Coaching Menace

India’s Tuition Empire today is a real menace threatening traditional education system. Coaching culture is an epidemic now. For one thing coaching is now big business with reasonable returns and low risk. Its size is growing in leaps and bounds. Some big establishments spend huge sums on advertisement engaging film stars to attract students and their parents. It was unthinkable even a decade ago.

From Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra, Bihar to Kerala, Bengal to Tamil Nadu the tuition republic of India with its neighbourhood tutors, teachers moonlighting as tutors, social media edu-influencers and coaching classes has spread its tentacles into the digital world as well. After two years of pandemic interruption, it’s now bigger than ever and is an inescapable part of growing up in urban India. According to the data published by the National Sample Survey in 2016, there are 7.1 crore students enrolled in tuitions.

Psychologists are studying the effect of this prolonged period of lost childhood and stress induced by this rush for a ceaseless tuition race.

“There was a time when tuition classes were temporary solutions. These days they become a lifestyle. It starts from the age of five and goes on for the next two decades. When that person becomes a parent, he/she enrolls their children in tuition as well”.

The government is banking on the National Education Policy to improve the existing education system and reduce the dependence on tuition teachers and coaching classes. But so far, legislation has done little to stem the growing reach of this parallel industry.

“The annual revenue of coaching institutes was a whopping Rs 24,000 crore, according to a 2015 estimate by an expert committee set up by the education ministry (then-Union Human Resource Development ministry). The current market revenue of the coaching industry in India is Rs 58,088 crore, according to Infinium Global Research, a consultancy firm based in Pune. The coaching industry’s growth is projected to reach Rs 1,33,995 crore by 2028.

Educationists and psychologists are alarmed and are calling for a large-scale survey to study the industry, especially at the school level where kindergarten children rely on private tuitions.

Whether they realise it or not, they’re in the race for a limited number of seats in medical, engineering, law and teaching colleges, or jobs in the civil services, railways, etc. Too many people are chasing too few jobs.

This year, UPSC 2022 preliminary examination saw more than 11 lakh aspirants competing for 1,011 seats. And more than 18 lakh students attempted NEET for 91,927 MBBS seats in 612 government and private medical colleges across the country.

In small towns and villages, it’s almost as if every third household has transformed into a personalised tuition centre. Living rooms have become classrooms and the neighbourhood aunty or the young college graduates have become teachers.

Parents see tuitions as the only way for their children to edge out competition, escape the family’s social station and ace the jobs game. For teachers, conducting private tuition has evolved into a lucrative business.

The vast majority of the middle-class opts for coaching centres. The sector dominated by giant brands like Byju’s, Allen Career Institute and Resonance come into the picture.

Byju’s, for instance, has more than 4,000 tuition centres across India. Within a year of launching in Jaipur in October 2021, the brand set up six centres in the city. Students from class one to three are taught online, while the rest up to class 10 have to attend offline classes.

A survey conducted by the WHO reported that Indian mothers spend 7.5 hours per week on childcare and 1.3 hours on child development activities, totaling nearly nine hours. In 2021, American mothers spent 12.3 hours a week on their children.

For Indians racing to catch up, life is an unending classroom where the bell just doesn’t go off.


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Vol 55, No. 29, Jan 15 - 21, 2023