The National Sample Survey Office, in its 2015 report, revealed that at least 25% of school and college students in India were attending coaching classes. In several states, the figure was at 75% — the actual numbers today may be higher.
Coaching classes are a parallel universe in the education space in almost all developing nations, including India. It is, therefore, worth examining — for parents, students and those involved in higher academics — the causes for the rise in demand for coaching classes.
The main reason for lakhs of students joining coaching classes is the inadequate quantity and quality of academic inputs offered in formal educational institutions such as schools and colleges. Moreover, parents today — due to increasing pressure at workplaces — are often not able to find sufficient time to hand-hold their children in matters concerning higher academics. So, many children end up needing attention from proven specialists. At the same time, the coaching classes provide specialized teaching and personalized study guidance facilities, which help students get a competitive edge in school and college exams. Students with various learning disorders also benefit from coaching classes. There have been instances in which students, who are unable to grasp concepts, are ignored by their lecturers who simply don’t have the time or resolve to assist a small number of strugglers.
Besides these everyday reasons, extra coaching has become almost indispensable for aspirants of competitive and entrance exams like JEE, CET, NEET, UPSC etc. as specialized guidance for these exams are not offered in schools and colleges. Coaching classes also often provide access to their teachers for instant doubts clarification via several technological tools.
Also, as coaching classes have kids from various institutes, students get an opportunity to widen circles and be aware of methods at other colleges and schools.
In summary, coaching classes are essential for entrance exam preparations. The mushrooming of coaching classes is a clear indicator of the failings of the formal education system.
If the government wants to reverse the trend of increased dependency on extra coaching, it must first work towards drastically improving quality of academic input in schools and colleges. It must also reach out to the coaching classes community to enable them to play a constructive role in addressing the various academic requirements of the students’ community.
The government and the society must view coaching classes as part of the solution. Coaching classes can potentially play a catalytic role in the education space. This will help all stakeholders boost learning outcomes in students and build a robust knowledge society.
*This Article has been published by Times of India, Pune on 6th February 2018.