I distinctly remember when I entered grade 8 of school, coaching institutes were wooing their potential candidates, lecturing children as young as 12 and 13 on ‘success’ and how one achieves success by cracking an ABC entrance exam after which they gets a nice ‘package’ and settle in life. It was all aversive to me, how people would pay so much to sit in a cramped classroom where mock tests decided your self worth.
What I saw was very obvious to me, but it wasn’t to my fellow schoolmates who did decide to sign up for coaching. My parents’ anxiety loomed each day as I continued to refuse coaching classes. I get where my parents’ anxiety comes from. It is indeed very hard to get a respectable, good earning job in this country without stomping on thousands of others, including your peers. ‘Cutthroat competition’ although a buzzword today, quite effectively describes the situation.
This anxiety is omnipresent and coaching institutes, vicious enough in their business strategies decide to tap these anxieties to squeeze out money from the masses. A lot of those include people from poor backgrounds, without means to access proper education who only seek a better life after investing hard earned life savings.
Coaching institutes which boast of guiding students to gain the top ranks in exams seek to reduce the individuals to their most marketable essence. The totality of their existence is judged by the decimal digits that follow 99 and they are confined to their passport sized photos on a large banner along with their All India Ranking (Much to everyone’s suspicion, all the toppers seem to be associated with all the coaching institutes)
Coaching culture is so widespread and accepted that most of actually consider it a basic necessity in getting an education. That explains the sorry state out higher education system is in, where school and college teachers wouldn’t ever give a damn about a student’s further studies.
When I learnt that earning money is not just the end motive but the soul motive of coaching centres, I refused to acknowledge their credibility. Why do I hear about people who crack Civil Service exams, only to quit their jobs after a few months to teach a class where they earn in lakhs? Why do IIT graduates, instead of giving back to the government that invests so much in them, vow to make you the next IITian?
Education in India is not a transmission of knowledge but actually a very strategic trade. Coaching institutes are seemingly the throne bearers of this trade.