Anand Kumar (born 1 January 1973) is an Indian mathematician and a columnist for various national and international mathematical journals and magazines. He is best known for his Super 30 programme, which he started in Patna, Bihar in 2002, and which coaches economically backward students for IIT-JEE, the entrance examination for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). By 2017, 396 out of the 450 had made it to the IITs and Discovery Channel showcased his work in a documentary. He has been invited by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University to speak on his globally acclaimed effort to mentor students from the underprivileged sections for admission to IIT
- Getting into the elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) is even harder than Harvard or Oxbridge: about 60 hopefuls apply for each place. And you can see why; it produces more millionaires than any other educational institution.
- But this film isn’t the story of IIT, it’s about the vision of two remarkable men who set up a school called the Ramanujan School of Mathematics in India’s poorest state, Bihar.
- The two men are Anand Kumar, a mathematician, and Abhayanand, a senior police officer. These unlikely visionaries share the belief that poverty, caste and religion should be no barrier to opportunity.
- Ten years ago Al Jazeera travelled to Bihar to follow the class of 2007, from the initial selection from over 3,000 hopefuls through to the moment when the chosen Super 30 got their final results which students would go on to IIT and the potential of a top-flight career in information technology.
- Now, 10 years on, we revisit the Super 30 series and return to Bihar to discover what has become of this innovative project and the successful students from the class of 2007.
- In the first episode, First Step on the Ladder, over 4,000 students converge on Patna for the first-round exam to select the shortlist of 200. The stakes are high and the students know there’s no second chance. Their entire future could be determined in the course of an afternoon.
Teaching career and Super 30
In 1992, Kumar began teaching mathematics He rented a classroom for Rs. 500 a month, and began his own institute, the Ramanujan School of Mathematics (RSM).Within the span of a year, his class grew from two students to thirty-six, and after three years there were almost 500 students enrolled. Then in early 2000, when a poor student came to him seeking to coach for IIT-JEE, who couldn’t afford the annual admission fee due to poverty, Kumar was motivated to start the Super 30 programme in 2002, for which he is now well-known.
Every May, since 2002, the Ramanujan School of Mathematics holds a competitive test to select 30 students for the Super 30 program. Many students appear at the test, and eventually, he takes thirty intelligent students from economically backward sections, tutors them, and provides study materials and lodging for a year. He prepares them for the Joint Entrance Examination for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). His mother, Jayanti Devi, cooks for the students, and his brother Pranav Kumar takes care of the management.