Many private coaching centres in Chandigarh’s Sector 34, a hub for aspirants of engineering and medicine courses, were open Sunday saying the Deputy Commissioner’s ban order that came into effect Sunday did not apply to them as they did not teach school going students.
The order states that these institutes will not be permitted to coach schoolgoing students between 8 am and 3 pm from July 1 to August 29 (60 days), keeping in view “public interest”.
The coaching centres claimed that the morning batches were strictly for students who had already passed Class 12 board examination the previous year. The order states that such students can attend classes in the morning.
School students from neighbouring states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana also flock to these institutes. Many of them said they had taken “dummy” admissions in schools back in their hometown, but were living in the city to get coached for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) and AIIMS, and other competitive tests.
These students said they attended the batches from 3 pm to 8 pm as the morning batches were for “droppers”, the students who have dropped a year. Staying in paying guest accommodations in the city, the outstation students do not have to attend school in the morning.
“I’ve taken dummy admission in a school. We only have to pay the school fee throughout the year and have to go back to write our final paper,” said a student of Class 11, who is from Jammu and Kashmir. He is preparing for NEET and AIIMS from a prominent coaching centre in the city.
Another Class 11 student from Jammu said he had also taken dummy admission and was living in a PG accommodation in Sector 15 so that he could study for NEET and AIIMS.
Pinky Rawat, an official at the Lakshya Institute, said, “Schoolgoing students don’t attend the morning batches, they are only here after 3 pm when schools get over. Students who have dropped a year after school to prepare for entrance tests are included in the morning batch.” Rawat added that the institute had started a non-medical batch of such students from June 18 and a medical batch from June 25.
Bhawna Dutt, a counsellor from Allen Institute, said, “We shift our school students to the evening batches during the school months. Our session here begins from April, so many students of Classes 11 and 12 attend the morning batches only during the summer vacation. Students from other states may come and study here, but they have to enrol in schools in their hometowns so that they can avail the state quota during admissions. Where will students from neighbouring states go if they don’t have coaching centres in their towns and villages?”
Two students, sitting on the stairs outside a coaching centre, said they both have dropped a year and were now preparing for competitive exams. One of them, who belongs to Pathankot, said, “I was in school throughout and never took coaching. I had no idea about IIT or anything. Now I am taking coaching for the entrance test.”
The other student, who belongs to Gurgaon, added that they had come for self-study at the centre, but were turned away as it was a Sunday. “We attend the morning batch at the institute. Only those of us who have dropped a year are included in that batch. I started coaching in Class 11, but these days institutes are taking in students from Classes 7 and 8 too,” he said.
An official from Helix Institute, where the batch of “droppers” will start their coaching from Monday morning, claimed that they too admitted school students in the evening batches.
“If students are coming in from other states to undergo coaching here, we cannot do anything to send them back to school. We hold classes for school students in the evening so that our timings don’t clash with that of the school. It’s the least we can do from our side,” the official added.
The official said while the pressure on students to perform was high, even schools should be held responsible for not keeping a check whether students were attending classes or not. “Our students perform exceedingly well in school exams too because of the coaching they get here. They all get above 95 per cent and schools want to cash in on their success,” the official added.
Hitesh Panwar of Sri Chaitanya Institute, where 2018 JEE Advanced topper Pranav Goyal was a student, claimed the institute was following the evening batch system for school students as morning timings clashed with the school timings.
“The order is understandable, but we have no control over students who want to miss school and study here. Schools should be held responsible if the child is not attending classes and act accordingly,” he added.
“The IITs and other engineering colleges have a provision for students to drop a year and then write competitive tests, but so many parents and students fail to understand that,” he said.
The order by the DC is meant to act as a deterrent to the students from attending school. It has been issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The DC, Ajit Balaji Joshi, has pointed out that even the teachers of government schools and private schools were “hand in glove” with the coaching centres.