There is a point when someone has to draw a line. With every passing year, every new coaching institute is polluting the academic environs of the city with their loot. More and more struggling parents and helpless children, in search of ‘assured success’ are getting caught in the web of their vicious conspiracy. So The Live Nagpur has decided to be the voice of the thousands and thousands being smothered due to this greed.
One could count the number of coaching institutes in the city on fingertips. Over a 100 such institutes professing to prepare students for a motley entrance and competitive examinations have mushroomed all over the city. Some of these are branches of multi-state coaching giants who are a brand themselves. Add to them the many local players with ambitions of making the big buck and the city flashes a coaching centre board in almost every locality.
Until the year 2004, fewer students than today appeared for medical and engineering entrance examinations. Hence the number of coaching institutes was also proportionately lesser. But by the year 2006, coaching centres from Delhi, Kota and Bhopal opened their franchise in the city. They started aggressive campaigns targeted to raise the expectations of students and parents. They claimed that admission to IITs is possible only if a student prepares at their institute.
The fees then were less than Rs 40,000 per year. But as they succeeded in their systematically hatched campaigns playing on the insecurities and dreams of both parents and children, they could tighten their grip. They became the leeches sucking out hard-earned money from the coffers of parents. The modus operandi is simple. As more and more students start believing that their success is totally dependent to preparing at such institutes, the easier it became to hike the fee structure. Currently coaching centres charging over Rs 1 lakh is very common. This fee is higher than the most reputed CBSE or State board schools in the city. In less than two decades the noble profession of teaching has transformed into a blood-sucking business with no barriers or fear.
What is even distressing is that these coaching institutes with a single point agenda are undermining the value of school education. Students are encouraged to ditch schools so that they can give more time to coaching centres. Most also have a tie-up with schools and colleges themselves reducing these institutes aimed at giving holistic academic environment to sheer non-entities. Is the state government unaware of these evils? The answer is ‘NO.’ Is the obvious stopping the government from acting against these institutes or regulating them?
On several occasions, demand to regulate coaching centres have been raised but none of them could draw the attention of policy makers. Not only do the coaching institute owners make their own rules, but also rarely hesitate to break a few. Several coaching institutes cross the line when in the veil of providing cash discount, they are actually evading taxes. At such times there are no receipts. Fees are accepted only in cash.
Over the last 12 years, the trend of preparing for entrance examinations like JEE, a joint entrance examination conducted for admissions to Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), the most premier engineering colleges in the country, has gained popularity. The craze for medical coaching has also increased. Until last year, entrance examinations for admission to various medical colleges were conducted separately and coaching institutes used to take full advantage of it.
For instance, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), one of the most reputed medical colleges in the country, used to conduct its own entrance examination. Coaching centres used to offer various packages making tall claims about selection in these examinations.
The rules were changed to make way for a unified entrance exam system to medical courses. But this made little difference to the coaching centres. These institutes claim that their students have qualified for top medical and engineering colleges across the country. The report card of multi-state chains prima-facie is even more attractive. But here is the hitch; the success of students from Nagpur is not really revealed. Even at the time of admissions, these institutes have a way of holding back information. Information which can benefit them is passed on to the parents, while some really relevant questions go unanswered.
There is an urgent need to regulate these coaching centres to safeguard the future of students. It is time the state government woke up from its slumber and parents as well as students stop, think and then decide without infused fear.
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