There are roughly 1.5 lakh young boys and girls that are presently studying in one or the other coaching institutes in the city. As per the official website of Kota, there exists 129 big and small coaching institutes in this city in Hadauti region of Rajasthan. They teach basically for joint engineering entrance tests — IIT- JEE (JEE Main+ Advance)/ AIEEE (JEE Main) — and pre- medical tests.
What V. K. Bansal, founder of Bansal classes and now its chairmancum- managing director, started as tuition classes in 1981 has now become the famous Bansal Classes Pvt Ltd. Following Bansal’s footsteps, several coaching institutes have mushroomed in Kota and it forms a major part of the ` 20,000 crore coaching industry in India.
Most of the premier coaching institutes have their new campuses in Kota’s Indraprasth Industrial Area developed by the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation ( RIICO), the state enterprise for industrial promotion.
Several electronic units sold out their industrial sheds to coaching institutes and the the industrial area has promptly changed into a commercial one.
Cut- throat competition A student has to pay as much as ` 1 lakh tuition fee and an equal amount on lodging and boarding, Anonymous said. It makes the coaching market of Kota worth ` 300 crore. As such, unlike traditional tuition centres, top institutes not only look, behave and have a corporate approach but are engaged in cut- throat competition. Latest to join the market is Eduwave launched by three Jain- brothers who were the faculty members at Bansal Classes.
The corporate character is also attracting big investment companies. Equity broker and financial services group CLSA and Milestone Religare, which have their headquarters in Hong Kong, have reportedly invested ` 100 crore and ` 60 crore respectively in Resonance Eduventures.
Franklin Templeton and Nadathur Group, owned by N. S. Raghavan of Infosys, have invested ` 50 crore and ` 54 crore respectively in the rival Career Point.
“ This unhealthy competition has had its negative impact on the students as they lose faith in the system of education that Kota was known for. Students don’t know when their teacher will shift to another institute,” Bansal said. In some cases bright students, too are stolen by rival institutes by offering financial allurement in the form of scholarships and even cash, he added.
The annual pay package of a teacher ranges between ` 15 lakh to ` 50 lakh and may go up to ` 2 crore in the case of a star teacher, Jain said.
“ It is in this background that getting an opportunity to teach in an institute has become a status symbol even for those employed in government schools,” social activist Brijesh Vijayvargia said.
The mushrooming of coaching institutes has not only given an economic boost with several hostels and paying guest accommodations coming up in the vicinity of the institutes but has also placed Kota in a prominent place on India’s academic map.