Pri­vate coach­ing classes are a thriv­ing in­dus­try in In­dia to­day. We look at the top en­gi­neer­ing in­sti­tutes that are mak­ing waves. By Son­ali Achar­jee

India Today - - COVER STORY -

Payod Ahuja, has spent the last four months of his life liv­ing in a one- room flat in Kota. With no TV, In­ter­net or com­puter ac­cess, Ahuja spent nearly 14 hours a day por­ing over prep ma­te­rial and notes from his coach­ing pro­gramme at Bansal Classes, one of the jewels of In­dia’s Rs 1,41,416.33 crore pri­vate coach­ing in­dus­try. Along with 2 lakh other an­nual en­gi­neer­ing as­pi­rants, Ahuja had to make the jour­ney to Kota to pre­pare for the up­com­ing Joint En­trance Exam ( JEE).

“I think it’s sort of a rit­ual now. If you want to sit for an en­gi­neer­ing exam, you must at­tend a coach­ing class. So at first I re­ally wasn’t in­ter­ested. But now, af­ter hav­ing at­tended the classes, I’ve changed my mind. You do learn a lot. Bet­ter yet, you learn in­side tips and in­sights that help clear your doubts and ap­pre­hen­sions about the exam and im­prove your over­all con­fi­dence,” says Ahuja, who grew up in Pa­ni­pat. “It’s im­por­tant how­ever to not go to just any coach­ing class. There’s a lot of fraud­u­lent ones out there as well. En­roll at a coach­ing pro­gramme that has had ex­pe­ri­ence and cred­i­bil­ity,” adds Ahuja.

Whether it’s the state- of- the- art class­rooms at FITJEE or Res­o­nance’s pool of 74 IITians in their core teach­ing fac­ulty, the coach­ing in­dus­try to­day is not only of­fer­ing stu­dent’s the best of fac­ulty and in­fra­struc­ture but is also promis­ing par­ent’s a dis­trac­tion- free study zone for their chil­dren. It’s lit­tle won­der then that de­spite charg­ing an aver­age of Rs 50,000 to 1 lakh per pro­gramme, the in­dus­try has still been grow­ing at a rate of 15 per cent per year ac­cord­ing to a 2008 study by Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank ( ADB). “My par­ents started sav­ing to send me to Kota two years ago. Money is not re­ally a con­sid­er­a­tion. My ed­u­ca­tion comes first with them. Even if the cour­ses cost dou­ble, they would still have sent me,” adds Ahuja.


V. K Bansal be­gan tu­tor­ing en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents in his own din­ing room in 1981. With many of his stu­dents gain­ing ad­mis­sion into the IITs, Bansal de­cided to launch his own tu­tor­ing com­pany in 1984. His vi­sion was to cre­ate a space to men­tor stu­dents and teach them the best prac­tices for cracking the JEE. To­day Bansal Classes is a coach­ing em­pire on its own with nearly 15,000 stu­dents en­rolling for its pro­grammes each year. The in­sti­tute also cred­its it­self for hav­ing pro­duced over 16,000 IITians till date. From

pre- foun­da­tion cour­ses to cour­ses for JEE Main and Ad­vanced and from satel­lite class­rooms to teach­ing cen­tres in ma­jor cities across the coun­try, Bansal of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of pro­grammes tai­lored to meet the re­quire­ments of stu­dents as young as 13- years- old. The Kota branch is set in a sprawl­ing five- acre cam­pus with state- of- the- art teach­ing in­fra­struc­ture, mak­ing it one of the most at­trac­tive coach­ing des­ti­na­tions for stu­dents in the city.


Last year close to 14,000 stu­dents ap­peared for the en­trance exam to gain a seat at FITJEE coach­ing in­sti­tute from just Ker­ala and Tamil Nadu alone. Such is the de­mand for gain­ing ad­mis­sion at FITJEE to­day. Started in 1992 by D. K Goel, a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ate from IIT Delhi, FITJEE has grown to be­come a pow­er­ful brand and force to reckon with in the coach­ing sec­tor to­day. The com­pany boasts of 1,300 full- time fac­ulty, over 40 branches across In­dia and nearly 106 stu­dents in the top 500 all- In­dia ranks for JEE Ad­vanced 2013. From long term class­room pro­grammes to con­cept strength­en­ing pro­grammes, FITJEE of­fers an in­cred­i­bly di­verse range of JEE train­ing cour­ses. In­fact the suc­cess of these pro­grammes has been so great that in 2012, the first three all- In­dia ranks in JEE were bagged by FITJEE stu­dents. Now with FITJEE ju­nior col­leges in Bhubaneswar, Hy­der­abad, Vi­jayawada and Visakha­p­at­nam, the in­sti­tute has also ex­panded into the space of sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion.


