By Mayank Gupta:
Amidst all the negatives about the education hub of Kota, there is a positive side since the inception of Kota for the mentoring of IIT and Medical aspirants. I choose mentoring over coaching because now a days, the word ‘coaching’ is portrayed in a bad light. If it is coaching someone to crack engineering or medical exams then it is portrayed like robbing students of their money. People crack jokes on the theme, “Hey, Kota is losing its sheen”. I want them to understand that it is because of people like you who made Kota this popular. Parents want their wards to succeed and Kota plays a pivotal role in doing so and this is the reason why Kota is popular as an education hub.
I will take my example as I feel that would be better to explain. I belong to a middle class family where both my parents are working. Just like any other parent, they had a dream to see me and my elder brother succeed. They had sent my brother for a year to Kota in 2002 to prepare for IIT and he managed to grab a seat in NIT Jaipur. It was a reason for my parents to rejoice. As I was a mediocre student and showed no signs of intelligence in the early days of schooling, seeing my brother’s success owing to Kota, they planned to send me to Kota just after Class 10. I prepared here for 2 years, didn’t get through and dropped another year. Next thing I know, I cracked the IIT-JEE, got admission in the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata (IISER), because my rank was not that good. Fast forward to 2016, my brother and I are working in great organisations and we both own flats in Jaipur and Mumbai respectively. We consider ourselves successful as we are happily working. In a nutshell, there have been numerous examples known to me, who owe their success to Kota.
Some may question as to why the fields of engineering and medicine have been given so much importance. In India, which is home to a sizable middle class population, you would, perhaps, expect them to advise their wards to opt for fields other than science. A child has every right to pursue his interest. If someone wants to become a successful cricketer or a successful actor, that person will have to understand that only a few do make that mark. Is it necessarily ideal to expect a middle class parent to advise their wards to go for a career which seems highly vulnerable? Many IITians have made their marks in the entertainment industry. They have eventually pursued their interest. They were meant to become successful in entertainment industry but they got the right platform at IIT where they have realised their hidden talents.
Most people have started to mentioning the low selection rate of Kota. In the early 2000s, Kota has been known for its high selection rate then what really happened in the subsequent 12-15 years? It is just that people have become more aware and started sending their children from all parts of India. Kota has seen an exponential rise in students however engineering and medical seats did not increase in the same proportion.
The influence of marks that one scores on board exams is a myth. Please do not judge a student by his/her marks scored on the board exam. These marks certainly do not determine how one will perform in competitive exams. These marks are the measure of the ‘mugging power’ of students. The problem is rooted in elementary education where a student is given marks only when he/she writes exactly what is given in the text book. I have seen many students doing exceptionally well despite having scored low in their board exams and students failing miserably even after scoring very high in their board exams. The level demanded by the IIT/Medical Entrance exams is no match to the level of education in school. Students look for coaching outside schools as schools nowadays are inefficient in satisfying the academic hunger of students. Instead of targeting Kota coaching or any other coaching, schools should focus on improving their teaching standards. Also, I believe that coaching institutes in Kota enable students to think innovatively and creatively while increasing mental ability.
Why do institutes in Kota charge so high? Well, to maintain the high standards, they are bound to charge high. And those who can’t afford it are given numerous scholarships to cope up with their expenses. There are institutes that provide regular scholarships based on merit to economically weaker students which takes care of their tuition fees and living expenses. Coaching institutes receives the flak of media about charging high fees but not many seem to pay attention to the number of scholarships given by them. This has eventually lifted the living standards of thousands of families. Otherwise they could have never thought of reaching such institutes of repute which were earlier only in the reach of affluent kids.
Nowadays, many have started accusing coaching institutes in Kota of placing too much stress on students which has lead students to take extreme steps. I want them to know that students are given the utmost care in Kota. ALLEN is the only coaching institute in Kota which has started the concept of ‘doubt counters’. It is quite helpful for students who have missed classes or have some doubts. Students, here, are allotted faculty members as mentors at the start of the session with whom they can ask any personal issue concerning hostel, food etc. Also, sports activities have been introduced in every building to reduce stress among students. Students in classes are also encouraged to talk to faculty members regarding any issue bothering them and every issue is taken care of. We are the ones whom students rely on the most as we take care of their comprehensive needs such as which form to fill, what to study when, how to act smart in exams etc. And we are continuously working hard to make it even better.
It’s raining results in Kota and it is the result of the tremendous hard work and collective efforts of faculty members and the admin staff that work here.
We, as faculty members, not only teach students but live for them, as it gives us so much pride in nurturing young minds which would eventually make the future. This is the way we touch the future. And we are proud of it.
I touch the future. I teach.
The author is part of the Physics Faculty (JEE Mains Division) At ALLEN, Kota.