Ask Class 10 students or those studying pre-university in the science stream if they are attending tuition classes, and rarely will you get no for an answer. Ask them if they know whether their tutorial is registered, and you will draw a blank.
A few know that private tutorials have to be mandatorily registered under the Karnataka Education Act, 1983. Coaching centres too seem to be ignoring the rule.
The Department of Technical Education has just one tutorial registered with it. Officials said some seven centres had applied for registration not long ago. “But the inspection team found inadequate compliance to rules, so their request was rejected. Most centres appear to be wary of this possibility and decide not to apply at all,” the official said.
Even though a large number of coaching centres could come under the ambit of the Department of Pre-University Education, officials do not remember the last time a coaching centre approached them for licence. A review in 2011 found that nearly 94 per cent of science students attend private tuitions.
What is worrying is the blurring of lines between a college and a private tutorial with the emergence of “integrated courses”. So, apart from the college fees, students have to pay around Rs. 70,000 a year for tuition classes. Significantly, these “integrated courses” find no mention in the Karnataka Tutorial Institutions (Registration and Regulation) Rules, 2001. Neither is there any reference to the fee structure in it.
Another grey area is of lecturers doubling up as tutorial owners or teachers, something that was highlighted last year when it was found that government college lecturers were involved in the II PU question paper leak to benefit students in their coaching centres. This is also being pointed as a major reason why tutorials are thriving.
The Karnataka Tutorial Institutions (Registration and Regulation) Rules, 2001 specify that “no person in the employment of government or an aided institution as a lecturer, teacher or non-teaching staff shall be appointed in the tutorial institutions.” But this has not proved to be a deterrent.