DMS move sparks mixed reactions

The Directorate of Matriculation Schools move to warn schools against offering special coaching for professional courses has brought with it varied reactions. While teachers’ associations wonder what took the Directorate so long, others argue that coaching encourages students to keep trying.

With the abolition of the rank list, schools are advertising NEET coaching to lure students, said K.R. Nandhakumar, State secretary of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and CBSE schools.

“Schools which say they are offering superior NEET coaching alongside regular classes charge over ₹6 lakh as fees for a year and all students are expected to take it up irrespective of whether they want to write the exam or not. This is prevalent especially in schools in Chennai, Namakkal, Dharmapuri and Salem, among other districts,” he alleged.

‘Aspire’ Swaminathan, who runs Smart Learning Centre, said, “Every curriculum is designed keeping in mind a specific requirement of classroom hours and to use this for other coaching would be detrimental for the students.”

His centre encourages either weekend or holiday coaching classes to avoid this, he added.

Some teachers’ associations pointed out that this was why they had opposed NEET. Patrick Rhymend, who runs the Movement for Protection of Edcuational Rights, said: “In Rajasthan, students have been enrolling for special classes. Naturally they score well in such exams, doing just this. We have not welcomed even the government’s effort at coaching.”

K.P.O. Suresh, president of the Tamil Nadu Post Graduate Teachers’ Association, said that the aim is not to help students but to run a business. “The creamy layer continues to benefit as government and aided school students get very few seats,” he said, adding, “soon our schools will follow the Andhra Pradesh model, where the afternoons are dedicated to coaching for competitive exams.”

Another teacher rued that in the name of quality students from poorer families had been thrown out of the school education system. The government’s introduction of board exams in Class 11 had pushed out students, he said.

“In my school, we had 106 students in Class 10 but now we have only 60 students in Class 11,” he added. But a few teachers argued that the classes encourage students who fail the first time to try their luck a second time. This had spawned residential schools, they said.

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