Four students from the Kashmir Valley have cracked one of the most prestigious and toughest examinations in the country, the Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE), bringing laurels to the state.
What is remarkable that normally students prefer to go outside the valley for professional coaching to crack the exam, but Kaleem Khan, Malik Aneeb, Aaqib Amin and Arif Reyaz Sheikh made it to IIT - the result for which was declared on Sunday, June 12 - without moving outside the state.
Kaleem Khan got an all-India rank of 5002.
But success doesn't come in a silver platter. It requires among other things-sustained hard work, passion to work hard, intensive programme, right guidance and little bit of grooming. Mentoring centre 'RISE', where they were enrolled for the past two years, provided them with all the requisites in loads, which resulted in their fascinating success.
Normally, only one or two students used to make it to IIT every year from the valley, but it is perhaps for the first time since the inception of the first IIT in 1951 that four students of a mentoring centre made it to the coveted institutes, giving a proud moment to the people of J&K.
Aaqib Amin, who secured an all-India rank of 92 in PWD category, told ANI, "IIT is a tough exam that needs dedicated study for two years. For students like us, two years of hard work can get you into IIT. I loved Maths and Physics, so IIT was obviously my first choice.
"IIT is one of the prestigious exams of India. I would definitely tell everyone to come and give it a try. Obviously, selection is not that big a deal provided you prepare in the right direction. Earlier, students used to go out (for coaching), but I don't think there is a need to go outside. After RISE came here, there is no need to go out since the faculty is top class here," Malik Aneeb told ANI, adding that "this is a wonderful feeling".
Malik Aneeb got an overall rank of 24 in PWD category.
Arif Reyaz, another student who made it to IIT with an all-India rank of 712, told ANI, "Earlier, there were not many IIT-qualified students in Kashmir because of the lack of faculty. If you went to one institute, you would get a good maths teacher, but not of physics and chemistry. There was no proper guidance, because there was no IITian in the institute. Now there is a complete institute, which guides about the exams and the related topics that needs to be studied. Moreover, we also worked very hard."
"Kashmiri students have immense potential, but they don't get proper guidance at the right time. The counselling part in Kashmir is very weak. But by the grace of God, the RISE academy started; and now talent search tests are being conducted," he added.
Counsellor Imbesat Ahmad said a message had been spread that one can't prepare for IIT while residing in the Valley, we proved the myth wrong.
"Normally, students start preparing for IIT after Class 12, which is a blunder as no one can prepare for IIT in just four-five months. The preparation for IIT starts after Class 10. We select a handful of students through admission tests. We move to different schools and interact with the students to guide them for the preparation of the IITs," Ahmad told ANI.
RISE managing director Mubeen Masoodi said, "Only a few student made it to IIT from Kashmir, and if we look for those students who prepared for the entrance test living in the Valley, the number is zero. So, the selection of these students is very important not just for them but also for their juniors. This will give a boost to their confidence."
"There is no dearth of talent in Kashmir, but opportunities are not there for the children. They don't have access to quality education and quality coaching. The way Dr. Shah Faisal topped the Civil Services Examination it gave confidence to our society that if students work hard, they would be successful. Similarly, the way these students cleared the IIT entrance test it will give a boost to aspirants' morale to work hard to crack this examination," Masoodi told ANI.
A majority of students still feel getting into IIT is difficult, but the success of these students will be helping others as they now have role models, he added.
Talking about difficulties faced in spotting talents, Masoodi said, "The mechanism to identify talented students is missing and as a result institutes giving IIT coaching failed to give results. We have started here from scratch and have also worked out mechanisms to identify talented students. Apart from this, the level of education is different, and hence, we have to adjust our coaching's level so that we can bring them on par with students at the national-level so that they can compete with them.