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The great Indian tuition and coaching industry

The great Indian tuition and coaching industry


The massive social pull of tuitions at all levels today have made coaching classes parallel to India's formal education system. Patricia Mascarenhas takes a peek into these alternate avenues of education
Coaching classes today have become a part of a child's daily routine. The popularity of these classes has increased by almost 35 per cent in the past six years. The trend, which was once considered vexing by parents, is now utterly unavoidable.
An industry in themselves, coaching classes are no longer an option but a necessity. A recent survey reveales that 87 per cent of primary school and 95 per cent of high school students in metros receive private tutoring. "It is estimated that the number of private tutors now exceeds the number of school/college teachers," informs Anil Thomas, founder, Thomas tutorials.
What is surprising is that instead of coming up with innovative ways to save the sanctity of the institution, our education system has now joined hands with their competitors, and the classes are conducted under one roof.
"There are certain colleges that have separate fee counters and timetables for these private sector players," says Thomas. Through this collaboration, classes get recognition and the college or school allegedly gets commission. "A single year course/ training amounts to about Rs 3 to 4 lakhs, so the cut could range anwhere between Rs 6,000 – 15,000 per student," informs Thomas adding that the commission depends on the nature of collaboration.
The official website of Rao IIT Academy has a list of all their Mumbai tie-ups. While sources at RAO-IIT refused to comment on this, institutions figuring on the list deny that they have any partnership with the coaching class. "We had only rented out our classrooms to Rao IIT Academy for coaching students for the IIT entrance," says Harsha Mehta, principal, SIES, which is one of the institutions on the Rao's list.
She claims that they had rented out the classrooms to enable students to attend all lectures and to save them the trouble of shuttling between college/school and coaching classes.
Though the authorities see this collaboration as time saving and helpful, in reality it seems, this isn't the case. "In fact, we end up spending a lot more time and a lot more money," says Pearl Gonsalves, student. "Tuitions give students a reason not to pay attention in class, since all the learning is done there, they don't value what has been taught in school," says Lorraine D'mello, secondary teacher, Fr. Agnel High School.
Some academicians however, look such tie-ups from different perspectives. "There is nothing wrong if colleges rent out classrooms for IIT training as it doesn't affect the academic teachings," says Sunil Mantri, principal, SVKM's Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics. But the problem arises if it affects the academic learning, he says. "It isn't fair to the students if the classes are conducted during the college hour as the institutions are formed around and for students," he adds.
The tie-ups however, have become a reality. What's more, private classes are not only attracting students but also quality teachers from mainstream institutes. "Many teachers are now quitting in droves and making a beeline for private tutorials," informs Thomas.
There are number reasons for this. Some include the fact that each year the number of students in a class increases and so does the workload and the curriculum, but what stays standard is the teacher's pay scale.
The private tuition business on the other hand is lucrative because teachers earn more giving tuition than from their salaries. "Here the timing is flexible, the students are less in number so we're able to give each student much one-on-one time and the pay is better," says Prerna Das (name changed) who quit her job as a teacher and started her own private coaching class.
Besides, the coaching class environment is different. "Here it means business to us," says Thomas. Unlike most schools and colleges, every lecture given needs commitment and quality "because we're accountable to the students'success. It's the only way we can keep the business running," he says. Das agrees, "In schools/colleges, once the student takes admission, teachers are not worried about them leaving. But as a private tutor, you have to do a bit of client servicing and make sure all the students get extra attention and take some knowledge back home," she adds.
But do students need this training? "The curriculum for board exams and CET is almost the same but the orientation is different so the training required is different," says Kiran Mangaonkar, principal, Sonopant Dandekar College, Palghar. However, it isn't something that can't be taught by our regular teachers, he says. "Teachers are capable of providing training for these entrance exams but they should be motivated to teach, the management should pursue this and have in house teachers rather than encouraging or having integrated classes," he signs off.

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