When Dipesh Ranveer from Purna Taluka in Parbhani district, Maharashtra, tried the Joint Engineering Examination (JEE) in April 2019 for the primary time, he struggled to grasp a number of questions. This was not due to his incapability to grasp science, however a results of his poor English comprehension expertise.
“When I first heard about the free online classes organised by the Path Pradarshak Foundation to prepare students for competitive exams like JEE, I signed up for it. Despite clearing the entrance exam to get into their classes, my self-confidence was very low. I had attempted the exam once after school, but couldn’t clear it,” says Dipesh, the son of a village faculty trainer and a housewife. To put together for the JEE examination, Dipesh took the 2019/2020 tutorial 12 months off finding out in his village.
“Dipesh couldn’t even comprehend a single English sentence and possessed an incredible inferiority complex about himself. Apart from conceptual understanding, a lot of these competitive exams require more than a working knowledge of English comprehension. He really struggled with the language. Nobody believed in him, but with determination and focus he cleared JEE and got into NIT-Raipur. He’s the first one from his village to get into an NIT,” says Robin Mandal, an IIT-Bombay alumni and co-founder of Path Pradarshak.
Coordinating with an area trainer, who owned a smartphone, Dipesh started attending these free on-line lessons carried out over a YouTube channel known as Grow Bharat, which has over 46,000 subscribers.
“I couldn’t understand the questions very well when my preparations began because my English language skills were weak. When I reached out to Robin sir, he suggested that I work on questions that I understood first and then attempt to solve those that I didn’t understand. Through a long process of trial and error, I began understanding the nature of these questions, what they meant and answering them became a lot easier over time. With hours of practice and immense motivation from my teachers at Path Pradarshak, I began understanding these questions a lot better,” recollects Dipesh.
Free on-line lessons for the much less privileged
Thanks to the paucity of high quality universities in India, cracking exams like JEE, NEET (for medical faculty) and different such aggressive exams to get into the most effective establishments of upper studying turns into crucial for a lot of seeking to climb up the socio-economic ladder.
Informally based in 2019 by Sumit Sharma, Robin Mandal, Dr. Avanish Dwivedi, an IIT-Bombay graduate and Saurabh Santosh, an alumni of IIT Jodhpur, the Path Pradarshak Foundation is a registered non-profit that has been conducting free on-line lessons for the much less privileged.
These on-line lessons put together and mentor college students ending highschool, who want to crack aggressive exams and get admission into establishments like IIT, NIT, Indian Institute of Science, the highest medical faculties and even the National Defence Academy.
All 4 co-founders of Path Pradarshak Foundation have seen these aggressive exams up shut and private, whether or not as college students themselves or as academics within the teaching lessons circuit in cities like Mumbai. They educate in numerous teaching institutes, making ready college students for these aggressive exams throughout Mumbai.
In their time away from these teaching institutes, they conduct free on-line lessons for one batch within the morning (often from 8 am to 9.30 am) and one other within the night (5 pm to six.30 pm). In the morning batch there are about 80 college students, whereas the night one has 100 college students.
After the reside lessons, they preserve in common contact with their college students from completely different corners of the nation, together with the Northeast, by their widespread Telegram channel and name them personally to watch their progress.
“Our journey began with a YouTube channel called Grow Bharat founded in June 2016. We started this channel as a way to teach students who couldn’t afford coaching classes. From thereon, Sumit Sir and I started delivering free online classes to students who needed them. Over time, when the entire team came together, we decided to formally give our organisation a name and zeroed in on Path Pradarshak,” recollects Robin.
“We are teachers who oversee the preparation of core subjects in these competitive exams. While I teach students inorganic chemistry, Dr Avanish looks at organic chemistry. Robin teaches physics and oversees the administration of the foundation, while Saurabh specialises in mathematics. All four of us came together formally in 2019, although we’ve known each other since 2015. While running this non-profit endeavour, we also work in different coaching institutes as well,” notes Sumit Sharma.
In the previous two years, the inspiration has claimed to have helped over 120 college students receive admission into IITs, IISc, NITs and different elite establishments.
Inspiration and Challenges
It was throughout their stint collectively at Super 30, a programme instructing meritorious underprivileged college students without cost at their non-profit teaching centre yearly, once they got here to grasp how college students from such backgrounds might be helped. Of the 4 co-founders, three of them proceed to show within the Super 30 programme.
“About two to three years back, some of my students who couldn’t even frame a sentence in English, were getting into IIT-Delhi and IIT-Madras. When those things started to happen, that’s when we thought our vision could be realised. Formally all four of us got together to take these free classes in 2019. However, we didn’t think to register ourselves as a non-profit until the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020,” says Robin.
Despite their current endeavours, the challenges of instructing these free lessons on-line may be very actual, notably on the query of knowledge consumption. There are events when college students on the group can’t see the video as a result of the web bandwidth is just too low.
How do they tackle this drawback?
“Like we used to do with Super 30 students, we sometimes give them a Jio subscription worth Rs 1,000 for 3GB per day. You require at least 2 to 3 GB per day of data if you are totally dependent on online classes. To ensure more students from underprivileged backgrounds have better access to our lectures, merely sending recorded lectures isn’t enough. Just giving them a Tablet or a 3GB Jio subscription is not enough either. We need to create a better learning ecosystem where the child resides, giving them tech support, working closely with their parents and getting the sarpanch of a village involved, who can facilitate the creation of a common learning centre where he resides,” notes Robin.
“Once our students join our Telegram Channel and subscribe to our YouTube channel, they have our personal contact number. We organise regular calls with these students to check on them and find out how far they are progressing in class. If we find these students to be sincere, earnest and are seen asking regular questions on relevant subjects, we provide them with a phone or a data plan, particularly for students living in remote corners of this country. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to really scale up these initiatives. So far, we have provided data subscriptions for 21 students from rural Maharashtra, and send them regular test papers to monitor their progress,” says Sumit.
These college students largely attend their lessons on smartphones. But Robin argues that this technique poses a significant problem.
“The Tablet is not costly, but it provides a bigger screen, and we need to get more of this equipment out to our students to improve their learning experience. Usually, these students can’t afford high volumes of data or they have to rely on their elder sibling or parent. Usually, the household has one functional smartphone, and they manage it on them. Since data is an issue, we hold classes in the mornings and evenings. Even if you have the lowest valued data pack, it gets exhausted by midnight. The morning batch classes are usually the ones dedicated to those struggling with accessing data. We want to ensure they have enough to attend our classes. Meanwhile, the data pack for the day gets exhausted by the evening, and only recharges at 12 am or 1 am and that’s why sometimes we have our second batch of classes from 1 am onwards,” he goes on to argue.
(*120*) mentioned that, what stands out about these college students is their utmost need to get into these establishments. “It’s what takes them over the line,” says Sumit.
Last 12 months, the Path Pradarshak Foundation was approached by all 5 Rashtriya Military Schools (RMS). The RMS was established within the Nineteen Fifties to teach and look after the sons of defence personnel.
“We already had a ready-made setup and Sumit Sharma Sir is an alumni of RMS Jaipur. We got this opportunity through their principal. That was our first official project, teaching RMS students science and mathematics for the entire year starting July 2020. Online classes on Google Meets started and classes are still ongoing. We are teaching all the RMS students online so that we can fulfill their needs instead of getting fat on their money. Our goal is to provide free education to all government school students of India,” says Robin.
Meanwhile, in addition they purpose to increase additional and assist extra college students from much less privileged backgrounds get into India’s greatest establishments and assist stage the taking part in area a bit of.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)