While medical education has become costly, it has become difficult for students from belonging to humble backgrounds to train themselves for – National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) – the gateway to undergraduate medical colleges.
This year is the third year of the training program. After the recently announced results, seven students from the LFU programme have been selected to MBBS course and five students have been selected to BDS course.
Dr Atul Dhakne, one of the core committee member and recently graduated of BJ Medical College, said, “Since medical education has become so costly, these young students who will eventually become doctors, should not just work for money. We teach underprivileged students for free and in the future we expect them to understand that medical profession is not just for money. Along with academics, we are also giving them knowledge on ethics. Those who have succeeded in the last two years have now joined us and are now teaching new students.”
This year there was a batch of 26 students. Volunteers stated that each year result is improving with more number of students getting into medical colleges.
“We teach the 11th and 12th standard batch, every day for three hours in the evening. We have a separate batch for those whose command over English is poor. We take extra classes for such students,” said Atul.
There are around 200 volunteers with LFU. While majority of the volunteers are students of BJ Medical College, some volunteers are also from College of Engineering Pune (COEP).
Every student gets one mentor who is always available to solve all the queries and to give support. Each Sunday is a weekly test, while after every test there is a parents-volunteers meeting.
Akshay Hirve comes from an economically challenged background. He lost his father when he was 12 years old and his mother used to work as maid to make ends meet. He is now studying for his second year MBBS at B J Medical College and is also a beneficiary of the LFU programme.
“I got into B J Medical College because of LFU and now, I am also one of the teachers at LFU. I had got into nursing. Atul Sir persuaded me to join LFU and give one more attempt. I worked a lot during my preparation. We have got personal mentors here unlike professional coaching classes. I am proud to be a part of LFU and would like see many more students like me get an opportunity for a good education,” said Akshay.
Members of core committee of LFU includes Dr Ketan Deshmukh, Farooque Faras, Dr Mayank Tripathi, Tejas Ahire, Sitansu Shekhar Pradhan, Gauravi Kulkarni, Arvind Kumar and Nikhil Nagpal.