Coaching classes-cum-college: Mumbai’s Ajit Pawar institute fiasco shows it’s a problem

Mumbai city news: Mumbai colleges admit that such partnerships have emerged because colleges witness large number of student absenteeism.

mumbai Updated: May 24, 2017 12:28 IST
Mumbai city news,education,integrated courses

The recent case of the derecognition of a Borivli college for admitting students illegally, has thrown light on the problem of colleges tying up with coaching classes to offer integrated courses. Although such courses are banned by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), they are completely unregulated in Maharashtra.

Shri Ajit Pawar College, Borivli, which was shut down by the state government on Monday, was offering integrated courses along with at least three coaching classes. The arrangement for was such that students were to be marked present in the college even if they attend only classes. All the lectures and even exams were held at the coaching centres. Students attend college only for practical exams, since the board appoints external examiners for conducting it.

Such arrangements — especially for classes 11 and 12 — are mushrooming in Mumbai colleges over the last couple of years. Coaching classes and colleges are baiting students with the promise of helping them with preparations for competitive exams such as the Joint Entrance Examination or the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET).

Mumbai colleges admit that such partnerships have emerged because colleges witness large number of student absenteeism, especially in science stream, say experts. “Very few students bother to attend college. They do not even appear for college theory exams, but only show up for practicals,” said Kavita Rege, principal, Sathaye College, Vile Parle.

But activists have called it a ‘money making racket’. The fees for integrated courses is much higher than regular courses — students who opted for a science integrated course at Ajit Pawar College, paid as much as Rs1.5 lakh annually, while in other colleges it goes up to Rs2 to 4 lakh.

Seeing the danger of such tie-ups, in 2015, CBSE said that it will cancel the affiliations of colleges that tie up with coaching classes or offer integrated courses. The CBSE said that schools, colleges cannot indulge in commercial activities, and even acknowledged that such courses are stressful for students.

Educators and activists in Maharashtra are fighting for the state government to come up with a similar restriction, or at least rules and regulations. Narendra Bhambwani, former vice-president of the Mumbai Coaching Classes Association has filed a petition in Bombay high court against such courses. “Integrated courses are started by colleges just to make money, it is a huge racket of Rs2,000 crores a year,” said Bhambwani.

According to Bhambwani, there are almost 300 colleges in Maharashtra who are offering such courses. “We have tried all ways to bring this matter to the attention of the education department, but our complaints have fallen on the deaf ears of the department,” added Bhambhwani .

First Published: May 24, 2017 12:20 IST