Since childhood, Chaitanya Potti, 17, had been groomed for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) by his parents, both teachers in English-medium schools in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
Now a first-year chemical engineering student at IIT-Bombay, Potti is one of many IIT freshers whose parents are teaching professionals.
This year, for the first time, about 40% of the students on the 15 IIT campuses in the country are children of teachers. This is in sharp contrast with previous years, when a majority of the students applying and qualifying for the IITs were children of government employees.
The number of government servants' children qualifying for the IITs has dipped from 4,044 in 2009 to 1,346 in 2011. In the same time period, the number of teaching professionals' children qualifying for the IITs has risen from 680 to 5,212.
"Being teachers, my parents kept track of education trends and several of their students went to the IITs. Thus we had an atmosphere of discipline and learning in our house," said Potti.
"This year there has been a significant rise in the number of students whose parents are teaching professionals. This is followed by students from agricultural backgrounds," said Sounak Choudhary, organising chairperson for the 2011 IIT Joint Entrance Exam.
"Reservations have made the IITs accessible to all," added Kamala Ganesh, a sociology professor at University of Mumbai. "Now, apart from the urban middle class, people from rural areas with agricultural backgrounds also aspire to IITs. Parents are willing to invest in coaching and children want to move to cities."