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IAS Officer’s ‘Second Chance’ Keeps Aspirants’ Dreams Alive, Helps Droppers Clear JEE, NEET

• In Maoist-affected Dantewada district, the Collector’s second chance initiative helped 47 students clear competitive exams • There is a government initiative called ‘Choo Lo Aasman’, started in 2011, where students are coached for exams like NEET and JEE for a fix period of 4 years. • However, after IAS Vinit Nandanwar joined as Collector, he started a separate batch for droppers, which gives them one more year in the institute to pursue their dreams
Indian Masterminds Stories

Chhattisgarh’s Naxal-hit district Dantewada’s Collector, 2013 batch IAS officer Vinit Nandanwar, cleared UPSC CSE in his fourth attempt. So he truly understands what a ‘second chance’ can do for aspirants of competitive exams.

In fact, this is why he started the initiative to give a second chance in a government-run coaching institute to those students who could not qualify, and started a separate group for them so that they can continue coaching for yet another year. This helped 47 students qualify in the prestigious NEET and IIT JEE exams.

In Dantewada, the state government runs an institute under ‘Chhoo Lo Aasmaan’ (Touch the Sky) initiative where students prepare for IIT JEE and NEET free of cost.

Mr Nandanwar joined in Dantewada in July, 2022, and in September, he took the initiative to provide a second chance to the students who could not make it, by allowing them to get coaching for one more year. Earlier, the institute allowed students for a fix period of four years only.

The result was unprecedented as a total of 65 students from the institute cracked the exams, in which 47 students were from the dropper’s batch. Mr Nandanwar had also made a special strategy for the special batch which helped them in their study and crack the exams.

Speaking with Indian Masterminds, Mr Nandanwar said, “We all need second chance in life. Then, why should not these students get it? Our initiative has had a great impact, and for the first time in the history of Dantewada, maximum number of students got selected in the medical and engineering exams, thanks to the dropper’s batch.”

2013 batch IAS officer Vinit Nandanwar

TOUCH THE SKY

The ‘Chhoo Lo Aasmaan’ (Touch the Sky) initiative is being run by the state government in Dantewada district since 2011. This is the institute where students from 9th to 12th can stay and study. First, there is screening and then selected students can study under this initiative and prepare for NEET and JEE.

Eighty odd students from government schools are chosen through an entrance exam every year. There are two batches, one for boys and another for girls. The select students are provided free schooling, coaching, boarding and food. After four years, students have to leave the institute and go out for further study.

When Mr Nandanwar joined as Collector in Dantewada, he started a separate batch for droppers and gave them one more year. For this, some new arrangement had to be made with CSR fund.

But, the result has been worth it, as 28 students got selected in NEET from the dropper’s batch of 35 students, and 19 others got selected in IIT JEE. From the 30 successful girls who passed these exams from the district, 28 are from the dropper’s batch!

Mr Nandanwar said, “When I got posting here and interacted with the students, I thought that some of the brilliant students should get a second chance. When we studied, then we faced the same kind of dilemma – that we should get good marks in 12th as well as prepare for some other exam to get admission in the best colleges. The burden of preparing for class 12 boards and competitive exams for medicine or engineering at the same time proves too much for many. So these students should get a second chance. Hence, we started the dropper’s batch.”

Giving Second Chance to the students

STRATEGIC PROGRAMME

Mr Nandanwar not only started the batch, but also made a solid strategy for the students and regularly monitored it. His experience of UPSC preparation helped the students to study with a changed strategy and crack the exams. He told the students that they should finish the syllabus before three months of the exam, so that they can get enough time for revision.

He said, “When I started the batch, I felt that they should prepare strategically. First, I divided the syllabus month wise and gave them a target to finish on time every month. I also made a strategy regarding multiple choice questions from every topic. They were also guided on what they should focus more on and what they can choose to leave out.”

THE RESULT AND THE FEELING

When the results came, it was much more better than they had expected. The second chance really helped the students in a big way. It not only gave confidence to the students but also to the administration that their initiative will not go into vain.

Mr Nandanwar said, “I studied in a Hindi-medium school. And then, I passed the UPSC in my fourth attempt. So I know how important it is for a student to get another opportunity to pursue their dreams. Now, I do not have to say anything, the result speaks for itself. Sometime, you really need a second chance as there are many things which may affect the result.”

IAS officer Vinit interacting with students under ‘Margdarshan’ programme

RIPPLE EFFECT

The officer belongs to Bastar, which is also a naxal hit area in Chhattisgarh. He is also the first IAS from Bastar division. He said, “Such achievements can change the atmosphere in the whole area. I believe that this second chance initiative will instill the thought of ‘we can do it’ in the students’ mind.”

In less than a year, Mr Nandanwar has taken many initiatives in the district which has helped the students in study as well as in their career choices. One such programme is ‘Margdarshan’, where he interacts with students and guides them on study and career. His other initiatives are ‘English Ki Pathshala’ and ‘12th Learning Programme’.

Mr Nandanwar further said, “This year’s success has sent positive vibes to the students that, yes, selection will happen. If not this year, then in the next, but it will happen! These results will have a ripple effect on other students.”

Buoyed by the success of his initiative, he now waits to start the second batch this year soon.


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