When R. K. Verma, a grad­u­ate of elec­tri­cal and elec­tron­ics from IIT Madras, set up Res­o­nance in 2001 lit­tle did he know that the com­pany would go on to pro­duce over 15,000 IITians in the fol­low­ing 13 years. What sets the in­sti­tute apart are its dif­fer­ent learn­ing and teach­ing mod­ules. Class­room con­tact pro­grammes, dis­tance learn­ing pro­grammes and e- learn­ing form the core pro­gramme of­fer­ings at Res­o­nance. These cour­ses have be­come

so pop­u­lar for their suc­cess rate that over 1.5 lakh stu­dents have reg­is­tered with Res­o­nance till date. The in­sti­tute also ap­points a core fac­ulty team to over­see the teach­ing method­ol­ogy and qual­ity con­trol at its 12 class­room learn­ing cen­tres across In­dia. To fur­ther add to its reper­toire, Res­o­nance re­cently part­nered with HCL to set up over 100 pan- In­dia cen­tres for live- video learn­ing coach­ing pro­grammes for en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents. Spe­cial stu­dent coun­selling and per­son­alised doubt re­moval classes fur­ther make the in­sti­tute a hit with both par­ents and stu­dents alike.


In the last 20 years Aakash In­sti­tute has pro­duced over 40,000 se­lec­tions in en­gi­neer­ing and med­i­cal ex­ams and has es­tab­lished an ex­ten­sive net­work of 96 study cen­tres and 125 exam cen­tres across the coun­try. The brain­child of J. C Chaudhry, Aakash cur­rently en­rolls 80,000 stu­dents each year in its var­i­ous coach­ing pro­grammes. Aside from hav­ing a num­ber of IITians on board, the in­sti­tute also em­pha­sises on mi­cro and macro anal­y­sis of stu­dent per­for­mance with reg­u­lar fol­low- ups and doubt clear­ing ses­sions. In other words, ev­ery step of the stu­dent’s progress at the in­sti­tute is thor­oughly mon­i­tored for best re­sults. Aakash also launched its free­ship pro­gramme nearly 16 years ago. The pro­gramme gives 25 de­serv­ing stu­dents from var­i­ous Delhi Govern­ment schools the chance to avail free coach­ing at Aakash ev­ery year. While the pro­gramme waives of Rs 2, 71,911, the to­tal tu­ition fee for the in­te­grated two years pro­gramme, the stu­dents still have to pay a nom­i­nal reg­is­tra­tion fee for the free­ship course. The in­sti­tute’s com­mit­ment to fos­ter­ing talent and po­ten­tial has made it a house­hold name to­day.


The in­sti­tute claims that ‘ a few min­utes spent in its class­rooms are equiv­a­lent to hours of study done by a stu­dent alone with­out any guid­ance’. Through its de­tailed the­ory sec­tion that out­lines prob­lem solv­ing tech­niques, spe­cial re­marks and notes for stu­dents and its ob­jec­tive type ques­tions which gives stu­dents ac­cess to 20,000 dif­fer­ent ques­tions in all rel­e­vant JEE sub­jects, the in­sti­tute has carved a niche for it­self in the com­pet­i­tive coach­ing in­dus­try.

“I felt that teach­ing was much more per­son­alised and less com­pet­i­tive at Par­adise. From chart­ing out a study plan to giv­ing you tips on time man­age­ment dur­ing the exam it­self, the cour­ses at Par­adise will re­ally help you get a good score,” says Chan­dan Sinha, from Mum­bai. And with 12 of its stu­dents se­cur­ing a rank in the top 100 All In­dia for JEE 2012, this is one coach­ing in­sti­tute worth check­ing out.


A land­mark in Kota and Jaipur, Allen is run by four broth­ers, three of whom are teach­ers them­selves. The in­sti­tute breaks its JEE coach­ing down into two modes — con­cept build­ing and smart study ma­te­rial. Con­cept build­ing in­cludes 90 minute class­room lec­tures, re­vi­sion classes, tu­to­rial classes and board classes which is a flex­i­ble pro­gramme in which mul­ti­ple op­tions are given to stu­dents to at­tend con­cise classes of the en­tire syl­labus of physics, chem­istry, math, English and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

The idea be­hind board classes is to help stu­dents se­cure a high score in both their board ex­ams as well as in JEE. Allen also sup­ports ev­ery class with Reg­u­lar Anal­y­sis Through Con­tin­u­ous Ex­er­cise ( also known as RACE). RACE in­cludes a num­ber of multi- con­cep­tual prob­lems de­signed to give stu­dents a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the sub­ject as well as im­prove their ques­tion solv­ing speed through time bound prac­tice. Ques­tions un­der RACE are bro­ken down into sub­ject and topic wise book­lets, board work- sheets, ques­tion banks, hand books, NCERT ques­tions and so­lu­tions and AIEEE and CBSE ques­tion pa- pers for the last ten years. Allen also of­fers stu­dents reg­u­lar on­line and off­line tests and var­i­ous prac­ti­cal work­shops. To­gether with its team of 437 fac­ulty, 558 staff mem­bers and nine well- equipped cen­tres across In­dia, it’s lit­tle won­der

then that over 40,000 stu­dents en­rolled with Allen last year.


