CHENNAI: With a strict warning from the State government against conducting summer special classes in view of the soaring temperature, higher secondary students from Tamil Nadu have started flocking to Thrissur in Kerala for NEET coaching.
Compared to the relatively new private coaching centres that have come up in Tamil Nadu, students, particularly those from western and southern districts, prefer established centres like ‘Professor P C Thomas Classes’ in Kerala, which have a better track record.
Schools in Tamil Nadu generally conduct special classes during summer holidays for Class X and XI students to complete the syllabus before December (half-yearly exams). “Now that the department of school education has warned of action against schools that conduct them, students have started looking for alternatives,” said a government school teacher from Madurai, requesting anonymity.
The teacher added that private coaching centres in Kerala, which routinely produce toppers in national-level entrance tests, have made the most of it as they have a better track record in training students from CBSE background.
It is learnt that these centres charge somewhere between Rs 18,000 to Rs 1 lakh for these summer classes. “Apart from the fact that coaching standards are way better compared to centres in Chennai and other tier-II cities in Tamil Nadu, lesser distractions and cost were other factors which made me chose Thrissur,” said M Vignesh, a Krishnagiri-based student.
Most of the students stay in hostels or share their rooms in paying guest accommodations by paying nearly Rs 10,000 per month.
“While those who can afford to spend have sent their wards to neighbouring states, others have opted for local private coaching centres,” said educationist Prince Gajendra Babu, adding that, some have even borrowed money from local moneylenders for this purpose.
A Class XII student from a private matriculation school in Coimbatore said she hardly had time to eat and sleep as she has to attend tuition classes for subjects before regular school hours and NEET coaching after 6 pm. Unable to handle the stress, the 16-year-old had to seek intervention for relief.
R Vishalakshi from Tamil Nadu Private Matriculation School Association said, “Classrooms are the best place for students to be in during summer. There was no necessity to close the schools as students reach the campus before the temperatures peak and leave around 4-4.30 pm when it is not that hot.”
A school education department official admitted that schools have to conduct additional classes during the weekend and after regular working hours (till 5.30 pm) to complete the syllabus on time as half-yearly question papers were based on complete syllabus.