Govt must halt unholy nexus

Pvt Coaching Centres

By Dhurjati Mukherjee

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education has recently recommended to the government to curb the growing unholy nexus between colleges and coaching centres, a trend academics attribute to centralised entrance tests. The Committee highlighted other challenges with higher education such as cheating in examinations, leakage of question papers and student-examiner connivance, which too need the government’s urgent attention.
In its report, it has referred to the “disturbing trend of many colleges associating with coaching centres to prepare their enrolled students in certain cities, making the learning process a farce through this unholy nexus”. The committee recommended that the government develop a mechanism to curb this trend and derecognise the institutions involved. It also suggested the ‘establishment of a study group to assess the ground realities.’
The report also stated that certain State and deemed universities and local colleges are engaged in a tough competition to attract students and has asked the government to bring a halt to it. This practice, said the report, has led not just to crass confusion but a feeling of being cheated amongst the students and their guardians.” Experts are of the opinion that students are no longer interested in serious study and attending classes regularly and instead are interested to get admitted into ‘dummy’ schools that collaborate with coaching centres to receive suggestions and/or question papers. The House panel underlined that question paper leaks, student-examiner collaboration were vitiating the examination process in many State universities.
Going deeper into the matter, it is quite discernible that the very motive of coaching institutes or coaching centres has only promoted ‘commercialisation of education’ in the country. It is well-known that students need to cough up huge amount of money in the form of fees to get into such institutes. At the same time, whether the student can pay such a huge fee is of no concern to those who are at the helm of affairs in such institutes. In this way, money motive guides such institutes in its day-to-day affairs. Education, which is considered to be a right of every individual, has unfortunately turned out to be a commercial product. In such a scenario, imparting education is in the grip of commercial coaching centres thereby, making a mockery of the very divine nature of attainment of education insofar as India is concerned.
With the commercialisation of education, it has been seen that such coaching centres are mostly located in the vicinity of government aided educational institutes. This lures both the teachers and the pupils/students of such educational institutes to turn to these coaching institutes instead of developing their own educational institutes. There are hoardings/banners of the coaching classes near schools and colleges. In the long run, such commercialisation instigates both the teacher-student combine to coaching classes. Coaching it could be said has become an addiction and the spread of qualitative education an eventual casualty.
Presently, situation has come to such a pass that, in most cases, class rooms in the educational institutes, mostly government, are empty as the pupils/students are busy in house-packed coaching institutes. In some coaching classes, the number of pupils/students is even more then the regular classes of schools or colleges. Experts believe that in such coaching classes there is little scope for doubt clearing and personal attention and emphasis is paid on to rush through various academic syllabus, within deadline.
The mushrooming of coaching centres is a fast-track mechanism invented to earn a fast buck and thus there are ills associated with it. First, it is advertently or inadvertently deviating students from their normal procedure of studies by inculcating the habit of studying for few weeks as they are promised success in exams through ‘shortcut coaching.’Second, many below average students avoid making the effort to make up on their learning process by attending regular classrooms only.
The astute teachers, finding anopportunity to exploit and make a buck, run or teach in private shops or tuition centres at their homes or big coaching institutes, influence students they would be provided with ready-made notes and suggestions which they have to memorise or rote learning for the exams. This is blocking the independent thinking abilities of the students in different perspectives as they concentrate solely on the written notes sold & supplied to them.
Thirdly, teachers too get enticed and deviate from their basic paid responsibilities of teaching and training students in schools and colleges. Most of these teachers do not take the pains to teach properly in their institutions and may also not be punctual in their attendance. Clearly, their attention is diverted to the coaching centres where they spend time teaching and earning extra money. Thus private coaching centres do roaring business by turning normal dedicated honest teachers to wealthy elite ‘educationists’. These so-called ‘elite-teachers’ have converted education into a purely commercial activity that is harming our society.
The upper echelons of society find it a lucrative business to invest in this booming sector where they spend money on infrastructure, quality teachers and aggressive marketing with sole objective of reaping enormous returns on the one-time investment, like true businessmen. Through a specially crafted network, they get the best teachers who are used to attract students to the coaching centres. The urge of the rich and middle class as also a section of the lower income groups send their wards to coaching centres in the hope that their children will get more marks and qualify for a medical, engineering or pure science seat in a reputed institution.
Educationists have expressed concern over the lack of regulations in the coaching industry. It has been stated that while there are umpteen regulations that govern schools like classroom size, teacher-student ratio and teacher qualification, there is nothing set for a coaching centre. In fact, in response to a RTI, the CBSE admitted that it had no jurisdiction over coaching centres or ‘dummy schools’ as it had no jurisdiction over these. It needs to be mentioned here that schools have found a way to survive by running collaborations with prominent coaching institutes.
Coaching may be necessary for students after Class X but the recent trend and the unholy nexus between certain schools and coaching centres does not augur well for advancement of education and knowledge. The tendency to get notes and suggestions from these centres does not ultimately help students in their careers. Therefore, it is critical that the government strictly ensure that in all classes, the stipulated syllabus be completed to the satisfaction of students. Only then the importance of private coaching centres may come down.
More importantly, the Government must study the Parliamentary committees report thoroughly and act upon it. For it is the educated youth which is to take the future of the country forward.—INFA

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