I hardly receive any letter these days. However, today I found someone has placed a nice envelope in my letterbox. Out of inquisitiveness, I opened it and glanced through the content. It was from some ‘Concept Square- Total Commitment for IIT-JEE/PMTs coaching’. ‘After grand success of last year in Faridabad, Delhi, and Patna, Concept Square has opened its branch in Noida.’ Courses are of two years for students of Class XI (Rs 35,500), and one year for those in class XII or who have passed XII (Rs. 60,500). Service taxes are extra. One is to start by paying Rs 15,500 at the time of admission, and Rs 7,500 in subsequent months (till total fee is paid). Surprisingly, it claims to provide benefits from IIT faculties too. To authenticate its capability, it enclosed a list of 9 students ranking 52 to 3992.
Concept Square must be one of the thousands of coaching centers running in the country. Many of these must be running with very ordinary teachers. Many must be charging a fortune. I am sure there are not many ‘Super30 type’ institutes that take in only students of deprived class and bear all their expenditures for the coaching period. The government that is so much concerned about equity must understand that the capacity to pay for these coaching centres must be the first obstacle for the students from the deprived and poor class and cause of heartburning. Can the government pay for the expenditure in coaching for those students based on the recommendations of their schools? As I understand it will be impossible. How can the system of admission be changed so that the coaching is not needed?
How do the students come to know about the authenticity of a capable enough coaching center when the number is mushrooming so fast before joining one at huge cost to the parents? Can the IITs of the region or some other agencies rate them on basis of some measurable criteria and the fees be standardized instead of their charging any amount like specialized doctors based on demand and supply?
Why can’t IIT devise an entrance examination that discourages or eliminates the necessity of a coaching industry? I still think that BITS, Pilani way of selection can be one way out. But I am sure that if all these institutes of national importance so decide, some innovative measures can be found to eliminate the role of coaching centre and growing of a famous coaching town such as Kota with so many coaching shops. It is a necessity to save the additional and unnecessary cost to the parents of the aspiring students that in millions.
Many a time I get an inkling that the IITs themselves are responsible for this cancerous growth of coaching centers in the country and many of its faculties are behind it. But one thing is sure that these coaching centers are not adding any values to the knowledge. It only provides a way to succeed in the examinations. I don’t know if there is any study about the relationship of the ranks in the entrance examination and the final grading of a passed out graduate engineer or doctor and with the success in professional career.
I think my own days, when there were no coaching centres not even the postal ones, we could succeed to get in IIT, and also did fairly well in life with almost no relation with the ranks in different examinations in our education system.
IIT and other similar institutes must go all out to end the coaching cult. And I am sure that it is technically possible. The open book examinations in our first year where we were allowed to take all books used to be the toughest. Why can’t the same concept do away with coaching? This will be a great service to the nation. It will be possible unless they believe that coaching centres can only provide jobs to their graduates.