In the many debates about education and merit that crop up in our country, one point that often gets ignored is how much of a difference small doses of extra care and attention can make in the fates of students from the poorest groups.
Eighty four underprivileged children from Telangana, (from SC/ST families and few a OBCs) who were all helped by the state's social and tribal welfare residential schools will soon be heading to various medical courses, after clearing NEET, 2017.
The students were all part of the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society's (TSWREIS) Operation Blue Crystal Programme (OPBC).
Funded and operated by the Telangana government, the TSWREIS runs 268 residential educational institutions, which provide free food, education and shelter to thousands of underprivileged children every year.
This year, 55 students from the social welfare hostels and 9 students from tribal welfare hostels will secure seats in medicine, while 15 social and 5 tribal students will get into BDS.
"Itâ€™s a glorious moment in the history of the TSWREIS and the TTWREIS, and we never got these kind of results before," Dr RS Praveen Kumar, Secretary of the societies, said in a statement.
He also thanked state Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, for his 'vision', to provide quality education to marginalized children.
"OPBC was launched to provide free coaching for meritorious SC&ST and minority students, who were aspiring to become doctors. It has been a resounding success, and has produced 140 medical students since its launch in the year 2015. This is truly, a remarkable achievement. The OPBC has become an unparalleled brand for medical entrance exams, with absolutely no economic burden on poor students and parents," Praveen Kumar added.
"I wouldnâ€™t have realized my dream of becoming a doctor, if not for the OPBC," says S. Prabhas, who secured a state level rank of 635.
The TSWREIS also said that 10 students joined Delhi University (DU) this year, while 6 students secured admission into Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), creating history.
"We have been creating an ecosystem of competitive spirit among the students by pulling out their sense of inferiority, through the implementation of various innovative programmes at different levels, so that poor students can hope to become technocrats, doctors, engineers, artists, world class mountaineers, entrepreneurs and athletes," the Secretary said.
"No state in India has taken such measures so far in giving a major impetus to the education of the marginalized children under the KG-PG education scheme," the secretary added.
KCR also expressed his pleasure at the result on Monday, and congratulated Dr Praveen Kumar for his efforts.