India Education System Win – Mohnish Pabrai Turns Slumdog Dreams Into Reality
As the saying goes, “no matter how successful you become, never forget where you come from.” Mohnish Pabrai, owner of Pabrai Investment Fund; never forget where he came from. As a hedge fund manager, Pabrai manages more than 500 Million in assets and still finds time to give back to the kids in India, thus changing lives for countless people where he’s from.
Inspired By His Past
Pabrai recounts sitting in class in his private school amnd looking outside to see poverty and wealth. He wondered why his teachers never talked about the people living in the slums. Influenced by what he saw during his childhood years, he now has the funding to give back and help people who are living in those slums.
Taking matters into his own hands, after unsuccessful searches for organizations with both efficiency and ROI for the value-investor in him, he started his own foundation. The Dakshana Foundation was created to help poor kids get a leg up on the IIT, (Indian Institutes of Technology), entrance exams that would allow admission into the prestigious IIT programs in India. The IITs are engineering and technology universities that have a high rate of success.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In the US, high school students may take SAT and ACT prep courses to prep themselves for these standardize test. The GRE, LSAT and others can be included. In India, a typical prep course and coaching for the entrance exams into these elite IITs may cost families $3000 to $7000 for one student.
Pabrai’s prep program is only $2,154 (as of 2010). The students who are enlisted in the Dakshana Program are students who are already in the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) system. JNV are boarding schools that are open to poor kids. Pabrai’s Dakshana program tests tenth grade level students and those who succeed will spend two years in a Dakshana-funded program.
The Success Of The Dakshana Foundation
Success has come from the Dakshana Foundation. One student, Shiv Kumar, who had polio and now has no lower limbs, was accepted into the IIT program. Poonam Narain, overcame her own hurdle. Girls in her village study up to the eighth grade and then stop. Now Narain is in her junior year of college. She comes from a background of three siblings, an unemployed mother and father who makes about $50 a month. She has recently completed an internship with Deloitte.
Since 2007, 344 Dakshana students out of 824 students have passed the entrance exam. In 2012 alone, 110 took the entrance exam and 73 were admitted into the IITs.
Mohnish Pabrai keeps turning out successful students. Using his resources and his philanthropic attitude he has given intelligent kids from poor areas a way to excel in life.