A concept that changed lives Allied Computers, Patna

Priya Vrat, the man behind Allied Computers that is responsible for throwing up immense learning options to the youth, particularly in Bihar says, quot;I was eager to establish my financial independence and the opportunity that came to me was God sent. I grabbed it with both hands.quot; He is assiduously engaged in providing technical know-how and expertise to anyone wishing to take up a career in the field of Information Technology. One who could not fulfil his own dream of procuring an IIT degree in Computer Electronics is today seriously engaged in fulfilling the dreams of thousands of young boys and girls. His grand design does not end here, as his endeavours are dedicated towards that section of society too which carries the tag of being marginalised both socially and financially. When his attempts at cracking the entrance for IIT came to a nought, Priya Vrat shifted to Kolkata and completed a one-year NIIT Programme.

" He is assiduously engaged in providing technical know-how and expertise to anyone wishing to take up a career in the field of Information Technology. "

A dedicated student, he excelled in his learning there and impressed the management who offered him a position as centre manager for their Patna Branch. Managing a centre with nearly 1,000 students and a teaching and support staff of fifteen posed a challenge to the young enthusiast. His spotless academic record with regular participation in the activities of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) as its General Secretary came in handy.

"Right from my school days I knew I had leadership skills in me. I also led the anti-reservation agitation in my district, but the embarrassment of being tagged a 'neta' always bothered me." The untimely demise of his iconic idol, Rajiv Gandhi, made him give up all. "I carefully folded the party flag and put it away and turned myself away from politics from that day and never looked back," he says feelingly.

Priya Vrat needed a lot of capital to start a computer institute. "Besides the finances, I still had so much to learn, so I turned towards a stint with the media. "As head of the computer section in the daily Aaj, he acquainted himself with the techniques of Desk Top Publishing and came to realise that demand for this particular skill was growing but there was no institute to offer a course in it. He juggled with both jobs but his eagerness to start his own institute kept growing. The big break came in the year 1991 when a sick enterprise doing job-work in DTP went up for sale. Priya Vrat's modest earnings bore fruit and he acquired it.

"The first batch for DTP learners managed just fifteen students, but I was too excited about the future to bother about the humble start," says the entrepreneur, who within a year gave up both his jobs with NIIT and Aaj to busy himself fulltime with his ever growing student strength. He christened his institute, Allied Computers. Coming from a family of educationists, teaching comes naturally to Priya Vrat and despite his busy schedule, he makes it a point to interact with students regularly. "Procuring trained staff was a major challenge, so I would train the trainers first," he shares.

" ‘Right from my school days I knew I had leadership skills in me.’ "

Allied Computers' popularity grew everyday, but the craze for DTP was on the decline and other teaching institutes had mushroomed. So, yet, again he found himself at the crossroads. Priya Vrat rose to the occasion and developed the Electronics Manual and Programme Accounting Technology programme (EMP package).

With a plethora of computer courses available in the market it was becoming difficult for a student to master all. Moreover, every course was available with a different vendor which put them beyond the reach of the common man. This package from Allied Computers was the answer to the unique situation. Priya Vrat customised a one-year learning programme which encompassed all aspects of computer learning and he clubbed it under the EMP umbrella. The course was designed to address all needs of a student and prepare him for job placement too.

Thus, English speaking and Personality Development capsules, which are important inputs for students coming from remote districts of Bihar, were incorporated in the programme. It does not end here. A programme with its actual worth in the market of about a lakh of rupees was made available for a fraction of its price, for as low as Rs 25,000. It was an instant hit. Nearly 500 students enrolled in the first term. quot;The trust reposed in us became a major impetus for growth and development. I have never refused admission to any student in the last 20 years of this institute.

" ‘The trust reposed in us became a major impetus for growth and development.’ "

I even offer to teach free of cost if I see the need," says Vrat. Sustaining the unique programme is a strong team of professionals sharing Priya Vrat's dream of 'computer excellence for all'. He has also developed a model that caters to the additional needs of students pertaining to counselling, ensuring strict discipline and zero drop-out rate, hostel, food and lodging facilities at nominal costs. Allied Computers has already trained more than 10,000 students with an impressive job placement record.

His endeavours were recognised by the Government of India when he was awarded the "Excellence in Computer Training" in the year 2008. A proud moment for the true son of Bihar. The temperament and inclination seem to have rubbed off on the children. Theirs is a nuclear family of four. The two children of Priya and Rupam, Shree Priya and Dev Vrat, following on the footsteps of their father, are computer enthusiasts. Shree Priya wants to pose for the camera with her mini notebook gifted on her birthday by her father, while Dev looks on with interest.

Rupam, continues to play a very supportive role in the big dream of Priya Vrat by ensuring he is kept free from the worries of home management. Over the years she has shouldered the responsibility of the upbringing of the children and all concerns of home and hearth have been totally her’s alone. But the energetic entrepreneur who hardly sees free time in his busy life, promptly offers to prepare his favourite dish for the crew, paneer-do-pyazaa, the cuisine mastered during his bachelor days. It is indeed a delight to watch this entrepreneur, used to operating in office, handle culinary assignments with equal elan!

"He loves dhokla too," claims Rupam. For one who sports a simple yet well groomed look, his wife says, "He not only shops for himself but also for the entire household." The blueprint of future plans for his business is ready and it is just a matter of time, he says, when Patna would see a modern learning college offering the best and the latest in the domain of computers. "But this will be within financial reach for all," he emphasises. The land has been acquired and the plans have been drawn and finalised. Priya Vrat is ready, as usual, to move to the next level of learning and excellence.