Thanks to all expense paid Super-50 initiative, public school students are now all set to take any competition head on. Saima Bashir reports
For years posh Parraypora in Srinagar is known as hub of private coaching centres. These private coaching centres used to decide the future of students viz-a-viz competitive exams. But not anymore. Last year, J&K government’s education department came up with a novel idea and started Super 50 – special coaching classes for winter and competitive exams.
The initiative, that has around 350 students as first beneficiaries, is run from Government High School in Hyderpora. “We chose Hyderpora because it is hub of private coaching. We wanted to be right there and put our best,” says Manzoor Ahmad, in-charge Super 50 Programme. “Second, the place is easily accessible for all.”
Hyderpora and Parraypora are adjacent to each other on Srinagar-Humhama international Airport road.
The initiative was started with selection of best students from across Kashmir region by conducting entrance test. Around seven thousand students appeared in the entrance test. Out of which 500 students were selected for Super 50. The selected students were then sent to Parraypora for free coaching. “Exams were conducted in every district of Kashmir so that every student gets a chance to be part of this initiative,” says Manzoor.
Once in, the students will be given free of charge coaching till the syllabus is completed. “Aim is to prepare meritorious students for different competitive exams,” says Manzoor.
Taught by more than twenty teachers (all PhDs), Super 50 offers smart classrooms with Wifi facility, a well stacked library, free study material for all students and rotational time table system. “Unlike private coaching centres in Parraypora, our students get everything for free,” says Manzoor.
Super 50 train students of Class 10 and Class 12 for competitive exams like CET, AIEEE, MBBS etc.
The performance of students is checked on regular basis to improve the quality of education. Majority of the students who benefited from the initiatives are from rural areas.
A half yearly coaching session in Parrypora costs students around Rs 35,000. “Last year I paid Rs 30 thousand for my son’s coaching,” says Mushtaq Ahmad Shah, a shopkeeper from Hawal in Srinagar. “This year my son is part of Super-50. It is such a relief that he is getting quality education for free,” he says.
Barely half-a-mile away from Hyderpora where Super-50 initiative is underway, Tanveer Ahmad Bhat, a Class 12th student from Tangmarg is attending classes at a private coaching. “We have a batch of more than 150 students. Most of the time we hardly know what our teacher is saying,” says Bhat. “In such a large gathering a teacher cannot focus on individuals.”
Apart from ten orphan girls of Banat Orphanage, Super-50 includes students from economically weaker sections as well. “They were given admission without any entrance test,” says Manzoor. “We cannot afford private coaching as it costs a fortune. I am among the fortune ten to get admission in Super-50, but there should be more such initiatives for people like us so that all get chance,” says Ruksana, a Class 12 student of Banat Orphanage.
Taking cue from government’s efforts a number of teachers have come forward voluntarily to help students at Super-50. “I teach Physics to these students. I consider this as my social responsibility towards the society,” says Amir Ali, a B Tech student from NIT. “We should come forward and do our bit for these students.”
Manzoor thinks Super-50’s success depends on society as a whole. “We, as a society, need to own these government school students in order to make this initiative a success,” feels Manzoor.
In absence of hostel facility, most of the Super-50 beneficiaries, who hail from far off rural areas, have to manage accommodation on their own. “We are also planning to provide proper hostel facilities to students,” says Dr Shah Faesal, Director School Education, Kashmir. “Soon we are going to replicate this model in other districts as well.”
Students of Super-50 said that they belong to far flung areas, and most of them are paying guests in Srinagar. They have requested government to provide them hostel facility.