Coaching Centers: Do We Even Need Them?

Posted on December 16, 2010 in Education

By Srishti Chauhan:

  1. Go on a coaching institute website.
  2. Click on the “Available programs” link.

Post this; do not blame me for any distress received.

Institutes have programs starting from Class VI. Institutes that earlier had programs for people who had passed Class XII have expanded to the extent that now a 12 year old is as likely to be enrolled in a coaching institute as an 18 year old.

A storm of questions regarding the education system in India has propped up in my mind. Is it alright to do away with chunks of syllabus that a student might need to clear the engineering or medical exams? It is okay to widen the gap between school education and entrance exam courses?

The education ministry, since the past decade has been on the path of simplification of the syllabus that a student has to study in each class. The senior classes experience continual omission from their syllabus. The fissure between the two stages (of Class XII and entrances) is the reason for mushrooming of unquantifiable number of coaching centres.

Furthermore, the breach between the level of Science in class X and that in classes XI and XII is so massive that it sometimes takes a student a whole year to get used to the fact that Class X course has little to do with Class XI course. This leads to a loss in the faith in the system of central education.

This “business” opportunity is very timely utilized by the coaching centres. Enrolling a batch of close to 5000 students and charging near about Rs. 80,000 from them guarantees huge profits and salaries to the staff and founders respectively. The coaching business, in itself, has become a multi-million industry today.

The coaching centres actually function as “Coaxing Centres” where students and their parents are engulfed in the panorama of seeing their child at the zenith of success in a few years time. Those who are confused about the choices they want to make in the future are affected more by this inveigling. Those who end up joining these institutes are continually made to believe that not bagging a seat in a good college is the worst possible mistake they can commit in their lives. Following this, any student unable to do the same is doomed as a failure. Independent studies show that this leads to potent depression tendencies.

After joining these institutes, students are forced into a hectic lifestyle of attending school and then rushing back home only to get ready to go to a coaching institute where they will be taught for the next 4 hours. For those who had some foresight and thought it’ll be difficult for their child to cope up with such chaotic schedule, the coaching institutes had a solution! Ta-da! Weekend coaching! Nice idea, you thought? It probably would have been had the coaching on weekends not been for 9 hours straight.

A coaching centre in Kota is the icing on the cake. Students actually take crash courses to get enrolled in these centres providing coaching for entrances. It’s a multi-level swindle that students end up playing the central character in.

So you would think that despite all these very prominent shortcomings, why would any sane parent get their child enrolled in these institutes? Well, the answer is simple. The lucrative proposal of seeing their child in one of the best colleges of the nation is too much to resist. Also, people, in general, have a habit of either underestimating or overestimating themselves. In this case, overestimation of the capabilities of children does it.

So, all said and done, how can this be solved? Or do we just let things be so?

Well, the first and foremost thing that is required is a deeper look into tertiary education by the education ministry itself. A balanced syllabus containing much of what students need for their exams — so that they don’t have to hunt for outside help- and the need to put a check on the coaching centres, that lure thousands of people every year, is the need of the hour. The two levels of education cannot be dissonant with one another. For a harmonious journey through schooling years, it is necessary that the government, the parents as well as the children make conscious decision of what they want and how much they are willing to sacrifice for it- for childhood does not return in case you miss it.