While colleges continue to tie up with coaching institutes to train their students for competitive exams, the state finally seems to have realised the need to put rules in place.
Currently, there are no rules for coaching classes. While the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, specifies that school teachers cannot or should not coax students to join their coaching classes or tuitions after school hours, there is no rule to stop students or teachers from doing so.
In March 2014, although the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said it doesn’t approve of coaching institutes conducting classes on school premises under the pretext of providing coaching for various entrance examinations, many continue to flout the rule.
In March, the Maharashtra Class Owners’ Association had filed a petition against the practice of integrated coaching, calling it a “farce”.
“We are not against any regulation. But there are enough laws for the government to act against erring colleges. Why does the government want to bring in a new law, when they can’t implement the existing ones,” asked Narendra Bhambwani, vice-president of the association.
Taking the concerns over the quality of teaching, fees and rights of students into account, state education minister Vinod Tawde recently announced he would form a committee of lawyers, educationists and MLAs to suggest rules for coaching classes.
“No norms or legislations govern coaching classes at present. This had led to mushrooming of classes across the state. There is a need to build a framework that covers infrastructure, quality of teaching/teachers and fee structure in order to ensure that public don’t get fooled by class owners,” said Tawde.
“The members will put together rules and regulations, and the government will then take a stand on how best to implement them,” he added.
“The government stresses on quality education, but allows coaching classes to function out of colleges. This way, both the college and the coaching institute get to make more money. With integrated coaching, students get the option to bunk classes to prepare for competitive examinations. This privilege puts other colleges at a disadvantage,” said the principal of a college in Bandra, on condition of anonymity.
Bhambwani said the earlier attempts by the government to bring in regulations have been unsuccessful owing to the lack of standardisation among coaching institutes.
“Just like the government can’t regulate the fee structure for private schools, coaching classes, too, can’t be brought under one common law,” he said, adding only major coaching institutes overcharge students.
Educationists said students and parents need to change their way of thinking. “The issue is not just about guidelines for private coaching classes. The need of the hour is to change the mindset of parents and students, who feel schools and colleges are not doing a good job. Once that changes, it’ll be easier for the government to regulate the classes,” said Fr Francis Swamy, coordinator for St Xavier’s School in Dhobi Talao.