The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Alumni unite for IIT local entry push
IIT Kharagpur: A dream destination receding in reality

Sad but true. The city’s representation at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is going down over the years. Calcutta’s share on the list of rank-holders has also dropped with time. Recognising the need to reclaim pole position, some IITians — with their roots in the city — have joined hands to set up a training institute for IIT aspirants.

“Lack of proper training facilities in the city is one of the factors behind this decline. Professors at IITs have also expressed their concern over the steady decline in the number of students from this part of the country,” says one of the promoters of Springboard Study Home.

Promoted by the illustrious IIT alumni — spread across the globe — the first session of the centre will kick off this July at Poddar Point, 113 Park Street, with the objective of helping students in cracking Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) 2005 for IIT, as also the West Bengal JEE.

“This will be a two-year programme and we will offer the students not only coaching but a top-class library, a great study environment and state-of-the-art educational software to enable them to learn the subject at his/her own pace,” he explained.

To offer the best guidance to the aspirants, the 14 promoters — mainly from IIT Kanpur and a couple from IIT Kharagpur — have invested over Rs 1 crore for the state-of-the-art centre and roped in fresh pass-outs from Kharagpur, who will take classes in physics, chemistry and mathematics. The first three months’ courseware — a combination of lessons in fundamentals and mock tests — is also ready.

“I must say that there was a felt need for such a centre in the city. It will do a world of good to the IIT aspirants,” said C.P. Singh, an IIT Kanpur alumnus, working with Hewlett Packard.

In the first year, 200 students will be admitted after an assessment, where the students’ aptitude will be put to the test. Though right now there is no plan to turn back any of the IIT aspirants, the institute has in principle decided to be honest about the prospect of students.

“We are not interested in making money alone. We want to run it professionally, and based on the assessment test results, if we see that a student doesn’t have any chance, we won’t mind telling him the truth,” he added.

Once admitted to Springboard, an IIT aspirant will have to devote 500 hours to classroom sessions, 200 hours to assessment and tests and 1,200 to 2,100 hours to the library, where mentors will be at hand to help students.

And it’s not just Calcutta. The promoters of the coaching centre with a difference are planning to branch out to other cities, too.

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