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Coaching a hot new career amid slowdown

Teaching at institutes coaching students for various competitive examinations has emerged as a sought-after career option among engineering students, reports Shriya Ghate.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2009 01:23 IST
Shriya Ghate

Teaching at institutes coaching students for various competitive examinations has emerged as a sought-after career option among engineering students.

With the economy having slowed down and companies scaling back on recruitment, city coaching classes such as Career Launcher, IMS Learning Resources and Triumphant Institute of Management Education (TIME) say they have seen applications for instructor positions jump this year, by 30 per cent to 100 per cent of what they were last year.

They are mostly from engineering students, with commerce and science graduates accounting for the rest.

“Suddenly, the education industry is experiencing an influx of talented graduates,” said Anand Bhatia, general manager, Career Launcher.

The Mumbai operations of IMS, which trains students for MBA and engineering entrance exams, received 30 per cent more applications for tutors this academic year; the Mumbai centre of TIME, which trains students for MBA, IIT and law entrance exams, got double the number of applications it got last year; and Career Launcher has received about 20 resumés this year, as against none last year.

Another coaching institution that caters to junior and senior college students, which did not wish to be named, said 50 per cent more BCom and BSc graduates had applied this year as tutors.

“Students from BITS (Birla Institute of Technological Sciences) Goa, are asking if there are teaching positions available,” said Harshal Chandak, senior executive, academics, Mumbai at Career Launcher.

“Students are now looking at education as a serious career option.”

One reason is the money. Teaching in this country by and large pays poorly, but the narrower activity of coaching has grown to be quite lucrative.

New recruits begin with a salary of between Rs15,000 and Rs25,000 a month, according to industry estimates. In just two years, their salaries can double.

“The choice for engineers these days is either to do an IT job or a sales job,” said Ashish Patil, an engineering graduate who now heads academics at the Borivli branch of Career Launcher.

“I was interested in neither, and so I thought that I might as well take up education.”

Patil was recruited three years ago by Career Forum, another coaching class, while he was in his final year at the University Institute of Technology RGVP in Bhopal. He later moved to Career Launcher.

Another attraction is that while coaching pays much better than teaching, it is not as strenuous as many corporate jobs. “The increments come very fast,” he said. “The rewards are higher and the load lighter than in a corporate set-up.”

Selection process

As the demand for jobs in this sector increases, the selection process has become more stringent.

Candidates who apply for teaching jobs in institutes that coach students for competitive examinations such as the GMAT, CAT, etc, are expected to have scored high in these exams themselves: they are usually in the top 10 per cent.

Apart from their scores and academic qualifications, they are often told to give a mock lecture so that they can be judged on how well they will perform in the classroom.

Some coaching classes are honing in on the best BCom and BSc students even while they are in college, and giving them a year’s training.

This year, one coaching class that did not want to be named said it had already recruited about 25 of its own students.

Some of these young recruits feel they make better teachers than their older counterparts.

“It’s very simple,” said Vignesh Vishwanathan, an engineering graduate from KJ Somaiya College, who will be training students for the Group Discussion and Personal Interview module at a major training institute. “We are like a shining example of someone who has already cleared the exam. What can give students more confidence than that?”

Said Harshal Chandak of Career Launcher: “We’re approachable, we have no ego hassles and are open to criticism. That is what gives us an edge.”