Patna, June 2: The experiment, known as “Super 30”, has been written about by The New York Times and filmed by a Japanese TV channel, among others.
But the labour of love of an unusually gifted mathematician, Anand Kumar, and Abhayanand, an IPS officer but a physics teacher at heart and currently the additional director-general of police, was formally abandoned today.
Ramanujan School of Mathematics, a trust, selected every year 30 bright but poor students and offered them free boarding, lodging and coaching for the IIT joint entrance examination, often described as the toughest college admission test in the world.
This year, too, 2.47 lakh aspirants had appeared to compete for 5,237 seats.
Super 30 had turned out to be an outstanding success with as many as 122 out of the 150 teenagers, chosen in the past five years, making it to the prestigious Indian Institute(s) of Technology.
What made their achievement even more remarkable is the fact that most of them came from modest homes and so-called backward castes.
Children of tailors, auto-rickshaw drivers, vegetable vendors, nurses and primary schoolteachers, they could not afford the exorbitant fees charged by most coaching institutes and tutors. The “freeship” offered them hope and more.
In an emotional outburst on Saturday evening, however, Kumar and Abhayanand announced the closure of the scheme.
They were upset over competing coaching institutes hijacking three of their successful students and introducing them as their own to the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, who felicitated the students here today.
For the second successive year in 2007, 28 of the 30 youngsters trained by the duo, cracked IIT-JEE.
But at an emotional meet with the media on Saturday evening, Kumar and Abhayanand declared that they felt frustrated at “bogus” coaching centres “buying off” and poaching on their students to advertise their own institutes.
Intense competition among coaching institutes, which charge exorbitant fees from students hungry for success, has led many of them to offer payments to successful IIT entrants for endorsing the coaching centres.
The distraught mathematician today said: “We have failed in our mission.” The IPS officer declared: “Today, I have lost faith in humanity.”
“Several successful students today went to meet the chief minister. Three of Super 30 students were introduced to him as students from other coaching institutes,” they asserted but declined to either name the students or the coaching institutes. Although the three boys regretted their action and have apologised, Kumar insisted that “the damage has been done”.
“Super 30 is closed for ever. We are poor and have no wherewithal to check criminals poaching our students,” said Kumar.