Kunal Kumar has become the second student from mathematician Anand Kumar's Super 30 programme to be selected to pursue higher education at Japan's University of Tokyo with a full scholarship.
Earlier this year, Super 30's Abhishek Gupta was selected for education in Tokyo after clearing the JEE-Mains. Son of a Gurgaon-based generator operator Dilip Gupta, Abhishek was selected to pursue an international programme on environmental sciences from the University of Tokyo as part of a four-year scholarship.
After clearing the joint entrance examination (JEE) in 2013, Kunal has just completed his second year in chemical engineering from IIT, Guwahati. Now, he will get an admission directly in the third year at the university.
"It is a dream comes true for Kunal. Till four years ago, he was struggling even for a proper education, even though he had high dreams. His father had no job and he gave home tuitions to eke out a living. Today, he is leaving IIT for an international university," said Kumar.
It was sheer luck that Kunal was directed to Super 30 by a friend and it changed his life.
"This proves what equal opportunity can do. The youth of the country has the talent to wonders. All they need is the opportunity, not sympathy," Kumar added.
Kunal, who will leave for Japan in September, is too on cloud nine and said that Anand Kumar has always shown him the way forward.
"It is a big opportunity. When I look back, it gives me great satisfaction to have come this far. I had talked to Anand Sir and he encouraged me to keep working hard and not forget my roots. For me, reaching Super 30 was the turning point," said Kunal.
Anand Kumar, who was invited by the University of Tokyo for an educational collaboration, was happy with the development.
"It is good that international institutions are now showing interest in Super 30 students. More students should avail this exposure as Japan is the technological hub," said Anand Kumar.
"I was quite amazed to see the infrastructure and facilities out there. Tokyo University's Yashino Haroshi has also come several times to Patna and discussed with me how more deserving students could benefit from the collaboration," he added.
He has also been to UK's University of Cambridge as well as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University in the US to deliver lectures last year.
Super 30 is an innovative educational programme which selects 30 students from extremely poor background and trains them for the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Students are provided free coaching, lodging and food throughout the programme.