand's dream of getting into Cambridge University to pursue his passion for Mathematics was crushed as he had no money. To support his close-knit family after his father passed away, he started Ramanujan School of Mathematics to tutor students and sold papads to supplement the income. Rather than feeling dejected at his misery and emboldened by the belief that a man without money has only one way to escape his misfortune - with education, he set out to change the world in his own way.

When he shared his plan of picking 30 students & preparing them for IIT Joint Entrance Exam with his own resources with his mother and brother Pranav, his mother exclaimed at his audacity - "You think you're Superman!"

That's how they came up with the name for their noble initiative "Super 30". Anand convinced his supportive mother and brother they would not just train 30 poor students but also take care of their needs including accommodation in Patna.  He wanted the students to not think about money but instead stay focused on their goal. His mother cooked for all 30 students, his brother took charge of administrative activities while Anand handled the coursework.

The expenses for Super 30 are still covered by proceeds from Ramanujan School of Mathematics & Anand neither solicits nor accepts donations. He selects 30 students each year not based on caste but financial backwardness. He wants to show that money is not the only factor that determines a person's worth in society and show the power of education!

The narrative is written in simple English and sprinkled with Hindi words like mohalla, pitaji, mahaan. There need to be more books like these on India's heroes.

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