Nurturing IITian dreams yet struggling for basic facilities: Story of Telangana minorities residential schools

On one hand, it has students who strive to study in IITs. On the other hand, there are issues with the food and the residential facilities.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published May 22, 2024 | 4:30 PM Updated May 22, 2024 | 4:30 PM

The girl students with their teacher at felicitation (Deepika Pasham/ South First)

The story of the Telangana Minorities Residential Educational Institutions Society (TMREIS) and the facilities it runs is a bittersweet one.

On one hand, it has students who strive to study in the coveted Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

And many credit the society and its schools and colleges for the education they received that propelled them to this success.

On the other hand, there appear to be quite a few shortcomings for the students, with issues reported about the food they are served and the residential facilities where they are housed.

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TMREIS’ achievements

The TMREIS is an educational initiative established in 2017 by the Telangana government under the Telangana State Public Societies Registration Act.

According to its official website, this was done “with the aim of providing quality education and holistic development opportunities to the minority communities in the state”.

Quite a few TMREIS students achieved hundred-percent results in the SSC examination this time — the 2023-24 academic year.

Students from at least six TMREIS facilities scored 10/10 CGPA. They include seven girls from Kodad, five girls from Andole, four boys from Andole, three girls from Balakonda, and three girls from Sircilla.

Meanwhile, 104 TMREIS students qualified for JEE-Advanced this year, with top scores in the 99th percentile.

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‘Students with dreams’

Students obtaining an education at its institutes spread across the state told South First they were more than happy with the knowledge they were gaining.

Nizamuddin, a student who scored in the 97th percentile to qualify for JEE-Advanced, was one of the many stories of struggle to have come out of a TMREIS institution.

His mother is a housewife and he studied at the TMREIS’ Nizamabad unit, receiving coaching at the Barkas Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad.

He said, “We are students with dreams, but lack the financial resources to join top coaching institutions to succeed in JEE Mains.”

He explained: “We have no further plans but keep seeking help with our scores, hoping that someone will donate for our studies.”

The student added: “The admission process is offline and on a first-come-first-served basis, but many students are left behind, with their only option taking admission in these residential institutes.”

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Vocational courses

The TMREIS also offers vocational courses at the junior-college level, like medical lab technician, accounting and taxation, computer science, electrical technician, multipurpose health worker, agriculture crop production, and tourism and hospitality management.

Feeba Christiania, a faculty member of a TMREIS-run vocational college, explained that students were monitored based on their studies and interests.

“We give special attention to slow learners, and many of our students go on to join Gandhi Medical College and other government colleges due to their high scores in Telangana,” she noted.

Kaikshan is a student of the vocational course that would make her a medical lab technician, a consistent top performer.

Among the 12 TMREIS-run vocational colleges in the state, Kaikshan stood first in the 2023-24 examinations for her course.

She told South First: “I am also a resident of Nizamabad. I studied in a private school until seventh grade before joining the residential education institution.”

She added: “I am interested in the job opportunities available through this course. We have experienced teachers who provide us with timely coaching and teach us how to score well in our subjects.”

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A history of problems

However, the students also face problems at TMREIS facilities. And these problems have made headlines from time to time.

For example, the TMREIS in April last year suspended the principal and two other staff members of its minorities’ residential junior girls college in Narayankhed in the Sangareddy district for failing to monitor the health of a minor girl.

In the shocking incident, the girl delivered a baby on 24 March on the college premises. As per the TMREIS, the girl was a Class 11 at the institute.

There have also been incidents of TMREIS students falling ill after consuming hostel food, and at times even suicide.

Nizamuddin and Syed Sufiyan Mohiuddin, another student, talked about the challenges pupils like them faced in these institutes.

“We do admit that these incidents happen, but we believe they are due to systemic issues, and there is a need for improvement,” they said.

“As we deal with depressed feelings from continuous study preparations, we wish to have a guide to share our concerns without judgment,” they added.

When asked if these institutes hire counsellors, the students responded with a smile but no comment.