mid-day editorial: No second class education, please

A new academic year is nearly upon us, and students are already looking up coaching classes that can help them crack entrance exams. But, as a report in this paper highlighted yesterday, many of these institutes attempted to woo students with misleading ads, and were even pulled up by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

Some institutes claimed that their students had secured top ranks, even displaying their photographs and scores prominently in the adverts. Others claimed they had teachers who went to Ivy League universities (Harvard) or received major grants, like the Fulbright scholarship. However, when approached by ASCI, they were unable to substantiate any of this.

It is shocking that coaching centres and teachers, who are supposed to set standards and values for children, have themselves resorted to false claims to get more students to enrol. Much like schools, coaching classes too impart education and have great influence in shaping young minds, so they must be held up to the same standards. Such institutes function like a parallel system of education. Students attend school for eight hours a day, and then spend hours at coaching classes as well, to get an advantage in the cut-throat competition these days.

This also throws light on the heavy dependence on coaching classes, and also speaks volumes about the limited trust students and parents place in the education system as a whole. School seems to be a requirement to mark attendance, but it is these coaching classes that are perceived as an absolute necessity, if candidates want to score that extra edge.

Pulling up coaching classes is a band-aid job, at best. These coaching classes are flourishing with promises of ‘guaranteed success’ — whether true or false — because most students feel school education alone is not enough, and only tuitions can push them past the finishing line. The rot has seeped right to the heart of the academic system, and that is what needs to be set right.

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