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Govt school students in rural Jharkhand get wings for their JEE and NEET aspirations

Earlier, an acute shortage of qualified science teachers in government schools in Jharkhand's Dumka affected students' preparedness for the IIT-JEE and NEET however, a tech-driven programme is empowering over 2,000 students of 26 govt schools in the district

Govt school students in rural Jharkhand get wings for their JEE and NEET aspirations

Dumka: A tech-driven programme is empowering over 2,000 students of 26 government schools in Jharkhand's Dumka district to dream of admission to top engineering or medical institutions. Launched by the district administration with support from NITI Aayog and edtech company Filo, the programme prepares public school students for two very competitive exams—Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) and National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), the undergraduate medical entrance exam.

Live online lectures are being hosted by the local government schools since September as part of the programme, Deputy District Commissioner (DDC), Dumka, Karn Satyarthi said.

An acute shortage of qualified science teachers earlier affected students' preparedness for the IIT-JEE and NEET.

“While analysing school performances a few months back, we realised that the science teacher-to-pupil ratio for some high schools in Dumka was as bad as 1:200 or worse,” Satyarthi said in a LinkedIn post.

Filo, a live instant tutoring platform, is helping the district administration address this immediate concern. Mr. Satyarthi said that recruiting new teachers is a medium- to long-term project and can’t be solved at the district level alone.

The program was thought to be in line with Super 30, a popular education programme started in Patna where students from low-income households receive IIT-JEE coaching, Filo CEO Imbesat Ahmad said. 

Talking about the impact of the program, Ahmad said, “Two-fifths of the schools have seen more than 60% attendance for the live classes by Filo tutors. Government Residential High School OBC Kurwa saw 95% attendance both in Class 11 and 12.”

Students in schools with high attendance in these online classrooms have shown spectacular results in class tests, he added.

Hosting the live online class requires a computer, steady internet connection, projector, speaker, and power backup. The setup costs around Rs 50,000-60,000 per classroom, principal of Government High  School, Chapakandar Shailendra Kumar Paswan said. 

“We receive students from very low-income households. Out of 27 students who have enrolled for Filo classes, 17 are from Class 12 and 10 from Class 12,”  Paswan said. His school currently has only two science teachers on the payroll for Class 11 and 12.

Ever since science teaching started in Paswan’s school in 2012, no student has made it to either to IITs or medical institutions. “I am hopeful that at least two-three students qualify next year so that they become role models for our school in the years to come,” he said.

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