Coaching, dummy schools nexus driving away students from mainstream school? - Hindustan Times
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Coaching, dummy schools nexus driving away students from mainstream school?

By, Lucknow
Apr 17, 2024 08:20 PM IST

At dummy school it is not mandatory for students to attend school regularly, while they continue their studies at the coaching institute

With CBSE board cracking whip on 20 dummy schools across India last month, the mainstream schools in Lucknow voice for more stringent rules to be put in place to check the growing foothold of dummy institutions.

Coaching, dummy school nexus driving away students from mainstream school? (Pic for representation)
Coaching, dummy school nexus driving away students from mainstream school? (Pic for representation)

The coaching institutes in Lucknow, that prepare students for IIT JEE and NEET, have entered a tie up with number of ICSE and CBSE schools that are not doing well to enroll coaching students as dummy candidates by paying certain amount of fees that makes them eligible to write board exams. At dummy school it is not mandatory for students to attend school regularly, while they continue their studies at the coaching institute.

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“In Lucknow alone, nearly 10,000 students are being mentored by coaching institutions by getting them enrolled in dummy schools which is more than 10 in the state capital. The arrangement suits all stakeholders--parents, coaching and dummy schools, which have affiliation but do not have students. It is a good bargain for such institutions,” said a franchise officer of a coaching institute that has a strong network in many cities of UP.

Rekha Agarwal (name changed) goes to a prominent all girl school affiliated to ICSE/ISC board. She appeared in class 10 board exam this year. Her parents were weighing various options to prepare for IIT-JEE. In their pursuit, they reached a coaching institute that arrived in Lucknow recently.

There she was encouraged not to study class 11, 12 from any regular school. Instead, opt for a dummy school with which the coaching institution has already arranged for writing board exams.

Strong nexus between coaching & dummy schools

The coaching institutes in Lucknow are encouraging meritorious students to leave their regular school and get admission to a dummy school wherein they will be required to pay a nominal fees upto 5000 per month and more than 1.5 lakh annually to coaching institute.

On March 22, 2024, CBSE cracked the whip on 20 such schools in India including 3 from UP. A surprise inspection was conducted in CBSE schools across the country to check whether the schools are running as per the provisions and norms contained in affiliation and examination by-laws. After thorough inquiry, CBSE decided to disaffiliate them, said Himanshu Gupta, secretary, CBSE Board in a press release.

Deputy secretary of Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, Sangeeta Bhatia said, “ICSE, ISC board adopted zero tolerance policy against dummy institutions. If there was a complaint against such schools, we would crack the whip. But the number of ICSE, ISC schools is far too less than CBSE schools in the country.”

Parents opting for dummy school

School principals said they are getting requests from parents to exempt their child from 70% attendance as they will prepare for JEE from a coaching institute. Principal of La Martiniere Girls College Aashrita Dass said, “A parent requested me to let her child study as a dummy student. I told them this is not done. Children must come to school regularly. More than the child, it is their parents who are motivating their kids to study as dummy.”

ICSE Lucknow coordinator and principal Hoerner College, Mala Mehra said, “Some schools are struggling to get good students in class 11, as parents are increasingly opting for dummy schools.”

Pleading anonymity, a former CBSE official said, “This is the manifestation of commercialisation and commodification in school education. This existed earlier also but is rampant now. This is there in most boards and is done by schools in collusion with coaching institutions.”

“Coaching institutions have expanded so much now that they have become bigger than the formal schooling system. Most of the data sent by many schools to boards is fake, unreliable and in some cases, may not even exist. We need to take strong measures to stop this practice. It will be good if CBSE by-laws becomes an act so that strong punitive measures can also be taken besides downgrading and disaffiliation of schools,” he said.

Sarvesh Goel, chairman, GD Goenka Public School, said that a dummy school doesn’t make much of a sense. CBSE has been cracking the whip against those schools which is a welcome step.

However, parents blame schools for not having good science teachers. This is the main reason parents are tempted to withdraw their child from mainstream schools and push them to study at coaching where they can prepare simultaneously for JEE or NEET and their boards too.

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