Taruni Rajan, 16, has been waiting for her Class 10 examinations to get over. But Taruni’s wait is not for a summer break. Instead, she wants to join a coaching institute offering integrated coaching in a city-based college.
“What attracted me to this institute is that I will get to study in a good college and prepare for competitive examinations at the same time,” said Taruni, who has applied for junior college plus JEE advanced coaching at a south Mumbai institute.
Although her friends and family are unsure, Taruni feels this is a right move. “I want to pursue mechanical engineering. Even if I choose to go to a college and opt for classes later, I will have to juggle between two different institutes, which will be a waste of time and energy. Integrated coaching, instead, works for me,” she said.
Over the years, more and more coaching institutes have been collaborating with colleges to attract more students. “I spent the first few months of Class 11 in a college, pursuing junior college education in the science stream. By the middle of the year, I decided to apply for integrated coaching at another institute. There was barely any difference,” said Anirudh Rai, who is currently pursuing Class 12 at the same institute, while preparing for JEE examinations. “I have friends who I can have fun with during the classes as well as after the classes. The only thing I miss is a full-fledged canteen,” Anirudh said.
PACE Junior Science Colleges opened for junior college admissions online in 2010. The aim was to combine regular college lectures with preparation for competitive examinations. “I don’t think any other college could offer me something like this,” said Aditya Singh, 17, a Class 12 student of PACE Junior Science College in Andheri. “I don’t have to waste my time running between the college and coaching classes, because it comes under one roof. Our faculty comprises former IITians. This gives you an edge over other colleges while preparing for JEE,” he said.
While students see very little or no difference between colleges and coaching institutes, college principals reiterate the importance of studying in a college.
“Students fail to understand that college life is not just about canteens and bunking lectures, but about the knowledge they gain from others around them. Professors, seniors and management make the education holistic, which the best coaching class, too, can’t give,” said Agnelo Menezes, principal of St Xavier’s College, Dhobi Talao.