Coaching Issues

Problems with the present coaching system

The present coaching scene can be broadly categorized into:
(a) Kota institutes,
(b) Big branded institutes for IIT and NEET, etc. spread in all major cities of the country
(c) Small institutes run by individual owners
(d) Online coaching
None of the above systems is without considerable scope for improvement; some of the problems with the above categories are very briefly stated below:
(a) Kota institutes: Self-harm, substance abuse, bullying, sleep-related issues, loneliness, weight loss, acidity and anxiety are common among students in Kota, the coaching class capital, says a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. (Source: Times of India online, January 28, 2018)

(b) Big brand institutes:

Regular (offline) coaching classes of big brands are implementing their mass produced ‘package’ which is one-size-fit for all students, with many disadvantages:
- Syllabus is divided into rigid ‘modules’ – A module is taught in fixed number of classes - to large batches of students, whatever be the pace of learning of an individual student.
- Therefore, if a student learns a little slow or takes a little more time with a particular topic, or misses even a couple of classes, he gets derailed and then does not understand even the succeeding classes.
- As a result, he/she does not do well in the module test fixed as per their All India program. If a student does not do well in the module test, the big-brand institutes do not have any mechanism to bring back the student on track. Instead, they just ‘downgrade’ the student to a lower batch, leaving him alone to feel hopeless and worthless.
- The student cannot even leave the big brand institute, or think of a course correction (for example, try SAT instead of JEE) as full fees for many years has already been taken in advance.
- It is common for the students of big-brand to additionally take separate tuitions for different subjects (in spite of paying hefty fees of the big-brand institute).
- There is little use of smart boards, audio-visual aids or 3-d models; the teaching is very conventional and staid.

(c) Small institutes/tuition centers:

- These usually offer average level of coaching, more suitable for Board examinations but not for highly competitive IIT and medical entrance examinations.
- The quality of the infrastructure and tutors in these tuition centres is not better than that in big brand institutes; but the batch size is usually smaller due to which the student gets more individual attention.
- The syllabus covering schedule is more flexible compared to big-brand institutes.
- Overall, these centers may lessen the student’s stress level, but quality of teaching is usually not of IIT/NEET level.

(d) Online coaching:

It deploys Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enable quality faculty reach large number of students. The student can learn at his own pace, at a place convenient to him, and can replay the video class as many times as required for better understanding. However, here also remains the same problem of standard, one-size fits all material provided to all students. Additional, serious problems are also introduced:

- Peer to peer learning is completely missing. Most important insights come to a student only during class discussions, but this is missing in online coaching. In an actual classroom, the student does not learn from teacher alone; he learns and draws inspiration from his meritorious classmates. But the online coaching is bereft of this opportunity.

- Personal touch of the coach/teachers is missing. A coach is required by the student not only for imbibing subject knowledge, but also for receiving motivation, counseling, support and encouragement. The journey for IIT entrance is long and difficult (although exciting and rewarding), and a supportive eco-system comprising of teachers, family and friends is essential for the student to deal with the highs and the lows of this journey.