Now a days, one of the most colorful and attractive part of most newspaper are the advertisements for coaching centers. You can hate them at there exaggerated display, but you cannot ignore them. I was first surprised to see the ads for coaching for Class XI students, as the classes generally start from the first week of June in West Bengal. But then I made it out that since the board exams for Class X are about to end by next week, that’s the reason for these ads. These truly professional coaching centers do not want to loose their fees for even a month and thereby wanted to allure the students to join the coaching classes at the earliest, i.e. as soon as their board exams get over.
They had even added the phrase “Limited Seat” to expedite the process of enrollment. Though coaching centers are meant for imparting knowledge and helping out the students with their issues & problems, but do these coaching centers really help????? That is a million dollar question! The question of whether these centers, which are supposed to be disseminating knowledge, have they been taken away to a different level all together by the commercial blitzkrieg.
Over the last decade, the number of coaching centers has increased by leaps and bounds. They in a manner play the role of dream merchants selling the dreams of IIT, IIM, etc. Coaching centers have grown like mushrooms in nook & corner of the city. I remember during our childhood private tuition was meant for weak students. The thought of taking private tuition never attracted me as I preferred to study on my own. To me the time spent on travelling to & fro from the coaching center is totally wasted and we could utilize that time for studying.
Previously coaching centers were meant for students who needed help & support while studying, but could not afford private tutors. Coaching centers were tuition centers where a group of students were taught. But nowadays teaching is no more a facilitating function in the true sense. It has become a Business. Yes a business with a capital B. The coaching centers publish colorful ads and souvenirs depicting the statistics of their success compared to other coaching centers. These drive the parents to get their children admitted in the best coaching center to be ahead of other students.
Most of the school teachers are working as visiting faculty in these coaching centers and indirectly they force their students to join the coaching classes. My cousins often say that the Notes given by the same teacher in school is different from the Notes given by the same teacher in the coaching center. The notes of the coaching centers are more elaborate and of better quality.
There are other factors which have led to the rapid booming of the coaching centers. The question still remains unanswered that “Do Coaching centers help in scoring good marks?”
I personally feel that the answer to this question is “NO”. Education is a natural process of learning. For the regular and attentive students coaching is not really required till class twelve. For scoring good marks there are 4 basic things needed:
- Dedication to towards study,
- Urge to know,
- Studying regularly
No Personal attention or care : Generally the centers have batches containing 30-40 students. These are almost like a parallel school. How can we learn or clear our doubts when we are taught in batches of 30-40? We are sent to coaching centers to clear our doubts and also to practice more. Generally in any coaching center, the duration of each class is about 120 minutes approximately. So if there are 40 students and each student has atleast one doubt which takes atleast 5 minutes by the teacher to clarify or solve then the doubt clearing session will only take 200 minutes which would be more than the class hours. Practically this do not happen. The demanding students get most of their doubts cleared while the shy & introvert students remain where they are. As a result, neither the students get personal attention nor are their doubts cleared to the fullest.
Quality of Education Decreases : Nowadays with the advent of the coaching centers, most of the teachers in school are attached with these centers as visiting or part time faculty. Since the remuneration offered by these coaching centers is quite handsome, the associated teachers dedicate their extra time for these centers. There are instances of middle class parents who have admitted theirs wards in good reputed schools with a dream of a successful career for their children. Beyond the school fees, it is not possible for them to afford the high tuition fees of the coaching centers, but as the teachers do not guide the students beyond the class hours or teach half heartedly, the mediocre students who fail to take private coaching lag behind. This has also an indirect impact on the reputation of the good schools where the quality of education starts to decrease.
Stereotyped Education: The coaching centers are too professional now. They document all the notes to be given to the students in printed form. I remember when we were in school, our teachers had their own notes copy and used to dictate the notes from those copies. As we wrote the notes almost 50% of the content got embedded in our mind. So later when we read the content it took very less effort from our part to learn the chapters. But these coaching centers give out printed notes. May be these look good and parents are impressed by the binding quality but they do not realize that the coaching centers are making money by decreasing their own effort and increasing the effort of the students. Now the teachers don’t need to dictate anything. They just explain the contents which take much lesser time than dictating. Also the students are made to understand the content but later they have to go through the entire notes to grab the content.
Limited Knowledge : The coaching centers are too process oriented and they teach the students only those questions which have come in the board exams in the last 10-15 years. The students are taught a limited set of questions and topics. They are given printed answers and solutions. This not only narrows down the education of the students but fences the boundary of the knowledge of the students. As the coaching centers promote suggestion based study, this makes the student study only a part of the syllabus from which the maximum questions are given in the examination. This makes the student study text books partially due to which their knowledge level is very shallow and later they fail to crack competitive exams due to poor general knowledge.
Reducing the Self-Learning Capability of students: The ability to self-learning is very much required during graduation & post graduation as the syllabus is very vast but the time span to complete the course is very less. So the ability to pick up a particular topic by himself and then prepare the answers to the related questions is an ability that needs to be developed at teens. But as these coaching centers distribute pre-written answers and solutions, the tendency to write answers or find the solutions to problems decrease within students. There are very less students who write their own answers or try to solve a problem by themselves when they have the ready made solution in hand.
No chance to strengthen the weak Students: Coaching centers almost run like parallel school and there are very rare chances of giving personal guidance to the weak students. The teachers teach the scheduled notes and chapters assuming that each student will understand in the same manner. It might happen that a child is weak in a particular chapter in Mathematics. In this case personal attention and effort by the teacher is required to make the student competent enough in that particular chapter. But as these coaching centers teach in bulk bathes it is hardly possible by the teacher to dedicate personal attention to a particular student while other students will sit idle. And giving personal attention to each individual student within the short span of class is impossible.
Too Costly: As I mentioned earlier that these coaching centers are more interested in making money rather than imparting knowledge. Previously the coaching centers had nominal enrollment charge followed by monthly fees depending upon the subject on the students wants to take coaching. After enrolment and studying for a few days or months if the student found that the coaching was not worthy then he would leave the coaching and opt for another one. Now these coaching centers are too much money – oriented. They want to seal the scope of students hopping to other coaching centers. Nowadays the coaching centers have different packages based on subject combinations. The amount of the package is calculated on yearly basis or on the entire course basis. The students are required to furnish the entire course fee at the time of enrollment or in 2/3 monthly installments. This basically ensures that the students are bound to study in the same coaching for the entire period as he has already paid the entire course fee for the year or the course tenure in advance. If the student leaves the coaching then the coaching centers are never at loss as they have got their part of share without the effort being spent. Also the course fees are so high nowadays that it is not affordable by the parents to enroll their child in other coaching centers by paying the full course fees again. So the students are left with no choice but to study in the same coaching even if the quality of coaching is poor.
The above points are only a few of the many reasons which state that studying in coaching centers are not beneficial rather the ill effect is more. Coaching centers can help out students to pass their exams by just reading the stipulated notes and handful of questions. But this does not make a successful man out of a student. The coaching centers neither can make a mediocre student brilliant not can it arouse the interest for study in an inattentive student. They can only narrow down the entire content of syllabus and answering questions easier and effortless thereby transforming the students to puppets who fail to perform if the questions are outside the boundary they are taught.
I admit that guidance is required for getting good marks in exams but do the Coaching Centers give Guidance to our students? The answer is still “NO”.