Students in the race for competitive exams, such as the IIT entrance test, are starting a little too young. In a bid to get an edge over ever-increasing competition, children are joining coaching institutes as early as in Class 6.
“When I heard of these classes, I thought it was too much for an 11-year-old. But after a talk with my wife, we went for it,” says Girish Joshi, whose son goes to coaching institute FIITJEE in Kalu Sarai.
Students who start this early usually attend weekend classes that last two-three hours. Other coaching centres, such as Aakash Institute and TIME, start their ‘foundation programmes’ slightly later, admitting students from classes 8 and 7, respectively.
But they all have one thing in common: All institutes claim to give students an edge in analytical thinking, which supposedly helps them crack competitive exams later.
The trend was started three years ago by FIITJEE, and an interest by parents ensured other institutes vying for a piece of the coaching pie followed suit.
Coaching centres and parents often claim students are being prepped for science and mathematics Olympiads, but the ultimate goal is to coach them for engineering and medical exams.
While enrollment for such classes is in the hundreds, some feel this takes the competition a little too far.
“How can you expect a 12-year-old to go to school and then go for coaching classes? My son does not even know what he wants to do when he grows up. Why would I send him to classes that prepare him for engineering or medical entrances?” says Mahima Yadav, the mother of a class 6 student at DPS Vasant Vihar.
Educationists also flay the trend.“I don’t understand the need for these classes. To assume only science and mathematics is education is ridiculous. The child needs to learn how to think independently, team work and other life skills,” says Anuradha Joshi, principal, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya.
FIITJEE director RL Trikha brushes away any criticism. “It is never too early to train your brain. Younger brains can adjust to analytical thinking better. Children who come to our classes are very calm; it is parents who overreact to pressure. Children need to get into the spirit of completion early,” he says.