Coaching Classes have become as important and necessary as schools these days. You will rarely see a kid taking up something without the help of coaching — be it studying, learning a musical instrument or playing sports. Coaching classes are a trend in India and especially when it comes to the field of education. But are they just that — a trend? Or is our education system failing us and coaching institutes filling up the gap? Read on the story of the birth of coaching classes and whether they are a need or a trend.
Coaching Classes in India
As per the 2011 population census, more than 480 million Indians are in the age group of 0-19 years. They are a huge asset to our country as their youthful energy can be used to transform India from a developing to a developed country – the dream of Late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam that is shared by millions. But we need a system where the potential of youth can be explored for the good of the society. For this to happen, we require a holistic educational policy and infrastructure, which can meet the needs our big population, where no child is left behind or unattended. This sentiment mainly was the reason behind the birth of coaching classes.
Where Do We Stand?
The question arises: are we able to guarantee our future generations, the naive girls, and boys of 0-19 age group, what they rightfully deserve? The answer is, we are struggling to meet their needs. We invested merely 3.8% of our GDP on education in 2015-16, which was lower than the previous year. The MPs demanded that the ideal investment should shoot up to 6% in the future. As per statistics in 2010, when the world invested 4.9% GDP on education, we spent a meager 3.3%. Conditions of the schools are deteriorating. Out of the existing 75,489 schools in Karnataka, news reports suggest that nearly 22,000 schools have two or fewer teachers per school and these statistics also include private schools. 1767 schools have no teachers and an astounding 45,000 teachers’ posts are lying vacant. The teachers who are available are overburdened with clerical work, have little autonomy, which in turn reduce their curiosity and motivation in the teaching job. Another alarm for the education infrastructure in the cities is the migration of rural population to the urban areas. As per reports, from 1960-2010, the rural population has decreased from 82.1% to 69.9% and urban population has increased from 17.9% to 30.1%. It has made the dream of affordable and accessible education to all far-fetched. The biggest burn is taken by the middle-class families who drive the nation. They feel the crunch of admitting their children into a good school and have to shell off more money as the demand is increasing and supply is down.
Birth of Coaching Classes in India
And this uncertainty in school education has led to the boom of tuitions/ coaching classes. Today, a child’s brilliance is measured from his scorecard and students who are unable to cope up with peer pressure are committing suicide. The idea of high school and college students taking the coaching class has penetrated deep into our society. But we hardly see anyone analyzing the effectiveness of coaching institutes.
Some of the advantages that the students’ community get in coaching classes include guidance from the best brains in the field and use of technology, which helps in understanding the concepts better. Children receive either individual care or are put into classes with smaller student-to-teacher ratio. Coaching classes provide training for specific entrance examinations, which eventually reduces the load on the students and gives them guidance at one place.
But is the coaching class culture causing more harm than good? The rise of coaching classes has jeopardized the schooling culture. Many students don’t pay attention in the class and bunk them as they always have coaching classes to teach them again. They are wasting valuable resources and time in the process. It is also a big blow for the motivation of school teachers. Most good teachers have now left their school jobs and entered the lucrative business of coaching, where they get better pay and autonomy too. It has led to a decrease in understanding of a subject as the coaching classes pay less attention on concepts and more on problem-solving. There is no scope for inquisitiveness as students are encouraged to accept things given in the textbooks. Mathematical “magic tricks” – a section common in all coaching class study material are taught to students without making them understand the reason behind the magic.
All Work, No Play..!!
Coaching institutes leave no time for extra-curricular activities. After school, students straight away head to the coaching classes, where an already fatigued mind learns less than its ability. Many times, students are caught chatting over the phone and listening to music in the class because of stress. There has been an increase in the cases of headache, neck ache, obesity, eye-related issues in students because of their hectic lifestyle. A startling report says that 41% children (under 18 years) in India need optical correction. That population is estimated to be around 200 million.
Cost is High..!!
Coaching classes cause a dent in the pocket. All the big names in the field of IIT coaching charge more than a lakh per year for their two years classroom course. It excludes the charges for food and lodging if a student from outside the city opts for their facilities. The National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) has pointed out that going by consumer expenditure data, 78% of Indians are forced to manage with Rs. 20 or less per day – indicating three-fourths of the population live in poverty. So, by those numbers, coaching fees take the salt of food for any average family. But names like Anand Kumar of the Super 30 fame cannot be ignored, where he teaches the underprivileged students of the society and has got excellent success track record in IIT JEE.
So, what is the way out? Improving the funding and infrastructure of the existing schools is one step. Timely recruitment of faculties and teaching profession can be another. It will instill the faith of society in government schools. Schools with fewer faculties should be provided with videos lectures made on subject curriculum by experts, and this should follow the line of NPTEL videos for engineering. Frequent inspection of the schools and suspension for dereliction of duty should keep happening. Breaking the hysteria for engineering & medical professions and concentrating on physical education, arts, humanities and entrepreneurship is another important step. We should reduce the economic and social gap between rural and urban areas in India. It is also imperative to provide incentives to online-based coaching classes so that students can choose their time of reading and don’t have to get tired from travelling from one place to another.
There are still a lot of students who favor self-study rather than joining coaching classes. Moreover, it is predicted that coaching classes are not meant to survive in the long run. We’d definitely wait and watch on that front.