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Free coaching centres for government jobs face retention test in Mumbai

Mumbai city news: Economically weaker students leave courses midway after realising the difficulty level of government exams

mumbai Updated: Jun 05, 2017 01:14 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
UGC,Mumbai city news,coaching institutes
As part of the Centre's(HT FILE PHOTO)

Cree coaching centres to prepare economically weaker students for government jobs seem to have had a little impact in the city. Reason: On realising how difficult the exams are, students drop out, say experts.

“Many aspirants leave the two-year course mid-way. Qualifying civil services requires multiple attempts, but aspirants give up after just one attempt,” said SAM Hashmi, founding director of Universal Education Centre, a coaching institute.

As part of the Centre's12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017), the University Grants Commission (UGC) proposed to set up coaching classes to train students from Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) and the minority community. A handful of colleges in the city adopted the scheme and are running these centres in their premises.

However, they have trouble attracting and retaining students. Colleges are not aware if any of their students have cracked the civil services exams after dropping out.

In 2009, the central government-run Haj house in the city started classes to prepare Muslim students for civil services examination. This was after a panel headed by retired judge Rajender Sachar in 2006 noted that Muslims had just 3% representation in the civil services and 4% in the police services.

Ataurrahman, chief executive officer (CEO) at Hajj Committee of India, although the number applicants has increased over the years, retaining students for the entire duration of a programme has been a challenge. “Of the 50 aspirants, 30 to 35 complete the course. The progress to get more youth to take the civil services exam has been very slow,” he said.

The centre has produced only one Indian Police Services (IPS) officer, one Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer and 30-odd officers serving in other administrative roles. As many as 50 of 1,099 candidates who cleared Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination this year were Muslims — the highest since Independence.

Not only government-run coaching centres, even institutees managed by communities are also facing lack of commitment from students. For the past three years, Universal Education Centre has been running two institutes — at Mumbra and at Anjuman-i-Islam campus opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station. While they have trained 200 students, retention is a problem for them, too.

Ruia College in Matunga shut down its coaching centres around two years ago owing to a poor response.Similarly, the enrollment of students in civil services training centre at NG Acharya and DK Marathe College dropped from around 280 students in 2014-15 to 122 in 2015-16. Around 40 to 50 students actually attend lectures.

“The civil services exams are not easy to crack and require a lot of hard work. Most students in our college fall behind as they belong to the lower socio-economic strata,” said Vidyagauri Lele, principal of the college.

However, despite the odds the training centres are optimistic. “We provide students free-of-cost study material and also invite teachers from outside. Students have found it very helpful,” said Shobhana Vasudevan, principal, RA Podar College, Matunga. She added that last year one student from the college cleared the UPSC examination.

First Published: Jun 05, 2017 01:08 IST