While her board exams were just around the corner, Shubham Jain, 15, was busy preparing for an entrance exam to get into a coaching class.
“I cannot imagine clearing IIT-JEE (the entrance exam to the Indian Institutes of Technology) without joining a coaching class,” said Jain, an aspiring IITian who scored 96% in her ICSE exams.
With results coming out one after the other — ICSE and ISC results were declared on May 17, CBSE Class 12 results were declared on May 23 and HSC results were declared on May 27 — the admission season has begun.
But more than college admissions, students are fretting about getting into the right coaching class. While classes that coach for professional entrance exams such as engineering, medical, chartered accountancy and company secretary have entrance tests, exams for regular courses mostly offer walk-in admissions.
The hunt for these classes begins well in advance.
“I started looking out for classes for my son immediately after his Class 10 results, even before the college admission process began. It is important to begin the search well ahead of time, so that you do not make the wrong choice,” said Rajendra Wani, whose son is now in Class 12.
The coaching class industry has seen an unprecedented growth rate in the past few years.
The IIT-JEE coaching class industry alone is estimated at Rs10,000 crore. At IITian’s Pace, a Mumbai-based coaching centre, 10,000 students appear for their entrance test, with only 2,000 seats on offer.
Students say that the academic rigour and teaching techniques make coaching classes stand apart.
“With their regular tests, coaching classes ensure that you are constantly in touch with the syllabus. I try not miss a single lecture even if it clashes with my college schedule,” said Revati Kurundwad, 16, a class 12 student.
The extensive use of technology also appeals to students. “We are taught beyond textual matter and the use of audio-visual medium for teaching instead of the conventional chalk-and-talk method leads to better understanding of the subject,” said Chinmayee Mhatre, 17, a Class 12 science student.
Students who haven’t joined any coaching class are a tad bit insecure. “I did not join any class to save travel time. However, now I feel that I should have because it boosts your scores, but sadly admissions are full now. I now feel that my friends have an edge over me,” said Anuja Patwardhan, a Class 11 student.
There are still some who belong to the rapidly dwindling anti-coaching brigade.
Aasawari Phadke, 17, a Class 12 student who scored 86.88% said, “I firmly believe that coaching classes are a fad. Good scores can be achieved only with hard work. Even an average student can score well with regular studies. One does not require coaching classes for that.”