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Closing the door on winter coaching
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Closing the door on winter coaching

A question: why has tuition become so popular and why about 95% students, including the brilliant ones, rush to tuition or coaching centers?

Post by on Monday, January 3, 2022

First slide

That the government of Jammu and Kashmir has passed strict instructions directing the school teachers [of all categories] not to do coaching at any private coaching centre, is a step which many people have welcomed. Such steps were taken in the past winters as well and purportedly were not followed satisfactorily.  But this time, the authorities look to be in no mood to confine the instructions to papers; any official found violating them is likely to face tough action on ground level.

The big point is coaching has become a permanent part of the education system in Jammu and Kashmir. And students are seen thronging the centers rain or shine. Thousands of coaching centers work throughout a year, leaving schools with markedly low attendance of students.

A question: why has tuition become so popular and why about 95% students, including the brilliant ones, rush to tuition or coaching centers?

Most people believe that students seek tuition because there is poor teaching or incompetent teachers at schools. But that is not the case always: we have about 90% very competent teachers at schools. True, questions can be raised over the dedication and commitment of a few teachers; yet, the river of ability and efficiency flows in their veins.

Being a teacher, I know it from my firsthand experience that these capable educators can work wonders if the roadblocks in their way are removed. Such hurdles —at the administrative as well as at the non- administrative level— bulldoze the crop of sincere and serious performance at schools.

I know an elementary school teacher who very successfully and satisfactorily has been teaching at the higher secondary level for many years but some lower rung officials are desperately trying to stop this teacher from serving the poor students at the higher secondary school. Instead of doing their own work honestly, these 'public servants'  interfere in the administrative matters and so harm the public interest on impunity.

Coming back to the race for the winter coaching, one of the main reasons for buying it is the boundless importance linked with competition. Parents pressurise their children to come first in a class and perform better than everyone in the exams. In this competitive climate, the desire for deep study dies its own death. Today nearly 90% students think it unwise and fruitless to study a textbook: for them, the study material on loose sheets is a passport and license to pass an exam/test with merit and merry. So the book reading, at home or school, they love to hate.

Additionally, a crowd of students in a classroom kills the effective teaching-learning environment while most students do not understand the topics quicker or better. Indiscipline and inattention hijack the crowded classroom.  My experience of teaching from more than 13 years says that the classes consisting of more than 20 students are not easy to teach: students have different levels of   absorbing knowledge and a huge number of students allow no respite or an opportunity to present a topic effectively.

The ideal number of students in a class has been fixed at 10 by educationists in developed countries having studied the advantages of small class numbers. When the number of students is ten, a teacher gets time to give each child some personal attention which even most conscientious teachers cannot give when classes have about 40 students or more than that.

Another serious problem is that we have teachers who deliberately leave the syllabus of a subject incomplete and lure students into their private classes. Most principals at private schools know this and stop their students from seeking tuition, at a "coaching centre" from teachers of their own school. But at government schools, the ploy has seemed unstoppable.

Next, coaching at times is useful for the student who lags behind in grasping classroom presentation or whose performance is not satisfactory. In such cases, a tutor may prove useful or supportive for providing remedial teaching to the pupil [s].

Also, we face another problem at the institutions — the one which makes coaching necessary. At hundreds of schools, we do not have subject specific teachers available which forces the students prefer tuition to schools.

Similarly, the concern of not completing syllabi at schools due to unforeseen circumstances makes coaching essential. Add to this the relaxed attitude of some teachers. These teachers hardly take their work seriously and so either ignore their classes or attend them half-heartedly — a situation which leaves students dependent on the study material or understand the content by themselves. As a result, students feel demotivated and they prefer tuitions.

Finally, we come to the craze among students for becoming doctors and engineers. Students prefer coaching for the subjects that are important for passing an eligibility test for a doctor's or an engineering course. To pass these tests, they think that coaching not schooling is a requirement.

Though there is no harm in having tuition classes, particularly for those students aiming at passing eligibility/entrance tests, equilibrium should not be upset to make schools irrelevant and irritants. Schools can train our students to face the various challenges of life. All of us should pull the pan out of the fire; just watching it there and commenting on it is unlikely to save it from the consuming fire.


(The Author is a teacher by profession and RK Columnist. He can be reached on: Sheikhshabir518@gmail.com) 


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