Coaching centres turn students into robots

A new breed of educational institutions have sprung up here and there, whose sole objective is to spawn a high-yielding variety of students who are fit to be launched into the world of professional education. Kota in Rajasthan is known as the Cram Capital of India. Do we need such a dubious distinction for coastal Karnataka?

This is a psychological game. Create an impression that your coaching can work miracles. Splash the newspapers with photographs of last year’s students who hit the jackpot. What better way to convince the next set of students, and their parents?  

These days the magic words are IIT, AIMS, AIEEE, CET etc. Sprinkle these words liberally and the prey is in your net. Parents and students alike make a beeline for admission to these coaching centres.

Some are camouflaged as colleges but they are in reality hard-boiled coaching centres. The difference between them is known only to those who are capable of looking into the issue a little more closely and critically.

Blissfully ignorant

These coaching places which select the best of the lot and grill them for competitive tests do not care for anything more than a marginal gain in the Entrance Test. They are blissfully ignorant of the need to nurture the more important aspects of a student’s personality. They have no time for any such ‘frivolous’ activities. Every minute is precious in this panic-stricken race to the entrance test.

What is this all about? It’s basically all hype, and no substance. Parents are made to believe that only these coaching institutions will get them what they aspire for. Parents too are prepared to shell out any amount of money to grab a seat there. Even parents who are not too keen on this rat-race are tempted to enroll their children, because they don’t want to be left behind. Some of them tighten their belts to enroll them there paying hefty sums. It’s surprising that nobody is calling the bluff of this entire operation.

What are its implications on students? Students are made to feel nervous and unsure of themselves. They are made to go through the grueling exercise of mock-testing and trial-testing and so on. Students use all their time going through this rigorous mill of learning and testing, testing and learning. They do not get any time for relaxation. They don’t play any game. They even avoid friends and relatives. They shrink into an artificial world of coaching, testing and the like. It is most depressive, most claustrophobic.

Intellectual robots

When young people are deprived of certain essential ingredients of balanced growth like physical activities, recreation, social networking and so on, they become social misfits. They don’t grow up into healthy, well-adjusted, fine-tuned human beings. They become intellectual robots, cut off from the reality of life, far removed from men and matters.  

There is a touch of exploitation. Parents and students are desperate about getting the much-hyped IIT admission.  Not many understand that only a very small number of them can get into an IIT, given the meager number of seats available in a handful of IITs. But the word IIT has a charm about it. Parents and students fall for this bait.

Game plan

I think we need to educate parents about the need to give their children the right kind of educational environment to grow up. Coaching centres do not provide all-round education.

They only take the best students from the mainstream educational institutions and give them coaching, and if they are selected, they take the credit solely to themselves. This is the game plan.

Then there are some mainstream educational institutions trying to attract the best of the lot in both academics and co-curricular fields from other institutions, offering them scholarships, free-ships and many such inducements. Their sole aim is to be in the limelight - hogging the headlines with championships, trophies, ranks etc. I think this is also a very unhealthy practice.  These students who do well in studies or sports are taken away from their previous institutions through various inducements and somebody else is taking the credit for their achievements. This is another kind of poaching that’s going on in the field of education. This is a very questionable practice.

We need to be more rational and circumspect in matters of this kind. Parents need to realise the risks involved in jumping into this bandwagon of coaching institutions, and the ones that hanker after publicity. True education involves not only classroom learning and testing, but also a whole lot of extra-curricular activities which will help children develop their emotional intelligence, social and communication skills, inter-personal intelligence etc. These are very essential for their future. A seat in a professional college, or even an IIT is not the be-all and end-all of life. Life has much more valid and varied challenges waiting for them.  

The sooner the parents see the writing on the wall, the better for them and their children. Give your children a happy childhood, and a balanced education.  The rest will follow.


Principal, Little Rock Indian School, Brahmavar

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