It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
We Indians, especially engineers have always been chastised for being money-centric. It’s our avaricious nature that leads us to non-core sectors such as banking etc after 4 years of technical education or to the foreign shores allured by the lifestyle out there. Only a few choose to serve the society, and to do so after leaving the lure of a foreign country and a well-settled life is inconceivable. Yet there are some crazy ones who step out of their secluded and secured bubble in order to serve the society in any possible capacity. We are here to introduce the readers to one such phenomenal personality, an alumnus of our own institution.
Sir, please tell us a bit about your journey.
My name is Sajid Hussain and I’m from Chitarpur village, Ramgarh. I pursued B.Tech in Metallurgical engineering at BIT, Sindri from 2004-2008. During my final year in the institute, I got placed at JSW Mumbai and qualified GATE, securing AIR 65 as well, and got admitted at IISC Bengaluru. After that, I relocated to Germany for PhD and further research and returned back to join National Aerospace Laboratory, Bengaluru. In 2016, I resigned and the Mount Everest Public School, an educational initiative at Ramgarh with the purpose of transforming the rural education system right from the root, was born. It’s a laboratory school and I’ve tried to implement my four years of research work in low-income private and government schools and that’s my journey until now.
What were your expectations before joining BIT Sindri?
Hailing from a rural area, my expectations were to get a decent exposure, a platform to showcase my skills and BIT Sindri with a long history of excellence and a strong alumni base seemed perfect in those aspects.
How was your experience at BIT Sindri?
My experience was overall good. Since the institute lacks national intake, we don’t get a chance to participate in multicultural activities, unlike our counterparts in IITs or NITs. Nevertheless, the students here are bright despite the shortcomings. I enjoyed spending evenings in the college canteen with my batch mates.
How Mount Everest Public school is different from conventional schools?
Do you remember the movie, 3 Idiots? There was a school run by Aamir Khan’s character Rancho which intrigued me. While introducing myself, I quoted that I want to transform the education system right from the grassroots. I believe that we remember whatever we did practically in our school days, not the things taught in the classrooms. The learner or the student should be the main active participant in the education system. Mount Everest Public School stands apart from the crowd due to our focus on the activity-based learning and guidance provided to the students in making decisions about how they want to learn. We want to make the campus a role model for other schools or simply a ‘school for schools’. This implies that even other low-budget and dilapidated schools can avail benefits from us. The challenge is to establish a child-centric and practical campus despite the financial crisis and that’s what makes us unique.
Please tell us about the achievements of the budding young minds of your school.
One of our students secured 3rd rank in All Jharkhand Olympiad and 8 students secured ranks in the top 100. Similarly, many of our students made it up to the top 150 in the Maths Olympiad. Since we are talking about the state of Jharkhand, our students competed with prominent schools such as DPS and DAVs. One student developed a software and another made a mobile battery charging device using cycle. These are some of the achievements of our students.
Why did you embark on such an unorthodox journey?
The idea of uplifting of the underprivileged may seem winsome in the movies but it is a rugged path to tread upon. It is your passion only that motors your journey. Sometimes I believe that I took the decision very early in life but at other times I believe that I have the potential to overcome the hurdles ahead. Everything is to be calculated and kept in mind in order to do this. I have taken the purposive steps and I chose this path because I wanted to devote my entire life to the education field.
How did being from a technical background ease your task?
During my stay in IISC Bengaluru, I attended the international alumni meet and the conclusion of discussions was that the job of engineers is to solve problems. The art of problem-solving extends to other fields as well and my technical background inculcated this problem-solving attitude in me. Thus, I was able to apply my skills to such a social cause.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I love to write in my leisure time. I search the society and rural background for people to inspire especially through my writings.
What are your future plans?
I want to make our school an example by collaborating with low-budget schools, inviting them to train with us and extending our motive of establishing practical learning. My future plan is to make it a Pan-Jharkhand campaign to transform the rural and tribal education system.
We are continuously working for the last four to five years to establish a school resource centre as an EdHub (Education Hub) for government and low-cost private schools. EdHub would act as a Capacity Development (Un)Center for rural schools of Jharkhand. We are expanding our small campus to a larger campus. Therefore we need everyone’s generous contributions and support to build this centre. The path we have chosen is indeed tough and challenging but together we will surely overcome every obstacle in the path.
Any message you want to convey to the budding engineers of your alma mater?
“Try to solve the problems by heart, it doesn’t matter if the problem is technical or of the social kind”. Engineers are meant to solve any kind of problem and I invite such people to join hands for a cause like mine.