“Teachers in colleges are not bothered about teaching. Tuitions are more helpful to students as the number of people in the tuition classes is fewer,” opined Sanjana Srinath, a commerce student in a reputed college in Bangalore. Worrisome as this statement may seem, the student has some more discomforting revelations to make. “Some of our lecturers have their own coaching classes and they urge us to join them. Their motive is to get as many students as they can.”
“So fierce is the competition among the college lecturers to attract students to their tuition classes — rather than imparting quality education in colleges — that few unscrupulous lecturers resorted to stealing the question papers of 2012 II PUC question papers to give their students an edge over their competitors”. After the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) inquiry laid bare the involvement of the college lecturers-turned tuition teachers in the paper leak racket, putting thousands of students to hardship, the Department of Pre University Education (DPUE) cancelled affiliations to the colleges involved.
The unholy nexus between lecturers and private coaching centres is not new, but it was never on a scale as large as this, say old timers in the education sector.
Should be banned
M.S. Shivakumar, principal of Atria Institute of Technology, said some colleges have laid down the rule that lecturers cannot take extra tuitions outside college. “Back in the 1970s, lecturers did help out their own students in a few difficult subjects for a nominal fee. But private coaching centres were very rare. This practice has now become more commercial, which is definitely unethical. The government should ban this activity,” he said.
Asked whether there should be some form of regulation for private coaching centres, he said, “They shouldn’t even be considered for a regulation. Emphasis should be given on efficient teaching within the classroom.”
Experts in the education field claimed that a good number of college lecturers double up as private tuition teachers as it is an easy channel for extra income.
Acknowledging the presence of this practice, but sounding the warning bells for it, one of the founders of a coaching centre chain said, “This practice has to be stopped. If the teachers tend to ignore their responsibilities in colleges, there is a need to ponder about this issue.”
Career counsellor and Director of Sigma India, Ameen E. Mudassar said a majority of students appearing for II PUC examinations and CET enrol themselves for tuitions as part of a “herd mentality.” “There is no need for such a phobia as students can prepare well for the examinations if the college faculty complete the syllabus and devote their full attention to the students in college. Students also should demand regular classes in the college from the lecturers instead of going to their tuitions.”
Naksha S., a science student, also feels that the “necessity” for tuitions is mostly psychological. “The notion that college teaching is bad is deep-rooted in students. Those who do not go to tuitions feel inferior and think they are missing out on something. It is a blind trend that is being aped.”
The malaise of tuitions is not restricted to II PUC and CET. Even after joining professional colleges, a section of the students tend to continue with the practice. An engineering college lecturer spoke about how coaching centres offering tuitions to engineering students fleece them. “They prescribe books outside the university syllabus, claiming to be the same as they are cheap. These are basically notes in the printed form, thus exploiting the students,” he said.
However, coaching centre representatives pointed out that the government could not curb the growth of coaching or tutoring centres in the country as students were dependent on them during their “critical years”.” “It is a competitive world and students depend heavily on coaching centres for competitive exams. When asked why the Pre-Examination Coaching Centres Regulatory Authority Bill did not get enough support, a coaching centre owner said, “Even if the bill was created with good intent, it would not be effective as there are too many coaching centres in the city.” But he agreed that there was a need for a relook as this trend was not healthy as the competition was “too much.”
Keywords: Tuition classes for college students, unscrupulous lecturers, 2012 II PUC question paper leak, question paper leak racket, college lecturers-turned tuition teachers, lecturers-coaching centres nexus, Atria Institute of Technology principal M.S. Shivakumar, Sigma India Director Ameen E. Mudassar, Pre-Examination Coaching Centres Regulatory Authority Bill