Promoting Education in India: A Visit to Patna's Super 30

Posted by Rashad Hussain
August 11, 2010
OIC Special Envoy Hussain Interacts With Students in India

About the Author: Rashad Hussain serves as U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

This past week, during my trip to India, I met Mr. Anand Kumar and hundreds of students, graduates, and teachers from Super 30, an NGO in Patna, Bihar that helps exceptional students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds gain admission into the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Mr. Kumar, from a disadvantaged background himself, seeks to empower his students by promoting education as a means to overcome obstacles. I was incredibly impressed to hear that for the last three years, all of Mr. Kumar's students have passed the entrance exams for IIT.

When I arrived at Super 30, I found an enthusiastic gathering of hundreds of teachers, volunteers, and students newly admitted to IIT filling the room with an indescribable energy. We discussed the importance of broadening and deepening cooperative efforts to expand access to education in India. Hearing the stories of the students was inspiring. Many of Super 30's students came from families of brick layers and rickshaw operators and never imagined they would one day have a chance to attend the IIT. Not surprisingly, when asked about their future goals, many students said they want to help others with similar backgrounds access advanced education.

I was also moved by the efforts of volunteers who work tirelessly to help the students at Super 30, and of teachers who contribute the wages they earn as private tutors to finance the institution. I came to Patna, Bihar to explore models of success for expanding educational opportunities around the world, and I certainly found one such model with Super 30.

President Obama has continually stressed the importance of education. That's why the United States has expanded exchange programs -- so that U.S. students can study in other countries and so we can welcome talented foreign students to our schools and universities. And that's why we will continue to develop and expand partnerships in education all over the world.



Faraz J.
Virginia, USA
August 12, 2010

Faraz J. in Virginia writes:

There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture. We want to spend our tax payers money and resources for India? Why don't we ship our teachers along with our jobs? This so sad to see our own government has more vested interest in Indian education than our own. If the exchange program is free then who if flipping the bill for Indian students in US? is that our tax money or is that "paid for by Indian government"?

United States
August 12, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Great, now if only the Indian government could multiply this concept a bizillion times to include every Indian. This should have been achieved over a hundred years ago. As intelligent as Indians are there is absolutely no excuse for an inadequate educational system.

Ashim C.
August 22, 2010

Ashim K.C. in India writes:

There are bright spots like Super 30 spread inmost parts of India. Kota in Rajasthan is another place where coaching for entrance tests into elite educational institute is thriving. There are many others. But the problem is that most of these coaching institutes have a very definite commercial orientation and are run as merely super profit business. While success of these coaching institutes and other private schools and colleges signify Indian love for education, and it must be so all over the developing world, one must say that as much is not being done as it is possible to take advantage of this positive popular trait among people. One would, therefore, emphasise the need for a truly global initiative for education at all levels, which should exceed the scale and intensity of involvement of world leaders like world leaders including certainly President Obama, which they show in free trade and environment summits. One would expect President Obama to come India with a package of collaboration for well regulated quality education from primary to the highest level by involving mass media more specifically electronic mass media to make possible standardisation of education. His ensuing visit itenary and theme should be specially designed for this purpose.

Ashim C.
August 24, 2010

Ashim K.C. in India writes:

I essentially agree with Faraz J's comment that US should not spend money of it's tax payers to spread education in developing countries like India. But the idea of US sending it's teachers is not quite for many reasons which include availability of a huge army of quality teachers in India itself. Instead US mass media companies could collaborate with organizations like IGNOU, Open Schools to run paid satellite channels to beam into each household high quality and standardized class wise subject wise ideally interactive teaching programs in English, which is extremely popular in India. Such collaborations could also supplement their revenue through advertisements. These programs should be accessible anytime anywhere. Given the popularity of education among parents and their willingness to spend on their Children among all section of society, one's hunch is the subscription would be huge and consequently advertisement revenue too would be attractive. Needless to say curriculum has to be in tune with all the good aspect of EXISTING LEARNING AND TEACHING PROCESS largely.which has served us well and not American curriculum.

