Mumbai: The Central government has issued fresh guidelines for the coaching institutes in the country in a bid to regulate these institutes. According to the guidelines, coaching centres cannot enrol children below 16 years of age or make any sort of misleading promises.
The guidelines also mandates the coaching centres to have a proper counselling system in place, in the absence of which the centres will not be recognised. Other guidelines includes promoting co-curricular activities to promote holistic growth in the students and tutors being trained about mental health issues to keep a check on the rising number of student suicides in the country.
Another important guideline talks about exorbitant fees charged by the coaching institutes. If a institute charges any exorbitant fees that might lead to student suicide then the registration of that institute will either be revoked or the institute might have to pay up to Rs 1 lakh fine.
There are a number of institutes in the country that provide coaching to students of class 6-10 who fall in the age bracket of 13-17 years of age. Many of the students go to these institutes in order to get assistance for school exams or in order to prepare for certain competitive exams from such an early age.
Coaching institutes against the move
“Every student is different from one another, so some need coaching while others do not. Moreover, this will encourage private tuitions and not everyone has the financial capability to do that,” said Sameer Impore of Guidance group Mumbai, adding that this will further lead to an increased disparity between children because only the rich will be able to afford private tutors, while the middle class children will be thrown into a lurch. Impore said, “There are some students that do need additional guidance to do better in their career. This is also about aspiration since many students want to appear for JEE or NEET because they know they will earn well if they get into any of the IITs.”
The rule of completely eradicating coaching for children below 16 did not sit well with Manoj Datwani, co-founder of Concept Mantra, Mumbai as well. He said, “The coaching institutes are in place today because the schools have become inefficient in teaching students. Schools have become commercial hubs nowadays because of which parents are forced to enrol their kids into coaching, so that they can learn from somewhere else at least. No parent wants their kid to fail.” He added that in this case only some students will be able to excel.
Vinod Ramprasad Tungaria of Sidhi’s coaching classes, Mumbai says that this move is completely wrong. “Children can only be made perfect before the age of 16,” he said.
Counselling system a hit among institutes
On the other hand, coaching institutes appreciated the rule of incorporating counselling systems in the framework.
“We need more teachers and counsellors focusing on mental health and Gen Z related issues, not coaching institutes with twardy practices,” said Varshil Shah, personalised ACCA coach at V D Shah coaching institute, Mumbai. He also added that even though he teaches the academically intensive US CFA programme, he feels that going back to the gurukul ways of focusing on co-curricular activities will take care of this problem.
Datwani said, “students have become very sensitive these days and there are rampant cases of bullying and mocking at schools so the initiative of having a counselling system in place will be beneficial for them.” He added that even though bullying existed before as well, students have become a little less resilient in today's time.
However, on the topic of co-curricular activities being promoted in institutes, Datwani asserted that these things should be taken care of by school. Nowadays, many schools function without even a playground which in turn limits student interaction and wellbeing.
Coaching institutes will have three months after the guidelines come into effect to register themselves. The state government will be responsible for monitoring these institutes.