Students aiming for the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are queuing up to join pre-university colleges that offer IIT-integrated programmes. These programmes, offered jointly by the colleges and renowned coaching institutes, are expensive but in huge demand.

However, parents don't seem to mind spending heavily on their wards' education. Sandhya Manjunath, mother of Vaishnavi M., an SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) topper, told The Hindu her daughter had been working to get into this programme since the eighth standard. “She is determined to give her best in the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination. She feels that joining an IIT-integrated PU programme will help achieve her goal.”

Other exams too

She added that the integrated programme will help Vaishnavi prepare not just for IIT-JEE but also a host of other entrance examinations, including the State's Common Entrance Test and the All India Engineering Entrance Examination. “It will cost around Rs. 80,000 a year but we are fortunate that we can pay for her education. We want to ensure that there are no roadblocks for her,” she added.

The fees

Surya Bhaskar (name changed), an engineering student, studied at a college offering such a programme.

“We were in touch with the college only for the fourth optional, i.e., biology/ electronics/ computer science, English and second language. The main subjects were handled by tutors from the coaching institute. While the college fees is around Rs. 20,000, the coaching institute charged Rs. 33,000,” he said.

The coaching institute provided study material for PU, IIT and other entrance examinations, besides conducting tests every two weeks.

Tie-up

Vallish N. Herur from BASE, an IIT coaching institute that has tied up with some PU colleges, said students who opt for these programmes benefit in two ways.

“Firstly, this programme ensures that their preparation for the various competitive examinations is synchronous with that of the PU examinations. Secondly, they don't have to go for additional tuitions and they get trained for the various competitive examinations at their college itself,” he said. He insisted that the IIT-integrated programme is more advantageous than the regular PU course. “The learning sequence in a regular course is different. Also, students would be forced to go for tuitions, which is an added burden,” he said.

However, those from other coaching institutes that offer IIT training do not agree. Ajay Anthony from TIME said it is important to see how many students from these IIT-integrated courses actually make it to the IITs as opposed to those from regular PU programmes who opt for additional coaching.

He said 95 TIME-coached students cleared the IIT-JEE in 2007, 115 in 2008 and 340 in 2009. “A small percentage of students from these IIT-integrated courses clear the IIT-JEE. One cannot argue with a system that has consistently shown results,” he added.

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