Coaching Centers: Need or Compulsion?
Abdul Hamid Mir
As the Board Exams in valley are going to be over now, the anxiety level of parents goes on increasing in choosing the ‘best’ coaching center for their children. It seems a major liability on their shoulders. To be frank enough, students adopt coaching only because their friends/classmates do so! Even the poorest of poor have to manage private tuition fees at any cost. Parents from rural & suburban areas will be seen roaming in the streets of Srinagar city looking for accommodation of their children while students from lower middle class strata of city prefer individual subject wise coaching. At the same time, well off people send their wards to warmer places to avert the winter chill and hartal disturbance.
Adolescents leave their homes too early in the bone chilling mornings often without proper breakfast and appropriate (warm) attire. Such irregular food habits are telling upon their health. This is due to inappropriate timings prevailing in coaching institutes. Tutors are busy in installing fresh hoardings to attract more clients for ensuring jam packed tuition centers. However, most of the features floated in newspaper ads by various coaching institutes remain unseen during the actual process of coaching, thousands of students who receive coaching year by year, are witness to this fact.
Kashmir is not the only place in the world that observes heavy snowfall during winters. Some European nations witness heavier snowfall than here but neither winter break is too long nor collective tuition culture is prevalent there. But it may take another century for obsolete government policies to get renewed.
Private coaching establishments have surpassed their B.Ed. College counterparts in the ‘sale’ of market education. The overall process involves pooling of the hard earned money from parents for investment in the growth of these commercial centers. Our coaching centers’ provide the study material stuff as photocopies of notes circulated year after year and thereby treat students like herd. Book reading and acquisition of knowledge is treated as a burden. What if parents can’t afford to send their children to expensive tuition centers that charge hefty amounts? Nothing; rather their children will feel more relaxed and can study in a stress free environment. After 10+2, though the difficulty level increases yet students peruse higher studies successfully without the aid of private tuition, then where does the need arise at intermediate level?
From the past few years coaching business men have invented a novel procedure of luring the students/parents by ‘importing’ so called IIT faculty from outside state. Firstly, there is no guarantee that all of them can be the products of elite institutes like IITs because there is no mechanism in force by which the validity of their degrees /teaching experience could be verified. There is language (accent/pronunciation) incompatibility also between the local students and outside teachers which badly affects the teaching learning process.
With the dawn of spring, the nuisances of students get multiplied as they are supposed to attend coaching centres and schools simultaneously, facing pressures from parents, school teachers and tutors increasing the stress level in these innocent lots.
Even if half of the wealth invested in this unproductive coaching would be spent on educational tours, exhibitions, seminars, symposia etc. imagine how it could broaden the mental horizon and exposure level of our students. Winter vacation would be ideal time for undertaking such co- and extra-curricular activities. They could feel much enthusiastic in attending their schools from day one. In this way their intellectual, physical and emotional development could be ensured in a holistic manner. On the other hand, the same duration could be utilised by the education department for imparting trainings to serving teachers. Ambitious unemployed qualified youth who engage themselves in tuitions for their livelihood; should be absorbed in education department as thousands of posts are lying vacant in the department. As parents, students or teachers it is our collective responsibility to zoom-in the flaws in education system and provide necessary suggestions to plug the lacunae lest it is too late because education is the only means of human resource development.