What does Prof. Brijesh Kumar think about Kota and the business going on there in the name of IIT JEE and AIIMS?

Disclosure: I went to one such coaching institution. So, my answer will be based on that experience.

One of my colleagues who has been a teacher in IITs and other places for 15 years says, "Many students and parents consider IIT education to be an investment which they can cash upon in the future." But, these coaching institutions are the real winners in this craze. They make more money in a year than many IIT students put together in a lifetime.

The reasons I dislike these coachings are:

  • Treatment of teachers: The teachers in these coaching are treated like modern day "slaves" where they get practically no vacations and are treated very badly even in front of the students. That is the biggest reason many of the good teachers leave to open their own coaching centers.
  • Lack of good teachers: When I was studying the top 2 out of 8-10 batches would get the best teachers (we did not have any good teachers for chemistry other than organic).  Other 6-8 batches were left to fend for themselves with really poor quality teachers. Surprise-surprise, practically only students from top 2 batches got selected in JEE. This ratio of selected to non-selected people would be even worse today because there are about 40-50 batches per year (11th, 12th, 12th pass). How will they get good teachers for so many students, when they had hard time getting good teachers for even 4-5 batches.
  • Self selection bias: Because of the name of Kota, many good students go to Kota, who would get selected anyway in IIT even if they lived in their own towns and did no coaching. I can remember a few who were really brilliant. So, the number of selection from Kota has an avalanche effect, where selections lead to more and more good students coming to Kota for their JEE coaching.
  • Expensive: I would not mind if they would charge the students in lower batches significantly less than the student in the top 3-4 batches because the difference in quality of teachers is quite stark. They charge the same money and provide vastly lower quality education to 90% of their students. So, the students that don't get selected in IIT make up the majority of revenue for these coaching institutions. And it is good for them, because they will enrol in the same coaching institutions to prepare for JEE again.
  • Number of problems: The focus of the coaching institutions is to get the students to solve all possible problems in the world, so that there is no possibility of getting a question in JEE that is outside of their problem set. So, it makes many students who are neither that interested in science or engineering clear JEE and they find it hard to cope up with their studies in IIT. They should instead focus on the concepts and less problems but for that you need good teachers which they don't have.
  • Motivation: In teaching, motivation makes all the difference. The teachers transfer their motivation to their students. So, the teachers have greater responsibility to have clean motivation in choosing the teaching profession. Some teachers in Kota were there because they like teaching and their subject, but most of them were there to make money. So, this gets transferred to the students. On an average, there is a clear difference in the motivation of my classmates and my students today. Only an 8 year difference.
  • Suicides: These young 16 year old kids come so far away from home and have no training in life and are sometimes unable to cope up with the pressure of the competition in these institutions, so end their lives. We did not hear of such things during my time, but I heard that this is becoming quite common nowadays. You are lost in a sea of competition with no where to go.

Ends do not justify the means. Because the motivation of these coaching institutions is poor, so, everything that they do is poor in my view. Education should be given for building character, not to clear some stupid exam. Our coaching owner, who was also a teacher, used abusive words in class, very frequently. I was shocked to hear that when I first attended his class and still am.

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I like to blog about various topics ranging from education in IITs to social issues in India and US. All opinions and views presented here are my own and not of my employer.

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