Unholy nexus between colleges and coaching classes

Educational institutions are expected to promote holistic development of students, making them good and sensitive human beings. However, today they are totally commercialised.  They are more interested in catering to the commercial needs of students rather than realising the basic objectives of education. Consequently, the temples of learning are eroding the moral fabric of society.

Students are judged by the marks they score in the board exams. But they manage a high percentage of marks by mastering the art of cramming at coaching classes. Ironically, the schools and colleges take credit for the students’ grades to which their own contribution is insignificant.

No wonder the number of students scoring above 90% marks has shot up. This year nearly 49,000 students scored above 90% in the SSC Exam in Maharashtra. This is bound to have a devastating effect on those who scored less. Result:  even students who scored more than 85% begin feeling inadequate, which undermines their self esteem.

These high marks are not in sync with their intrinsic worth. Yet the general feeling is that a student is good enough only if he scores above 90%. Parents fail to understand that such unrealistic expectations cause depression and create mental health problems with some students, in extreme cases, even developing suicidal tendencies.

It is a very disturbing trend that schools and colleges are openly associating with coaching classes to prepare their students for tests like CET and JEE. Even some Commerce colleges have tied up with the coaching classes to prepare for the common proficiency test for CA and CS.  It is indeed ironical that education institutions have been reduced to being an extension of coaching classes.

In Mumbai more than 30 colleges have tied up with coaching classes, offering ‘integrated courses’ or ‘integrated programmes,’ to prepare the students for competitive exams and help them secure admission in technical, engineering and medical institutions. As per the tie up, the coaching classes conduct theory classes on the college premises and the students get marked present in their colleges when, in fact, they are attending the coaching classes.  That is, the students do not sit for  lectures in their colleges and yet get marked present.  This is outright cheating as the students do not even take the theory exams of the colleges where they study.  They just attend the practicals conducted by their colleges. This is how education in some of the so called reputed institutions has been reduced to a farce.

Result: College teachers have been rendered redundant. And the government is footing their huge salary bills, when they hardly teach in their colleges.

The Statute 439B (g) of the Mumbai University says that “a teacher shall not conduct/participate in private coaching classes directly or indirectly.  He shall also not accept private tuitions.” And as per the code of conduct for teachers, colleges are required to obtain a written undertaking on stamped paper from their teachers that they are not associated with any coaching classes. However, it is an open secret that most of the teachers in Science and Commerce streams teach in coaching classes. But owing to this nexus with coaching classes, the colleges are brazenly promoting private tuitions and abetting mass absenteeism; they are also encouraging the teachers to earn unaccounted wealth, in gross violation of the state policy.

As per Ordinance 119 of the Mumbai University, three-fourths of the attendance is mandatory in an academic year for students before they can take the college and the university exams.  But hardly a handful of colleges enforce adhere to this norm. The colleges’ failure to enforce academic discipline is contributing to these unhealthy tie-ups with coaching classes. Many reputed institutions face the ignominy of having no students in their class rooms. And yet they manage to get ‘A’ Grade from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). The NAAC team members are apparently ‘managed’ and do not hesitate to mortgage their integrity for extraneous considerations.

The colleges rent out their premises to coaching classes and make huge money. Such arrangements are not approved by the state government and the state and central Boards. The CBSE clearly bans private coaching on school premises.  And yet nothing has stopped the schools and colleges from continuing with this unethical practice. In all this, the principle of equity and social justice goes for a toss.  Today students prefer colleges which have tie-ups with the coaching classes that prepare them for professional courses. How can socially and economically poor students, particularly from rural areas and lower classes, afford these coaching shops? Many students from interior Maharashtra are migrating to Mumbai in search of such colleges instead of moving out to far-away cities like Kota or Hyderabad.

It is surprising the government is unable to punish these institutions. To stamp out this unholy nexus between the colleges and the coaching classes, the state government should stop immediately aiding educational institutions which have tied up with coaching classes.  It is important to note that a parallel coaching system generates huge black money.

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