A bunch of dedicated, zealous IITians have set out to coach and empower poor talented Kashmiri students to get into prestigious educational institutions
By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net
Srinagar: Like any other Kashmiri student with non-medical stream in Senior Secondary, Faizan Sofi was also planning to appear for state level common entrance test (JKCET) for admission in state sponsored engineering colleges.
But timely molding and coaching by faculty at RISE Institute took his flight to new heights as he secured Computer Science Engineering berth at the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) beside securing 1st position in class 12 state board examination.
“Studying at RISE was an exceptional and an invigorating experience for me, the reasons being many. Firstly, the faculty at RISE is the best in the business. It is more than motivated to bring out the best from their students,” says an upbeat Sofi, who is currently pursuing Computer Science Engineering from BITS Pilani.
Sofi is not the only example. Since RISE’s inception, some three dozen students have made their way to different National Institute of Technology (NITs), Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) besides cracking several state level exams. This year, 10 students qualified for JEE Advance stage.
Ansab Jan had never thought of making it to NIT, Srinagar. But thanks to the coaching and guidance at RISE, Ansab got Mechinal Engineering seat in NIT Srinagar besides doing extremely well in JEE. He scored 96.2% in class 12.
“I joined RISE a few months before taking my JEE and it really helped me prepare well. The classes have limited students and the teachers try to be available round the clock,” says Ansab.
RISE, an institute for coaching students for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) in the troubled valley has brought hopes among the students community that they can make it to the prestigious institutions and look beyond traditional mode of education. With three IITians from three different parts of India as faculty at RISE, the coaching centre has become a hub of IIT coaching in Kashmir.
Three years since its inception, RISE has proven its mark by getting 36 of its students selected into NIT and some into BITS.
Imbesat Ahmad, an IIT Kharagpur post graduate in Physics, was inclined to improving the education scenario in the country ever since his early days at Kharagpur. Imbesat himself was coached in prestigious IIT coaching programme run by Rehmani 30. He has been actively involved in raising awareness about competitive examinations across India and was invited, and had subsequently mentored and taught IIT-JEE aspirants at the acclaimed Super 30, Patna. He has conducted numerous seminars/events at various schools in Kashmir valley to spread awareness about IITs (JEE) since 2012.
As a part of ‘IITians for Youth’ initiative, Imbesat landed for the first time in Kashmir in 2012 summer with a team of IITians to counsel Kashmiri students in career oriented engineering programmes. The team counseled hundreds of students in Kashmir Polytechnic College (KGP) and in some schools of Shopian district. The interaction with Kashmiri students in such a short span of time made Imbesat convinced about the prevailing condition of education in valley, which as Imbesat says, “was a sack of grievances”, which made him make his mind to return to Kashmir very next year.
“Those 10 days left a very deep impact on my mind and made me realise that looking into the sack of grievances, we need more time to teach students here in Kashmir,” says Imbesat.
The RISE team
During 2013 summer vacations at IIT Kharagpur, along with two of his batch mates – Sauood Nazir from Kashmir and Saif Khan from Patna – Imbesat started a two month IIT coaching programme for Kashmiri students free of cost. The classes were held at Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. It was during this time when Imbesat made his mind to permanently take up teaching as a profession and to begin his innings from Kashmir.
It was during the same time that he came in contact with Mubeen Masudi, an IIT Bombay graduate who was the founder of the already running IIT coaching centre in Srinagar, RISE. In the same year, Mubeen asked Imbesat to join the RISE Institute, which Imbesat readily agreed and joined this year after he completed his PG from IIT Kharagpur.
Mubeen had left a lustrous career in India and abroad and came back to Kashmir so as to improve the quality of education being imparted the students. He is also keen to improve the ratio of Kashmiri students getting into the IITs and NITs and other premier Indian institutes in the field of engineering, business and medical. Mubeen further went on to clear CAT and got admission in IIM Ahmadabad but the keen zeal to improve the education sector in Kashmir made him to set aside all his own goals.
In October 2012, he opened the institute to impart IIT coaching and guidance to the Kashmiri students at a very meagre amount. The coaching is free for poor students. The Institute was named as RISE.
Salman Shahid, another team member of RISE, is from Okhla, Delhi. He graduated this year from IIT Kharagpur as a Chemical Engineer and straight away brought tickets to Kashmir to be part of this noble initiative. “We were inclined to teaching the students from our early IIT days. We used to have discussions with our friends in IIT kharagpur how can we improve the quality of education being imparted to the students in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, where the education sector has been drastically affected due to unending conflict since last three decades,” says Shahid.
The tried and tested method
Since then, RISE has coached around 150-odd students in various short-term and long-term courses as awareness about IITs is increasing gradually in Kashmir and more students are enrolling with each passing day. RISE enrolls 30-30 students in two batches. One batch is for class 10 pass out students and one for class 12 pass outs. Entrance is pre-requisite for entry to the Institute.
Emphasis is on selecting the right set of students and providing them with coaching and personalised mentoring to help them meet their goals is the basic premise for RISE which has a two-tier way of working. ‘Concept building’ is followed by rigorous and well defined methods of problem solving, which exposes students to a variety of problems that can be asked in a competitive exam. The RISE team gives special focus to improve question comprehension ability which is a key factor in time management in exams such as JEE, BITSAT and many more.
Aisha Bashir was enrolled in RISE Super 30 foundation batch after clearing her class 10 exam. A phenomenal shift from rote learning to conceptual study was what thrilled her. “We used to opt for local school teachers for tuitions where our teachers would directly start teaching from books without clearing any basic concept about any of the topics. But fortunately, RISE’s main motive is to clear basic concepts. Here teachers take months to make sure our basics are strong so as to make it easy to comprehend the main topic,” Aisha says.
Reaching out to poor students:
Since this year, RISE has started an ambitious talent search examination across the valley to identify talented students who do not possess the resources to pursue quality education.
The examination is primarily targeting the economically weaker sections of the society. The selected students will receive mentoring and counseling from experts of relevant fields. From test taking to mentoring, the entire process is free of cost. Almost 10,000 such students have taken the test at Sopore, Bandipora, Gurez, Ganderbal, Srinagar, Shopian, etc. RISE aims to make this process permanent where year after year talented students are identified and are mentored to secure admissions to the most prestigious institutes of the country and abroad.
In the September 2014 floods, RISE suffered huge losses. The ground floor of the institute was completely submerged in water for 15 days; their library, which had approximately 4,000 books was fully damaged in the flood.
Another problem is funding. “We need more hands to reach out to more areas. But if an IITian wants to drop his seven digit salary and join us, then he/she will expect at least six digit package. We have asked many organisations for sponsoring our internship programme but as of now none has come forward,” says Imbesat.
But their core belief is what keeps the team going on. That belief is – professional technical education is the best tool to solve major issues of any society by creating a pool of empowered professionals and entrepreneurs who would uplift their society by creating even more change makers.
Visit the RISE website here: Rise InstituteRISERelated: