Roman Saini – India’s youthful hope
By Matters India Reporter
Jaipur: India’s future is bright if as long as it can produce citizens such as Roman Saini.
Poverty is the biggest barrier for many Indians to gain quality education. For many years, planners and educators have struggled to find a solution to this problem.
Then came Saini, a 25-year-old Indian civil service officer who quit his cushy job to do something for the welfare of society. He is now showing the way for the new generation to not just settle itself well, but help its surroundings improve and live a sophisticated life.
The former assistant collector of Jabalpur launched an online institution named “Unacademy” that now poor who aspire to join Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
Saini provides not just IAS related education, but coaching in various fields.
And he has every right to do so.
Saini was born on July 27, 1991, in Jaipur, Rajasthan. He enrolled at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for his MBBS after clearing the AIIMS entrance exam at the age of 16, the youngest to clear the pre medical examination.
In 2013, he cleared the Civil Services Examination in his first attempt by securing an All India Rank of 18 in the general category.
He resigned in 2016 before the formal completion of his training to devote more time for his free education mission, mainly through Unacademy.
Saini became an IAS officer at 22. He became a doctor from New Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
He would have gone further up in glory but for visit to a village in 2011 as a part of the medical camp. He was shocked to see how much people struggled in India’s fringe areas. He realized it was futile to seek personal glory as long as his fellow citizens remained poor and miserable.
Saini now manages the Unacademy website with the help of friends — Gaurav Munjal, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta – all its co-founders.
The portal has gained great popularity on social networking websites such as Facebook, Quora, Instagram and YouTube. When his popularity increased, Saini quit the IIT job in 2016 to become a full time educator.
His portal has closely 1,100 videos with more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube. His channel provides a great platform for all those students who cannot afford costly coaching or materials required to prepare for competitive exams.
He covers almost all main aspects such as Geography, Physics, History, Politics, Arts, Environment, Ecology and Biodiversity.
In 2015, 10 students of Unacademy qualified civil services exams.
Saini is also a motivational speaker.
“My focus is on making quality education accessible and I think the offline mode is not the way to achieve it,” he told The Times of India soon after quitting his job.
He sees a massive need for technological intervention because of paucity of infrastructure and human resources to meet the demand of millions. “That is why I decided to pursue fulltime the concept of Unacademy,” he reasons.
Of course, foregoing an IAS future was not as easy as stating a vision, and Saini certainly went through an internal churn. It didn’t help that his father, an engineer, and brother, a pediatrician, weren’t happy that the youngster was chucking a perfectly good “government job with security” to pursue a dream.
They hadn’t complained when he decided to discard the stethoscope for grimy files, but this wasn’t the better alternative. Personally too, it wasn’t an easy decision.
“I had dedicated two years to prepare for the civil service exams,” says Saini. “There were many factors were involved, so I consulted everyone possible.”
Eventually his passion won out. “I have a lot of respect for the civil services, but I think education is what will drive the nation and that is why I finally decided to work in this sector,” Saini now says, a toothy grin brightening his already cheery face.
Aman Mittal, the 20th ranker in the IAS exam in 2016, thanked Saini and team for his success. He posted on Facebook: “I came to know of the initiative (Unacademy) around 10 days before prelims. I remember watching the ecology and history lectures… I have to admit they were quite impressive. As I was preparing at home, I needed a constant source of motivation. So, after the mains, I watched his (Saini’s) videos and the Tedx talk later which was really inspiring.”
Aparna Gautam, who cleared the UPSC exams with a ranking of 104 in 2015 and is now in the IPS, adds, “The contents of the videos and Roman’s candid presentation not only prepare you but also imbibe in you the right attitude.”
Unacademy’s aim is to make lessons available to people like Mittal and Gautam who can neither spend much on preparations nor travel far from home for coaching classes.