engineering-education
Planning, Public Issues, Strategy

IIT and AIEEE coaching classes – Villians or Necessary evils

Article by a Guest Strater – Ankur Singh.

In the 1st week of October, Mr. Narayan Murthy, one of the greatest visionaries of our times, said at a Pan-IIT conference that quality of IIT students is falling because of coaching classes. Few days later, Mr. Chetan Bhagat, a noted engineer-turned-novelist, remarked that Narayan Murthy could have been gentler in his comments. He even slammed Infosys as a “body shop” and said that one should look into the system and not criticize students.

Both of them had a point. The falling quality of IITians may indeed be true. Mr Murthy has been in industry for long and he may have observed that. However, putting the blame straight-away on coaching centres may not be right. The main criticism leveled against coaching centres is that they kill the innovation instincts of students. That coaching centres are actually producing dull students.
Let’s take a look at an alternate scenario. Suppose that there are no coaching centres. Everybody prepares for engineering entrance exams with help of the education provided by school. Now consider what is taught in the school and what is asked in the entrance exams. The concept may be the same but the difference comes in the level of practice provided by schools and the level that exams like IIT-JEE and AIEEE demand. Almost 99% of Indian schools worry about the result of class XII board exams. And here we see the reality. The board exams are so easy (at least those for Maths stream) that anybody who has studied Maths sincerely for 2 months may score 95+ marks. Do coaching centres kill the innovation instincts will always remain a debatable question but most of the students who both take coaching classes and pass entrance exams with good ranks are hard-working and well-versed in basics. They have a good background of Physics-Chemistry-Maths and are better prepared to take on the rigors of college academic system. So who is better, a 99% school topper with fragile concepts or a 90% percent scoring student with good knowledge-base of Maths and Science? The choice is not difficult to make.

Another keypoint is that Mr Murthy said that quality has been going down “OF LATE”. Now coaching centres have been there since 1980s. Hence, some recent phenomenon must have aided this downfall. And that could well be the unnecessary increase in quota for backward classes. I am not against helping the needy but one must understand there is no feedback mechanism in this quota system. Government passes the law for increasing the seats and then walks away. What they should actually do is to see if the students who got admission via quota are actually doing well or not. Analyse their performance in college, look at the jobs they have got or the research they have done. I, being an IITian and a placement student-head of an IIT, know that the results, as measured by these parameters, are grim. It clearly states that help must be given, but not as reserved seats in premier institutes but compulsory primary and secondary education.

This is where our government should rise from deep slumber. Rather than making blunders like increasing the quota or making the Class-12th exams easier and “stress-free”, the curriculum and the level of papers should be re-modelled. The logic is simple, if the Boards exams for science students are difficult enough, then they would not need any coaching preparation for entrance exams.

The fault lies in our education system. That’s why I mentioned in the beginning that Mr Bhagat had a point. As we don’t have a good-enough class 11-12th education level, coaching centres are actually doing this country a favor. I am not saying that they are a necessity but to make them redundant would require a considerable effort on the part of government and a sound thinking on the part of guardians, parents and students. I request all of you to express your views on this glaring educational issue of our time.

Notes from the Editor: This is an article contributed by Ankur Singh – A guest strater. Ankur works as a Strategy and Operations Analyst with Deloitte Consulting and studied at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi earlier. The article serves as an eye opener about the value added by Engineering Entrance Exam coaching centers in the Indian Education Ecosystem. We look forward to more insights from Ankur in the coming months. Also, the views expressed are author’s own and Strat.in neither supports or opposes them. Strat.in is a forum for thought provoking discussions and will continue to remain so.

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8 thoughts on “IIT and AIEEE coaching classes – Villians or Necessary evils

  1. Santosh says:

    Another question is also about whether normal, middle class citizens and whether they can afford such coaching classes . How can someone who does not earn much really afford such expensive classes?

  2. Jay says:

    Don’t we know this already? The fact is that those with the authority are not willing to accept facts… In fact they are turning a blind eye to them

  3. Ankur says:

    @Jay.. I agree that the most of us are aware about disadvantages of increasing quota in premier institutes… However, i have rarely seen a discussion or debate among general public about the quality of the boards paper… That is what prompted me to write the article….

    @Meenal & Santosh – agree with both of you.. I strongly believe that if schools on the lines of super-30 of Bihar can be started that it would be a huge boost. I do agree that in the beginning there would be few schools and the strength has to be low (for better student – teacher interaction) but if the idea becomes a success then later it could be moulded into a mass-scale education model.

  4. SANJAY MAHESWARI says:

    If you look at the best quality of teachers in school, you would find that they are not competent enough to teach subjects such as Maths, Physics and Chemistry in a satisfactory manner. Forget the extra-ordinary quality of teaching in school.
    I am an engineer myself and passed entrance exam. without any tution or coaching class.
    When we used to ask our professors (at that time class 11 and 12th were in college also- year 1985-1986) or teachers, they turned speechless.
    Recently, I went to Kota and saw a demo of Electrodynamics in their computer room, where students were sitting on individual computers to watch the recorded lectures they missed, I was really impressed with the quality of explanation offered by the teacher during teaching. Indeed, too good.
    I wished, they were there during our times. We could have learned more and better in less time.
    They is no problem in the Coaching class. In India, Govt. hates success in any form. One you excel in any field, you become bad in the eye of the Government.
    It is altogether a different aspect though that Government fails in whatever it takes in its hand. IIT is one such exception.
    In the villages of India, you will find teachers of schools wasting time and doing politics and taking huge salary, but nobody minds as long as they are not good enough in their work. After all, it is public money going down the drain.
    Those who have problems with the Coaching classes are typical stupids with mental blockage.
    There are not a few, but lakhs of other burning issues that need to be addressed in India, but who cares.
    Consider mining, there is a big loot, but no politician cares, as long as they get money.
    Money has become the actual religion in India. In fact, the Coaching Classes should be opened to teach foolproof way of siphoning money from the Indian exchequer. I hope nobody will object.
    Right, politicians.
    …………GREATGREATGREAT.

  5. SANJAY MAHESWARI says:

    Kota is one such city that turned education Mecca of its own, without any Government help. Had it been another country, Shri V. K. Bansal, the CEO of Bansal Classes would nave got Bharat Ratna, but not in India. Even one American Magazine appreciated his work. If you get money by rendering good education, there cannot be anything better.
    But here in India, you loot the system like Kalmadi, Raja and Yeddurappa, etc. and be happy. Nobody has a problem.
    Here, Smt. Pratibha Patil displaced (with due respect and honour to her from my side) Dr. Abdul Kalam, and nobody has anything to say or think.
    Gentelmen, it is time to think for the country.

  6. Ankur says:

    @Sanjay, I appreciate your point …. I believe that during your school time, boards exams were of good level. Now if the current level is again raised to that height and if schools properly structure their science classes with high remuneration to teachers (to all teachers of XI and XII) then don’t you think students could get quality education in school itself…. what do you say?

  7. SANJAY MAHESWARI says:

    Sir,
    In best of the schools like Don Bosco, Mahadevi Birla, if you go to principals with complaints like a particular teacher is not teaching well, no. of days of schooling is less, course was not completed, etc., they simply tell you to take your ward off the school. Such is their attitude, especially good ones. None of their act is democratic.
    In such an atmosphere, if you think that a productive atmosphere can be created, you are highly optimistic.
    Ground realities in our country is absolutely dissimilar to statistical claims or imagination.
    Simple fact prevails. Pay money and learn. If you are poor, just remember that you are born to cast votes. For other matters, you are unwanted.

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