eNarada, Bengaluru, October 8, 2016
Watch Dr Samanta’s inspiring interview here
Today, Dr Achyuta Samanta is one of the successful educationists and entrepreneurs in our country but his road to success was not an easy one. His days were so challenging that Dr Samanta had even planned to commit suicide as he couldn’t repay his loan. But, it was his self confidence which kept him going and today the result is here to see for everyone; proud of setting up world class institutions like KIIT where around 27,000 students are studying and KISS where free education is provided to another 25,000 tribals.
In a freewheeling interview to Doordarshan’s morning breakfast programme-“Naya Savera”, Dr Samanta recalled how tough it was for his poverty stricken family to move ahead in life. When Dr Samanta was only four, he lost his father and it was the responsibility of his mother to bring up her seven children. However, one thing that Samanta proudly state is that despite the fact that he couldn’t afford either money or food, he never quit education and the same commitment held his hand till date! So, the moral of Samanta’s struggling days-“never quit education”.
The same passion towards education helped Dr Samanta realise his goal of universalising the education. Dr Samanta went on to complete his post-graduation in Chemistry. Though he began his career as a lecturer, he soon thought of starting a own institution. So, when he started KIIT in 1992-93, he had just Rs 5,000 in his pocket. “Those were the tough days when no one hardly came forward to fund my institutes. With just Rs 5,000, it was impossible to go ahead. But, I was in no mood to abandon my dream project and hence I had to go for personal loans and it went up to the tune of Rs 15 lakh by 1996. As, I was in no position to repay back and even thought of committing suicide a bank lent me Rs 30 lakh. I not only repaid my personal loans but went on to build KIIT and KIIS vigorously,” he recalled in the interview.
Please watch entire interview of Doordarshan by clicking on above link.
Another important lesson that Dr Samanta learnt in his childhood helped him to build the largest tribal school-Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). “Half education is more dangerous than no education. I learnt this hard lesson in my childhood when I saw people dropping out of school and ending up nowhere. However, I continued my education and consider myself as a successful person today because of complete education. Hence, a student once enrolled for KG would continue till PG. Even when schools across the country face dropout rate of around 13 per cent, KISS has almost zero dropout rate,” said Dr Samanta adding that it was not an easy job to enrol the tribal students from Odisha. He says that for the first 10 years, people were reluctant to send their kids. However, things have changed so much that today, KISS receives 5,000 applications each year for 2,000 seats. Today, KISS has around 25,000 students and KIIT has around 27,000 students studying in the campus.
Dr Samanta also recalled his mom’s support in his endeavour. “My mom not only encouraged me but never forced upon her ideas on me. She never insisted me that I should get married. I was so busy all my life that I could never think of wedding. Probably, leading a bachelor life always helped me to dedicate myself to the society. I have no repentance of being single and this helps me work 18-19 hours in a day. I could also realise my mom’s dream of converting my birth village-Kalrabanka as a model smart village.”
He also said that KISS has been focussing a lot on extracurricular activities and life skills and this was the reason why KIIT and KISS students were excelling in various sports and also had been Olympians. “I plan to open a branch of KISS in every district in Odisha and in every state of our country. If I am successful today, that is because I have no hidden agenda or vested interest. I have learnt to be selfless and this is helping me to educate as many children as possible,” Dr Samanta added.