The expert committee set up by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry in October this year, has recommended an “All India Council for Coaching for Entrance Examinations (AICCEE)”, to ensure that “coaching institutes are well-equipped and maintain healthy and best practices as well as charge regulated fees”.
The six-member panel was headed by Prof Ashok Misra, who is chairperson of IIT Roorkee’s Board of Governors (BoG). Set up to recommend changes to Joint Entrance Examination format for IITs, the panel pointed out that private coaching had become a “very large industry and had made students too dependent on coaching centres”.
Prof Ashok Misra said, “If this is the future of education in India, then they (coaching centres) need to follow some accepted norms. Coaching centres have become an alternate form of education in the country, where the parents are sending their children to study. So there is a need for regulation.”
In a four-part series — Inside The Kota Coaching Factory — last week, The Indian Express had highlighted the relentless academic grind, spike in suicides and the menace of depression and drugs in Kota — the country’s coaching hub with close to 1.5 lakh students that saw 24 suicides this year. The reports revealed “lack of regulation and flaws in the schooling system” as one of the primary reasons behind aspirants opting for coaching institutes. Highlighting “proliferation of coaching centres”, the panel suggested “it would help if there is a regulatory body for the coaching institutions”.
The report, which was submitted to the HRD Ministry on November 5 this year, pegs the rough estimate of the revenues of the coaching industry at Rs 24,000 crore per year.
“This presumes that 12 lakh students attend coaching for two years and pay Rs 1 lakh per year. The actual number of years for coaching may be more than this and hence revenues may be greater than the amount given above. It is desired that the dependence of students on the coaching centres be reduced,” suggested the report.
The idea of a regulatory body received mixed response from the coaching fraternity and educationists. “The report contradicts itself. On one hand it calls for mock tests by IITs to do away with the coaching industry and on the other, it wants to place a watchdog to regulate us,” said Pramod Maheshwari, director of Career Point in Kota. A faculty member at one of the IITs, who did not wish to named, said a regulatory body for coaching centres would “negate the idea” of reducing dependence on them.
“By establishing such a body, you are acknowledging these centres and identifying them as part of the educational system. How will this help the students?” the faculty member said.