Letters

Quality education

The observation that an elite coaching class assures a candidate/student a seat is true not only for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) but for almost all entrance exams in India (Editorial, “Back to the blackboard”, November 6). The primary reason for this is the gap between the syllabi of schools and questions and the material in entrance exams.

Coaching classes exploit this gap to their benefit, leaving out a huge section of students who are unable to pay their exhorbitant fees. There should be no need for additional coaching if the syllabus/material for an entrance examination is the same as that of school examinations. Such an approach would also serve as a good reason to include important subjects such as logical reasoning and general knowledge in schools which are often tested for in entrance exams but omitted in school examinations.

Anant Agarwal,

Ahmedabad

It is well known that under any method of selection, students attempt to better their chances of success using special coaching. Being able to make multiple attempts to clear the examination is an advantage since the truly committed should be given more than a single chance to get into these prized courses. Since the rule of reservation is followed in Tamil Nadu, it is clear that those selected must belong to the socially and economically deprived classes. So it is not clear which “poor” the judge is talking about. Is he suggesting reservation based on economic grounds? Is he suggesting exclusion of the so-called “creamy layer”? The issue requires deep consideration, and not a knee-jerk demand for the abolition of NEET.

George Thomas,

Chennai

Coaching classes do skew the level-playing field and put children from rural and poor backgrounds at a disadvantage. But with increasing demands being made on children by the syllabus, shorter school years, and often a subpar quality of teaching, coaching classes do help bridge the teaching deficit. One of the main issues is a standardisation of tests that promote rote learning and commercialisation of knowledge without providing adequate opportunities for children to develop critical thinking. Lax evaluation practices at lower levels of schooling result in gross misjudgment of the aptitude of students and impact their career choices. Linking of education to jobs, the insecurity of parents and the lack of multiple-entry opportunities in the higher education structure only increase the dependence on coaching classes.

Tanvi Soni,

Jalandhar, Punjab

Competitive exams form a crucial link to the education system as they provide student clear and specific goals that need to be achieved. Doing away with NEET would in fact rob a State or States of the opportunity to bring equity in school education and capacity building. While the rural-urban disparity in the quality of school education is an important factor to consider, the fact that overall only 1.6% in public colleges and 3.2% in private colleges could make it without coaching class, points to the high disconnect between school curriculum and the demands of competitive exams. Mandating specific preparatory classes at school for popular entrance exams can be one of the possible options to explore even if it means collaborating with private sector.

Aparna Singh,

New Delhi

There is a gap between demand and availability of government medical college seats, and the meritorious must get the available seats. This justifies an examination system such as NEET. Unfortunately, students need to attend expensive coaching classes to improve their chances of getting a seat. Consequently, medical education slips out of reach of students from economically weaker sections. State governments must improve the quality of education and conduct special classes, especially for students who are economically weak and from rural areas, so that they can improve. However, this step alone will not curb the need for coaching outside regular classes. Perhaps the government also needs to make NEET exam pattern unpredictable to coaching institutions so that it will ensure equal opportunity for all students.

A. Venkatasubramanian,

Tiruchi

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 10:56:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/quality-education/article29903194.ece

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