KACHI:The education system is no longer the vision that was seen and preached by the greats like Tagore. He was one of the first in India to argue for a humane educational system that was in touch with the environment and aimed at the overall development of the personality of a student. However, today, what matters the most is getting good marks and clearing the entrance examinations for admissions to the professional courses. This craze has led to an influx of coaching centres in the state. Many of these centres have already made their presence felt in the northern states.
According to Monu Seth, an education expert, in the past one could count the number of coaching centres on a single hand. “But now you require more than two hands to count them. Entrance coaching whether it is for engineering, medicine, UPSC, PSC or bank tests, has become a lucrative business,” he said.
“It is a race. Everyone wants to be in it since it is believed that once you clear the entrance and join a professional course, you are on the right career path. It is like saying goodbye to worries,” he said. But studying in a coaching centre is like hello worries and goodbye happiness for the student, he added. According to him, parents don’t realise the pressure and torture they are making their kids undergo.
“In Kerala, every other parent wants his or her son or daughter to clear the IIT-JEE exam. It is considered a prestige. So, they push their children towards achieving their set goals,” said Anu Susan Varghese, a teacher. “Right from the time the child enters Class VIII, the parents start searching for feasible coaching packages for their kids. All this has contributed to the growth of coaching centres. They offer lucrative packages for which the parents fall hook, line and sinker,” she said.
According to Dr Binoy Abraham, a nephrologist, in the past when he cleared his pre-degree and decided to try for medicine entrance, only a few coaching centres were functioning in Kerala. “I joined Brilliant Study Centre in Pala. At that time it was a small ramshackle structure. But now it has grown into a huge establishment. This shows how good the prospects are for a coaching centre,” he said.
The competition is also high among them, he added. “With new players coming in, the older institutes have begun giving tempting plans that include complete tuition fee-waiver. All the student has to do is register and appear for the entrance examinations conducted by these coaching centres,” he said. However, according to the education expert, it is a ploy. “Of course you will get a 100 per cent fee waiver, but you will have to spend around Rs one lakh for books, development fee and other miscellaneous things,” said the expert.
“It is a mess,” said Seth. “A lot of discrimination based on the marks scored by the students too happens at these institutions. Also in many centres, around 100 or more students are forced to share a single teacher. In many cases, the teachers appointed by the institutions are BTech pass outs. This again is a violation of the rules set by the government. Also, it is seen many of these institutions have tie-ups with various schools,” he said.
“Taking a cue from the above scenario, CBSE had issued a circular, dated February 6, 2014, to restrain coaching culture and banned the conduction of coaching classes within school premises and holding coaching classes during school hours. Despite this order, many of the coaching centres are brazenly flouting these rules,” he added. According to him, this scenario is having a negative impact on those students who have not joined the coaching classes.
“Regular students of these schools are being overlooked by the school authorities,” said Babu Varghese, parent of a Class XII student.