This article is written by Devleena Prasad, a law student at Symbiosis Law School, Noida which deals with Coaching Culture in India.
The coaching culture which has evolved in our country so rampantly is essentially to serve two purposes, (a) to enhance set skills or excel in a specific frontier (b) to compete in entrance examinations. Inspired by the Western notions, coaching culture has taken the form of a necessary evil in our society with institutes brimming up in every nook and corner. Despite the inspiration, massive differences can be accounted for between two systems. The trend is such that every 3 out of 5 students are either enrolled in these institutes or have opted for private coaching. “If the only tool you have is a hammer then, you tend to see every problem as a nail”, rightly stated by Abraham Maslow, a widely celebrated American psychologist.
The generation today possess a one-dimensional approach towards dealing with situations, as humans we tend to follow the bandwagon which fails us the majority of the time. In a world where every parent wants their kids to excel at coveted competitions, coaching centers serve as their go to, they cover almost all areas of interest and their religious publicity finds a way to our doorsteps unfailingly. Being omnipresent, people are left with no option but to choose it, despite their exorbitant fees the industry is flourishing at a rapid pace. This financial extravaganza differentiates students who are supposed to be at equal footing. While some individuals take coaching to compete at hardcore competitions, most tend to take it simply for the basic education where they think that their respective schools aren’t competent enough or fail to clear their doubts and misunderstanding. However reputed for providing an in-depth knowledge and fostering better understanding in the students and aspirants, what many people fail to see is the individuality of these budding minds who may have different ways of approaching and understanding a similar issue implying that getting admission in a fairly well-known coaching institution doesn’t guarantee a successful end result. Moreover, the existence of inter-coaching rivalries poses a negative impact on the member students who are doubly pressurized due to this, beyond everything all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Childhood and adolescence are two crucial junctures of a man’s life wherein they need a holistic development for their mind, body and soul. This development is gradually being curbed by such coaching institutions who apparently guarantee success by loading unbounded pressure on pre-pubescent minds and the biggest irony here is that they are in trend.
School v. Coaching
With absolute affirmation, coaching culture jeopardizes the school education system which led Supreme Court of India to pass a judgement wherein a candidate appearing for engineering or medical would fail to get admission merely based on their entrance grades implying that their 10th and 12th marks will also be taken into consideration. Keeping everything aside, this coaching culture was incepted with the intent to strengthen concepts and enable students perform better, but sadly enough, today they act as a hurdle for many when it comes to board examination. They tend to hinder the education imparted by schools, shaking the foundation and promising a multi-story development. Both these institutions are in an ardent need to find a common ground and work in harmony.
The victims of this prevailing anarchy are the students who are supposedly trapped in this chaotic rustle. Due to the maddening aspiration of students to excel, these institutions have taken over the lives of schools and colleges. The fact that they’ve become so predominant in society, it is almost impossible to eradicate the practice. Coaching institutes are also renowned for providing short-cuts to deal with various scientific and mathematical equations, which most of all tampers with the quintessential preliminaries of approaching the same. Above all they encourage member students to flunk schools and devote more attention to the education imparted by them which again leads to poor performance in school. School education stands to occupy an essential part in every student’s life to which coaching can only be a supplement and not a replacement. School education stands to occupy an essential part in every student’s life to which coaching can only be a supplement and not a replacement.
Levies Unprecedented Pressure on Young Minds
“Too much of anything isn’t good for anyone” states Ray Bradbury, the American screenwriter and author. Although this statement was made on an entirely different context, we see its application on our day to day lives. Today, the parental, as well as the societal pressure on students, has brimmed up to an unimaginable level where the pressure inflicted by these coaching institutes was the last thing one would have hoped for. It is not new, hearing students take their lives over issues as trivial as 2-3 marks, almost every fortnight we hear news about suicides in Kota, a spate of which has led many to question the prevailing education system. The rat race has consumed all students killing them little by little, it is rather unfortunate that some of these students need to take extreme step, unable to withstand the pressure. These coaching institutes are merely in the business to build a brand value for themselves for which they go to any extent for the success of their students. Their classes sometimes extend to as long as 8 hours, where a child spends 6 hours in school, 8 in coaching and is expected to study for minimum 4 hours, leaving him with 6 hours to eat, sleep and recreate.
