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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

New school of thought: Smaller junior colleges, higher Science cut-offs

While first-year junior college (FYJC) cut-offs for the Science stream at some well-known colleges like Ruia, Ruparel and Jai Hind Colleges saw a dip this year, newer and less high-profile colleges – many of which belong to prominent coaching chains – seem to have attracted many of the city’s high scorers.

education Updated: Aug 18, 2019 09:11 IST
Ankita Bhatkhande
Ankita Bhatkhande
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Progress coaching Classes in Ratanbai Walbhai Junior science College Mulund -- PHOTO BY PRAFUL GANGURDE
Progress coaching Classes in Ratanbai Walbhai Junior science College Mulund -- PHOTO BY PRAFUL GANGURDE
         

A crop of relatively lesser-known colleges seem to have replaced the more established ones as sought-after destinations for high-scoring students opting for Science stream in the city. While first-year junior college (FYJC) cut-offs for the Science stream at some well-known colleges like Ruia, Ruparel and Jai Hind Colleges saw a dip this year, newer and less high-profile colleges – many of which belong to prominent coaching chains – seem to have attracted many of the city’s high scorers.

Experts said that the consolidation of integrated coaching – the practice of coaching classes and junior colleges tying up to offer a one-stop-shop solution to those preparing for engineering, medical and architecture entrance tests – is driving this trend. While the education department banned integrated coaching in 2017, the practice has assumed different forms, like “synchronised learning” at small junior colleges and giants of coaching academies setting up their own colleges.

Pravin Tyagi, managing director of IITians Pace, said, “At our institutes, we think first about students. If they don’t like the teaching, we do not retain those teachers. Parents thus prefer sending children here as they see results.” IITians Pace has 14 junior colleges across the city, most of which had cut-offs above 90% in the Science stream.

In the first merit list for FYJC, Ratanbai Walbai Municipal Junior Science College in Mulund, run by coaching giant Vidyalankar, had the highest cut-off for the Science stream this year at 95%. In its online prospectus, the college says it offers synchronised learning in which students are trained for the “boards as well as engineering entrance exams”. Similarly, Narayana Junior College in Andheri (East), owned by a coaching chain of the same name, recorded the second highest cut-off at 94.8%. Rao Junior College in Borivli, set up by coaching group Rao IIT in 2018, had a cut-off of 92.6% in its first merit list.

Vinay Kumar, managing director of Rao IIT, said more students want a model where they get to prepare for entrance exams along with the boards. “State students have to take national entrance exams like JEE and NEET for which traditional colleges do not give the required training. We have a small class size with only 45 students in each division. Students get individual attention and guidance to crack these exams along with scoring well in the boards,” he said.

In contrast, prominent and established colleges saw a considerable dip in their cut-offs for Science. At Jai Hind college, there was a dip of over 2% from 2018 and the college closed its first merit list at 83.6%. Similarly, Ramnivas Ruia College closed its first list at 91%, 2% down from last year. Vidyadhar Joshi, vice-principal, VG Vaze College, said, “While prominent colleges continue to get meritorious students, it is true that there is a huge craze for these newly opened junior colleges. Students don’t want to be bound by rules laid down by established colleges, like compulsory attendance, and are attracted towards these colleges which promise to focus on coaching more.” He said the colleges sometimes struggle with students who place greater importance upon joint entrance examinations. “They often expect concessions in attendance or want colleges to give marks for subjects like EVS leniently. They think that the two years of junior college as ‘unnecessary’ as their fate rests on their performance in the entrance exams,” he added.

Satish Deshmukh, president of the Coaching Classes Proprietors association (CCPA), said easy permissions for opening a college had helped coaching classes legalise the tie-up model. “The government, on one hand, has banned integrated coaching, but on the other, it has given permission to several coaching classes to open junior colleges. Once they set up a college, there are no restrictions on them and they can in fact adopt the same integrated model without any fear,” he said.

First Published: Aug 18, 2019 00:03 IST

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