How much does it cost to be trained for competitive exams? At this Bihar institute, only 18 saplings!

For public service aspirants in Rosara, Bihar, a novel institute is changing what it takes to prepare for the entrance exams
Rajesh Kumar Suman with a student | (Pic: The New Indian Express)
Rajesh Kumar Suman with a student | (Pic: The New Indian Express)

Saplings. Eighteen of them, to be exact. That's all it takes to join the Green Pathshala in Bihar's Samastipur district. The school prepares students for public service exams, and accepts only 18 saplings as a fee. Started by 33-year-old Rajesh Kumar Saman, the school has been in operation since 2008. At a time when top-line coaching institutes charge an arm and a leg to get your UPSC journey on track, this is certainly a novel approach that a lot of underprivileged aspirants are benefitting from.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Suman says that there he has some unshakable logic behind that number 18. "One person inhales as much oxygen throughout his/her life as 18 plants generate. So, we charge 18 saplings as fees, which are then planted in various places,” he said, showing how much of a slant for the environment he has.

The institute has coached around 5000 students so far, and as a result, 90,000 saplings have been planted. In what is an excellent example of community teaching and learning, the "teachers" at the institute are educated volunteers who conduct coaching sessions in the mornings and evenings. In terms of results, Suman told TNIE that 13 of their students have been appointed as sub-inspectors after clearing the Bihar Police Exam, also, 40% of their students are women, added Suman.

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