With ex­pe­ri­ence in the coach­ing in­dus­try for the last 38 years, Bril­liant Tu­to­ri­als has an out­stand­ing record in help­ing stu­dents ace var­i­ous com­pet­i­tive ex­ams. In JEE ( Main and Ad­vanced), no­tably, Bril­liant's stu­dents have se­cured the All In­dia No. 1 Rank 21 times in the last 29 years. On an aver­age, 7 out of the Top 10 and 55 out of the Top 100 have been stu­dents of Bril­liant. The in­sti­tute’s JEE Crash Course is quite pop­u­lar amongst stu­dents who want a quick and in­ten­sive tu­ition pro­gramme. Spread over a course of 14 days, the course in­cludes 1500 test ques­tions, 10 sets of mock pa­pers and on­line tests. For those look­ing for a longer coach­ing pro­gramme, the in­sti­tute also of­fers a two year and a one year JEE Main and Ad­vance course.


Born and raised in Kota, IIT- Delhi grad­u­ate, Pramod Ma­hesh­wari launched Ca­reer Point over 20 years ago. To­day the in­sti­tute of­fers stu­dents five dif­fer­ent coach­ing pro­grammes for JEE. These in­clude a fresher’s course, foun­da­tion course, tar­get course, spe­cial batch course and crash course for in­ten­sive re­vi­sion. Ca­reer Point has to­day also ex­panded to in­clude a univer­sity, pre- school and high school un­der its par­ent com­pany. But it’s core strengths still lies in the coach­ing sec­tor.

“My se­niors from school had at­tended coach­ing pro­grammes at Ca­reer Point. They praised the ded­i­ca­tion of fac­ulty, flex­i­bil­ity of teach­ing hours, doubt clear­ing sup­port and qual­ity of re­vi­sion ma­te­ri­als so much that I de­cided to try it out my­self. I have not been dis­ap­pointed,” says Karthik Natara­jan, 17, a stu­dent from Ban­ga­lore.


Over the last 17 years, Ca­reer Launcher, or CL Ed­u­cate has built a coach­ing em­pire for it­self. With 225 learn­ing cen­tres spread across 175 In­dian cities and a team of 3,000 full- time staff, CL Ed­u­cate is one of the largest coach­ing con­glom­er­ates in the coun­try to­day. Through its four dif­fer­ent en­gi­neer­ing coach­ing pro­grammes, the in­sti­tute has pro­duced 1070 IITians till date. “CL has to be one of the most well- known in­sti­tutes in the coun­try. Per­haps be­cause it has pro­grammes for vir­tu­ally ev­ery com­pet­i­tive exam in the coun­try and a large num­ber of cen­tres its rep­u­ta­tion has spread so quickly. In­fact there’s a CL cen­tre right next to my house, mak­ing it both con­ve­nient as well as cost ef­fec­tive. My brother at­tended CL two years ago and I plan on do­ing the same now,” says Gur­deep Singh, 17, from Delhi.


Set up in 1999 by a group of IIT as­pi­rants from Mum­bai, IIT- ians PACE has quickly grown to carve a niche for it­self in the coach­ing sec­tor. In 2012 two- thirds of the se­lec­tion of IITians from Mum­bai were grad­u­ates of this in­sti­tute. As of last year, PACE now runs 8 such col­leges in Mum­bai af­fil­i­ated to the HSC Board. The col­leges of­fer stu­dents a spe­cial Hy­brid Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme. Un­der this pro­gramme, prepa­ra­tion for both com­pet­i­tive and board ex­ams is com­pletely syn­chro­nised un­der one roof to save stu­dents both time and ef­fort.

“In the past 13 years , we have helped thou­sands of stu­dents achieve their dream of get­ting into IIT's and other top uni­ver­si­ties like MIT and Stand­ford. We feel proud of the fact that the di­rec­tor of IIT, Mum­bai, De­vang Khakkar's son stud­ied at IIT- ian’s PACE and qual­i­fied IIT- JEE in 2009. The dean of stu­dent af­fairs, Prakash Gopalan's son also stud­ied at IITian’s PACE and got selected in IIT in 2008,” says Praveen Tyagi, di­rec­tor of the in­sti­tute.

In­dia’s pri­vate coach­ing in­dus­try is worth Rs 1,41,416.33 crore and has been grow­ing at a rate of 15 cent per year ac­cord­ing to a study

Pho­to­graph by RA­JWANT RAWAT

Be wise and en­roll at a coach­ing pro­gramme that has both ex­pe­ri­ence and cred­i­bil­ity

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