CUDDALORE: Around 400 students of Class 11 and 12 in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore district may not be allowed to write the final board exams. Reason: the school education department has found that they have been skipping the school for months together to attend special coaching classes for competitive exams like NEET and IIT JEE.
A surprise check by the school education officials on January 18 in a private coaching centre at Neyveli town in the district has brought the issue to light. The officials told Express they are awaiting more details and yet to take a call on allowing the students to write the board exams since they would obviously be lacking the minimum eligible school attendance level to take the board exams.
Most of the students in the private coaching centre run by Sri Shunmuga Educational Trust private were reportedly enrolled in private schools in neighbouring towns like Virudhachalam or Kovur. Some students have enrolled even in schools in Chennai and it is alleged that these students have been skipping classes for the last few months while some proxies mark their attendance or the schools tend to be lenient on these students. Education department officials said they have found that around 200 students of Class XII and 200 students of Class XI were studying in the centre by skipping their schools for months.
Neyveli town, which is known for its lignite mines and the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), is a renowned for its coaching centres for competitive exams like NEET and JEE. Not just the staff and officials of the NLC, even parents from far away places send their children to the coaching centres in Neyveli to prepare for the competitive entrance exams. "The classes start at 7 am and go on till 7 pm. The fee per year is Rs 2.50 lakh. The students do not attend schools and spend all their time at this coaching institute. Most of the students do not have a choice due to their parents' pressure. There is one more coaching center inside Neyveli township functioning on the similar line," said a resident of Neyveli who didn't want to be identified.
The concerns about preparations for the entrance exams taking away the attention children pay to the school education is already raised even at the national level.
When contacted by Express, Thirumurgan, District Educational Officer, Cuddalore, said, "While conducting a surprise inspection on January 18, we found that the coaching center did not have any proper authorisation. We have given them time to rectify the issues. Soon we will conduct another inspection." When asked about if the students will be barred from taking the board exams, he said, "We are yet to decide on the matter."
The officials of Sri Shunmuga Educational Trust were not available for comments despite repeated attempts by Express.