Basic underlying business thought underlying this proposal is use IT and mass electronic communication media for mass producing mass selling education and give customers the advantage of costs due to scale. This is good for education and also for entire gamut of industries and services in areas of health care, food processing, housing and so on.

Such orientation of Indo-US cooperation shall help both USA and India. One wonders why USBIC does not work as enthusiastically as they should. Only thing is that US should not sell their outdated technologies and systems nor follow skimming pricing policies for their new technology based offering if Indian conditions enable absorption of technology.

Such commercially feasible cooperation can only be sustainable because they only have the potential of empowering Indians at grass root level and create demand for goods and services. Charity is a very poor idea in fact coming from USA, it can be suspected because cold war mindset still persists and they have good audience still.

kanchan s.
September 12, 2010

Kanchan S. in India writes:

Its great to know that you visited one of our most amazing educational centre viz super 30. It shows that distance between dreams and goals can be reduced if you really want to. Hats off to Anand Kumar the Mentor of super 30. I would definitely want to know if any such amazing centre is there in US? If yes, I would like to visit it some day.

Sagar J.
North Carolina, USA
September 13, 2010

Sagar J. in North Carolina writes:

I have known Shri Anand Kumar for nearly two years. He has visited with us twice in the little village, Dadawas in Haryana, where my wife and I spend most of our time working with a charitable school; and I have also visited with him and lived in his house and met his very caring family and saw his program first hand.

By any standard, he is an extra-ordinary person. He brings hope to the country in the grip of the Cancer of Corruption, fraud and Meism.His is a genuine anti-poverty program.

He sets an example of selfless dedication to helping poor to help themselves; and brings a high level of creativity and competence to this mission.

Let us not ask him to do more. He is alredy committed to increase the intake in Super-30 from 30 to 60 or even 90 per year.How much more can he do by himself. Let us put our shoulders to the wagon he and his family have been pulling alone. He has a dream; let us help him fulfill this dream.

Ram R.
California, USA
September 16, 2010

Ram R. in California writes:

Recent TIME cover page (September 20, 2010): "What Makes a School Great," contained several articles of world-wide importance including, "It all Starts with the Teachers" by Amanda Ripley and "Why it's Hard to Find Good Ones," by John Cloud. Even Socrates became a teacher after holding other jobs. However, Mr. Anandkumar's passion and inspiration for teaching comes first and from the heart. Along the way, he created an enduring legacy for the Super 30 and carved an unique place in history. For many poor students, who grew up in a family of stretched (or no) means, the Super 30 offers a life altering journey. What Mr. Anandkumar accomplished can not be duplicated even by great institutions. His holistic aspirations do not belong to Patna, Bihar or India but to the world. It is fitting that Obama's Special Envoy Mr. Rashad Hussain could visit him and the Super 30. I will not be surprised if he gets an audience with President Obama (when he visits India). In my opinion, Mr. Anandkumar is as much a Creation as the Creator Himself. God bless him and his dedicated family.

Piyush K.
September 21, 2010

Dr. Piyush K. in India writes:

Dear sir

very recently i visited Patna and i have seen work done by Mr Anand kumar in field of Education and let me tell you honestly that i am impressed ,i feel that people like Him can make India a Knowledgeable society and world a better place to LIVE IN.

As a director of a leading publishing company i wish i could do a book on Mr Anand Kumar to highlight his work to inspire thousands and thousands of youngsters who aim to be in IIT.

Congrats !! Mr Anand and every member at Super30.Keep going and thanks to White House for taking pains in bringing this kohinoor to light.

Best wishes

mohammad y.
October 10, 2010

Mohammad Y. in Iran writes:

I met Mr. Anand Kumar and hundreds of students, graduates, and teachers from Super


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