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Students will face more pressure, we’ll face losses: Coaching centres on new guidelines

The new guidelines for regulating private coaching institutes have been formed to address the need for a legal framework and manage their unregulated growth.

Screenshot 2024 01 20 092426Increase in academic pressure on students, loss for coaching centres, and a threat of job loss for several teachers — these are some concerns raised by coaching institutions across Delhi-NCR on the recent guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education that suggest that such centres cannot enroll students below 16 years.

The new guidelines for regulating private coaching institutes have been formed to address the need for a legal framework and manage their unregulated growth. “No coaching centre shall engage tutors having qualifications less than graduation. The institutions cannot make misleading promises or guarantee rank or good marks to parents for enrolling students… The institutions cannot enroll students below 16 years of age,” read the new guidelines.

Officials at Noida’s Vidyamandir coaching centre said, “This rule is going to gravely impact students preparing for JEE Mains and Advanced. Most students turn 16 while in Class XI. How can one expect to coach students for such a tough examination in one year? Mostly, students who are in Class XII or have passed out are eligible to take the JEE exam. The government, in this case, must increase the number of attempts that the child can sit for the exam.”

“If this rule has to come into place, then all institutions should shut their coaching for class IX and X students. This will adversely affect teachers too as they may lose their jobs,” added the official.

At VMC’s Noida branch, the official stated that currently, about 30% of the total student population enrolled at the institute are students below the age of 16.

Rahul Gupta, the management head at Student’s Helper, a coaching centre in Kalu Sarai which coaches both IIT and NEET aspirants, said, “If the Ministry is doing this to reduce psychological pressure on students, then I’m afraid it might backfire. It is very difficult to prepare students for these highly competitive exams in just two years. Students ideally should start preparing from class IX as the school curriculum does not cater to the rigour of these competitive exams. This might also adversely affect the inflow of students, affecting business at the institutes.”

Gupta stated that about 40% of the student population enrolled at his institute is below the age of 16, in class IX and X.

He added, “Students who come from well-off families can afford private tuition for additional coaching at home. But what about students who come from small villages all the way to Delhi on scholarships to prepare for their medical and engineering dreams? The implementation of this rule is only going to create more problems.”

TN Chowdhary, managing director at Turning Point coaching institute in Paschim Vihar, said, “If not a coaching centre, they might go for tuition or take up arrangements online. Coaching institutes tend to take students in from class VII or VIII onwards. For younger classes, from class VI-VIII, students sometimes come for mathematics coaching for higher classes. Class IX and X students come for their NEET and JEE base. Around 10% to 20% of students enrolled with us would be below 16.”

What students, parents say

Dev Bhatia, from Faridabad, who cleared NEET in 2023 and is now at AIIMS, Delhi, said, “I started taking coaching in class IX, when I was 14 years old. My brother joined a coaching centre when he was in class VIII and he is now in class X. I can say that it was helpful for my NEET preparation. Recently, there was news about suicides in Kota. So, it would make sense to avoid the extra pressure. But it also depends on the person, it varies.”

Pragata Ghosh, who gave NEET last year and is also at AIIMS, Delhi, said he joined a coaching centre at the age of 14. “For students who can, they offer an extra load of work like Olympiads. But those who don’t like that are spared. There could be extra guidance at the school level. I don’t think this regulation was necessary,” he said.

Aprajita Gautam, president of the All India Parents Association, said it was a good move by the government to reduce pressure on students. “But there should be a check and balance in the system. The problem often arises with implementation of the guidelines and I hope the government identifies the problems which are seriously contributing towards burdening students,” she said.

Gautam further said her own daughter in Delhi had taken up coaching to pass NEET and reiterated that “our system and curriculum must be strong enough to ensure that additional coaching is not required as not all can afford it”. “We need to make our education system strong enough to make sure that students can pass these competitive exams with the school syllabus alone,” she added.

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