Apart from this, parents tend to have a rather stern approach, possessing great expectations and high hopes. The adolescent brain is highly vulnerable and malleable which makes it difficult to actually navigate the changes occurring in them, what may seem like a usual rebuke impacts their brain in explicit ways. A child’s brilliance cannot be quantified in terms of marks, nor can his potential be realized by restricting him to societal norms and practices. What we need is liberalization of education, where the child is should be allowed to explore and think rather than being confined. Every child is different and therefore they demand different methods and ways, caging them into coaching institutes is unsettling and unjust. Every child is different and therefore they demand different methods and ways, caging them into coaching institutes is unsettling and unjust.
Reducing the Sanctity of the Teaching Profession
Guru is a Sanskrit term for the word ‘teacher, guide, expert’ of a certain knowledge or field. The syllable ‘gu’ means darkness, the syllable ‘ru’, he who dispels them, because of the power to dispel darkness, the guru is thus named. The relationship between a student and a teacher is as pious as that of God and His devotee, the lineage of which has been meticulously defined in the Upanishads and Vedas. Does the teaching faculty at these coaching institutes maintain the sanctity of a Godly figure so expected in them? The answer is no, the agenda for them is to make money than to impart knowledge, sure they perform the latter only to satisfy their own purpose. Unlike the olden times where a ‘shishya’ or a student was supposed to pay ‘gurudakshina’ or a token of gratitude to his/her ‘guru’ or teacher on completion of his education our generation believes in advance payment before availing the services.
The payment so done isn’t a nominal amount, but a rather extravagant one, compelling most students to take loans or opt for easy monthly instalments (EMI). The coaching culture is slowly turning into a dirty business wherein careers are being traded, the pristine prowess vested in these professionals are being tainted with greed. Every nook and corner of our country is brimming up with various coaching institutes which are looked by the society as easy money-making opportunities. The coaching class industry is growing as a separate industry with its exorbitant fees and unrestrained demand. However, there are certain educationalists who are coming up with various schemes and innovations to cater to the need of the learners. The infamous Anand Kumar, known for his ‘SUPER 30’ initiative wherein he went against the odds to provide education to the underprivileged kids thereby enabling them to succeed in our country’s most coveted competition.
This research paper is a compilation of all myths and facts related to the predominant coaching culture. We see that, on one hand the inception of this institution took place with the intent to supplement school academics and make work easier for students. However, with the passage of time, this evolved into a dirty practice. A necessary evil which had its own set of repercussions for the member student. The trend is such that almost 80% of Indian students seek this in some or the other form. Students with ages ranging from 5-18 can be seen taking classes, where the lower limit is baffling.
The necessity also stands unjustified as many uncoached students perform at par or even better than the ones who are coached. We conclude that the extravagant claims made are unwarranted in the academic and the competitive front. Schools and coaching institutes are constantly in a state of conflict with one another, as the latter hinders with the policies and practices of the prior. Coaching institutes are also renowned for loading of unprecedented pressure on member students, leading them to take questionable life decisions. And lastly, these institutes ruin the sanctity of the system of education and teaching profession by reducing it into a mere commercial activity with the sole intent to earn profits. This is followed by a comparative analysis of coaching cultures prevailing in India and Australia. The practices and techniques used in Australia are much more effective and student friendly unlike that of India. In conclusion, the omnipresent coaching culture needs a reformation with respect to its ethical and moral aspects to widen the prospects of future and to safeguard the interests of students.
- Advayataraka Upanishad, Verse 16
- Kenny, D., & Faunce, G. (2004). Effects of Academic Coaching on Elementary and Secondary School Students. The Journal of Educational Research, 98(2), 115-126. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27548066
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