The formal schooling system is increasingly paving way for coaching institutions to take centre stage. Although coaching centres enroll students from all shades, the students from senior secondary section (11th and 12th) are found to be in bulk as they prefer to attend coaching institutions rather than regular schooling. This certainly is casting a negative shadow on the functioning of both public and private schools.
Nowadays, students irrespective of age or stream opt for coaching, and off late the trend is on a rise for virtual coaching. Recently a video went viral from Anantnag where in faculty from online tuition giant Physics Walla had a face to face interaction.
The event at Town Hall Anantnag witnessed mad rush of students and it was a packed house. Virtual coaching classes have further complicated the situation as a student hardly has to move an inch from his house to attend classes; everything seems to be on a platter.
But at the end of the day students are the ultimate sufferers as they grapple with stress and anxiety, and some, unfortunately, even end up committing suicide. These centres prepare students for competitions, but in the bargain, students miss out on personality development.
Formal schooling way better than coaching
Unfortunately, our understanding of education is one dimensional: we have confined it to acquisition of a set of technical and academic skills which leads to the devaluation of what makes life truly meaningful and creative: say the art of relatedness, the sensitivity to nature, or the ability to integrate the brain and the heart.
The result is that what confronts our children is a highly life killing and mechanized system of education that offers nothing beyond hard memorization, exam strategies and so called success manual. Passing the exam, settling down in life as doctor, engineer, teacher, banker and trader; earning money and nurturing the same ambition in the next generation – this seems to be the mantra of existence we ask our children to internalize.
One aspect that is positively attributed to a formal school is infusing degree of discipline and morality among students. Contrary to this, innumerable incidents of eve teasing, bullying, acid attacks are surfacing up quite often from unregulated coaching institutions. Even there is larger public discourse about the prevalence of drug hot spots and breeding ground of drug abuse around unregulated coaching institutions.
The teenagers enrolled in these institutions have been found to be vulnerable. Though there is no denying the fact that coaching institutions have certainly raised the bar of academic excellence but has unfolded daunting challenges for the society. The rising cases of suicide in coaching centres especially in ‘Kota Factory’ is a grim reminder that all is not well even in top most coaching institutions of the country.
Look at the recent incident of a girl student, who in her suicide note wrote; ‘I am sorry Mummy-Papa, for letting you down by not cracking JEE advanced, I am a looser’. Isn’t it heart piercing for any parent aspiring to see their children excel in life.
These institutions are driven by profiteering and therefore resort to ‘Survivorship Bias Model’ where in they showcase the success stories of qualifying candidates only through life sized hoardings, ad campaigns in print and electronic media, which even further compounds the miseries of unsuccessful ones. Instead of their hand holding and counseling, they are left at their own mercy. They feel neglected and rejected. Some are unable to cope up with the trauma and ultimately commit suicide
It truly is a welcome step on part of the central government that has come up with detailed and elaborative regulatory guidelines for coaching centres operating across the country to infuse a degree of accountability.
For acquisition of academic knowledge, coaching centres can certainly contribute in this regard; but to consider themselves as alternative option to formal education system is fraught with serious ramifications.
The school has a pivotal role to produce individuals with life defining skills and competencies as entire school setting is guided by well designed curriculum. On the other hand coaching institutions transform individuals into robots where they are compelled to mug up content and vomit it out verbatim.
The focus is on scoring rather than on learning. School administration has to be proactive in this regard to check and prevent dummy admissions which otherwise will render these educational institution redundant and least penetrative.
The ball equally lies in the court of faculty members of schools to timely complete syllabus and attend classes on regular basis with a pedagogical overhaul to fine polish and update their pedagogical skills.
Dr. Mushtaq Rather, Educator from Mattan Anantnag, J&K