Till a few years ago, when 17-year-old Mayank saw his father, who is a farmer, toil in the fields in the scorching heat, he hoped to change his family’s fortune one day. After cracking the JEE Mains this year, he is now one step away from fulfilling his dream.
Despite coming from a poor background, Mayank is the first to get formal education in several generations of his family. Youngest among his four siblings, the Sultanpur lad scored 136 marks in JEE Mains this year. Confident of cracking the JEE Advanced as well he said, “I have worked very hard for the last two years. The onus of changing my family’s fortune is on me.”
Mayank is not the only student from a financially poor background to get this opportunity. Forty-seven out of the 58 students studying at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), Pipersand, have qualified the JEE Mains and are hopeful of cracking the advanced stage as well.
Set up for rural children, JNVs are co-educational residential schools fully financed and administered by the government of India through an autonomous organisation, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti. “These students who mostly come from rural humble background have proved that facilities alone do not matter. It is the perseverance that counts,” said principal JC Gupta.
JNV Lucknow has a good track record of students cracking the prestigious exam. In 2014, 47 out of the 50 students cracked JEE Mains while 34 cleared JEE Advanced. However, in 2015 only eight students cracked the exam. This year, all eyes are on school’s topper in JEE Mains Amit Yadav who scored a total of 210 marks with 74 in mathematics.
Amardeep Saini, who scored 189 marks in the exam, also wants to crack the advanced stage to change the fortune of his family. Saini has three sisters and two brothers and his father is the sole earning member in the family.
“We are hopeful that all the 47 students who will appear in JEE Advanced on May 22 will do well. Amit is very bright and we are confident that he will make it to one of the IITs in the country, said vice-principal of JNV Neeta Upadhyay.
The Dakshina foundation has also played an instrumental role in theses students’ success. It signed an MoU with Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti according to which specialised teachers prepare students for the JEE Mains and Advanced. One of the teachers, Mohammad Ashfaq, said that these students were extremely bright. “With a little guidance they will outshine in the exams ,” he said.
For most students, JNV is like a home away from home where senior students not only guide their juniors in academics but also look after them like their family. Stanzin Angmo of Class 11 says, “We feel so proud of our seniors who cracked the exam. They have always been there to guide us.”