Scripting success: How four students from underprivileged backgrounds cracked IIT-JEE


By Abhishek Anand: In the rural district of Dumka in northeast Jharkhand, a government-run tech-driven accelerated learning program named Sampurna Shiksha Kavach has enabled four government school students to achieve remarkable success in the recently held IIT-JEE Mains exam.

The AI technology-driven programme identifies the learning gaps that have accumulated over the years. On identifying the gaps, students are provided instant teaching to accelerate their learning growth.

Due to limited resources, these students from low-income households were unable to prepare for their Class 12 Board exams, let alone the highly competitive university entrance tests.

“The programme has helped students crack one of the toughest exams in the country, and obtained ranks that were once unattainable,” said Ravi Shankar Shukla, District Commissioner, Dumka.

The four students from the villages of Dumka namely Anand Kumar, Ankit Kumar Ram, Priyanshu Jaiswal, and Shivam Anand were able to achieve the remarkable feat, overcoming challenges that students from low-income rural households face.

Following their success, they are now enrolled to train for the JEE Advanced exam.

The educational programme to empower rural students was launched by the Dumka district administration helmed by Ravi Shankar Shukla, DC and Karn Satyarthi, then DDC in partnership with NITI Aayog and ed-tech company Filo in September 2022, with a specific aim to build students’ interest in science education.

The tribal district has a shortage of subject-specific teachers including those for math, physics, chemistry and biology, which for long affected students’ preparedness for highly competitive university entrance exams. In one of his LinkedIn posts, Karn Satyarthi, DDC Dumka had earlier stated that the district had only one science teacher for every 200 students.

The government’s accelerated-learning-based programme has been a resounding success, according to recent data. It has brought about significant improvement in the learning outcomes of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds in the district by providing them equitable access to quality education.

As part of this programme, students were taught by subject experts to not just bridge learning gaps but to build on the foundation and be further driven to excel in the subject. The students who benefited from this programme also got unlimited access to teachers round the clock, even on Sundays.

“My dream is to become an IITian. I was able to learn from expert teachers, they instilled confidence in me. I thank the Dumka District Administration for arranging the classes and after-school learning support for enhancing my self-study,’’ said Ankit Kumar Ram, a student of +2 Government Zilla School, Dumka.

This program was designed with the intent to build students’ interest in science education. As their interest peaked, the students started harbouring career aspirations, which is reflected by the achievements of the four students who cleared IIT JEE Mains.

It’s only this year that Class 11 and 12 students from public schools in Dumka started to study to qualify for top engineering and medical institutions.

According to Shukla, the programme was designed to build equity in education. “We wanted to go beyond the existing asynchronous video-based learning solutions and thus initiated an interactive instant teaching model in our schools,” he said.

Imbesat Ahmad, CEO, Filo said, ‘’We emphasised accelerated learning that provides just-in-time support to students. This proven teaching methodology endorsed by the likes of Brown University and Harvard University is the right way to bridge learning gaps.’’

The success of these four students is now giving hope to over 2,000 students from 26 government schools in Dumka, Shukla said, adding that the program provides tools and resources needed to achieve admission in prestigious engineering or medical institutions of the country.

“We had the option to attend live one-on-one classes after school at any time of day, during which patient teachers would diligently guide me until I comprehended the material thoroughly. This enhanced the productivity of our self-study time,” said Shivam Anand, another student who was selected for IIT JEE.

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