ROLE OF IITs IN SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
Patawa toli a small village in Gaya has a unique distinction to its name. It has sent more than 70 people to various IITs since 1980. In 2002 as many as seven students from this village were selected in IITJEE. At present some of the people of this toli have their children playing a leading role in some of the best MNCs in the world across the globe. In a recently held seminar at San Jones, United Sates to commemorate the 50 years of IIT system Bill Gates said “The IITs…..are incredible institutions that have changed the world.” This is really true. When people from Patwa toli can make it to that seminar why can’t we.
Can’t we repeat this in rest of Bihar! We will have to give this a wise thought given that our state being one of the most backward in the country in terms of most of the indices of development. The opportunities for our children are really very few. The only avenue left before them is related to academics. This is the only reason why we see a large number of Biharis securing best ranks in some of the toughest competitive examinations of the country. This is so obvious that people are envious of this achievement of ours.
Educated men and women can bring out the transformation in society. If we can send sizeable number of our students to good educational institutions in the country, the day is not far when we would be having a developed state. They not only repay back in monetary terms but also serve as a source of never ending motivation and inspiration for us. This is exactly that has happened in Patawa toli.
It is small village with a population of not more than 2,500, inhabited predominantly by weavers having little formal education and is also economically backward. They don’t have resources to send their children to some of the good schools in the neighboring town. The continuous humming of the power looms are constant source of disturbance for the students there. Yet the inspiration and motivation provided by their seniors (IITians) and a strong desire to do something big have empowered them to do wonders for their family, their village and the nation.
The number of aspirants in rest of state is very large but the successful ones are dismally low. This number is so poor that it acts as a deterrent for rest to even think that we can be successful. To put some numbers approximately 20,000 people appear in IITJEE from Bihar and the students who finally make it into IITs are even less than 150. The success rate a mere 0.75 % as compared to the national average of 2.5 %. Is it not alarming? Don’t we occasionally hear of multitude of disheartened students after failure resorting severe life threatening steps?
A ray of hope can be provided if IITians can come back to their home state occasionally and provide some guidance to the aspirants. At least aspirants would get the fresh flow of energy which would do away with all forms of frustrations and prepare them for the fresh restart. If this can be materialized I am sure we would be doing something really fruitful for our state.
We had carried out an experiment in this direction last year. We had conducted a nine day workshop aimed at guiding and motivating students. It was completely the IITians enterprise. Some of the top rankers like AIR -3 , AIR – 4 ( IITJEE 2002 ) and others from Patna itself like Sabyasachi Roy( AIR – 23) and Abhinav Vikram(AIR -31) were the key attraction at this workshop. They along with many other IITians from Patna were involved for the cause. Approximately 500 students benefited from this. The interesting fact is that there was a sharp improvement in their confidence level for IITJEE. On a scale of 1-10, 99% of them had shown a increase in confidence level by more than 7 units. This was a drastic change we were able achieve, to be frank unknowingly. This was evident from the feedback form which the students were asked to fill after the workshop.
The results were equally interesting. Out of those who attended the workshop 300 appeared in IITJEE in 2003. Out of them 8 of them joined IIT Kanpur. We don’t have data about other IITs, but I am confident the real numbers would be really interesting.
Enthused by the last year results, the respect and love we received from the aspirants we have once again decided to organize the workshop this year from 21st to 25th December at IMA Hall. Based on the feedback of last year we have improved our program contents and made it more robust. Aspirants would get opportunity to interact with more than 50 IITians. I am sure we would be able to make a difference.