In some Junior colleges, engineering and medical entrance preparation is integrated with the school and board exam syllabus. How it works.
by Rashmi Menon
During Class 10, Nathan Moniz had to shuttle between school, tuitions, homework and revision. After school, he headed directly to two-hour coaching classes in Science and Maths. When he came home, his focus was on completing homework and revising for the next day. This was his routine from Class 9 onwards! So, when the time came to enter junior college i.e. Class 11, this engineering aspirant opted for an institute that would not only reduce this division of time but also give him an edge over other engineering aspirants.
Nathan’s institute Vidya Vikas Academy Higher Secondary, Margao (Goa), offers an integrated syllabus, which combines the CBSE curriculum, with coaching for competitive exams like IIT-JEE, both within the campus and during class hours. “I want to get into a top engineering college like IIT, so I thought this syllabus will help me. Even if I don’t get into IIT, it will be a good reference for future,” says Nathan, who is one of the 59 students who make up the first batch of this integrated course at Vidya Vikas Academy, which has a technical collaboration with IIT-ian’s Pace Education, Mumbai, a coaching institute.
New teaching model
The CBSE-affiliated junior college is one of the new models launched in the state. Similarly, Dempo Higher Secondary School of Science, Panjim, which follows Goa Board syllabus also has a tie-up with Pace for an integrated learning programme.
From tuition to teaching
The presence of coaching institutes in the education sector is not new. Many have made a name for themselves by excelling in providing tuitions for Board as well as competitive exams. However, in what seems to be the next phase of evolution for coaching institutes, some have forayed into formal education. While some coaching institutes have set up universities and undergraduate colleges, others are establishing their grip over areas where they have strong presence – K-12 schools and junior colleges. What has caused this shift, from being in the periphery of education to jumping right into the mainstream?
Better time management
According to Praveen Tyagi, Managing Director of IIT-ian’s Pace Education, the venture into formal education has helped save students’ time in travelling between college and coaching. “Pace believes that if we impart quality education in college itself, students will get enough time for self-study leading to better performance,” he shares. According to him, in 2012, of the top 20 IIT rankers from Maharashtra 18 were from Pace and two-third of total selections in IIT Mumbai were students from Pace. “All this was possible because of Pace junior science colleges,” he explains.
Integrated education in 10 + 2
Pace collaborates with reputed schools and colleges and offers technical support by providing teachers and teaching material. However, the idea of operating junior colleges began in 2009, when the institute collaborated with the municipal corporation in Mumbai to start two junior colleges.
“We felt the integrated approach was ideal for junior colleges. Our team of teachers, who are well-versed with Board syllabus as well as IIT entrance exams, work in sync and the student learns the concepts in an ideal environment,” he says. At present, Pace has eight state Board (Maharashtra) colleges in eight suburbs of Mumbai and two in collaboration with local schools in Goa. The expansion has also lead to a phenomenal growth in the strength of students – from 800 to 5,000 in a span of just two years.
Coaching on campus
For Hyderabad-based FIITJEE, the inspiration for this initiative was also to help students manage their time and resources better. FIITJEE earned its name as a prominent coaching institute preparing students to secure admission in IIT and other top engineering colleges for two decades. In 2004, it took a step in the formal education market by starting a junior science college in Hyderabad. Currently, it has five junior colleges in Hyderabad and one each in Vishakapatanam and Vijaywada (opened last year); all are affiliated to Board of Intermediate Education or state Board.
“Normally, when students come to the coaching centre, they come for two to three hours a few times a week or on weekends. School occupies a major chunk of their time. We thought if we start a formal education centre, we can focus on basic education and train even average students to perform well,” says Dr Anandaraman, FIITJEE, Director – Hyderabad. Today, 1820 students are enrolled at FIITJEE Junior Colleges across the state.
At FIITJEE, the state Board and IIT-JEE syllabi have been combined, with a focus on basics of theory, logical thinking and application of concepts, and took about seven months of active research to come up with an integrated course material. “The student needs to understand the concept instead of mugging it; only then can the student apply it.
We want to encourage the student’s reasoning capability,” says Dr Anandaraman. Those interested in medicine and engineering are admitted at different junior colleges and have distinct study material. Earlier, before the change in IIT entrance pattern, FIITJEE segregated its students into medical, AIEEE and IIT. Now, 60 students are aspiring for medicine, and the rest are preparing for engineering.
CBSE, a popular choice
Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E.), which has two CBSE schools in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, started its operation with two schools in 2010. The idea was to provide all-round education comprising high quality teaching balanced with extracurricular activities, says founder Manek Daruvala. “We have been coaching for MBA entrance exams and various other competitive entrance tests for years. However, most students who come for coaching have basic problems like communication, general knowledge, etc, which should have been dealt with at school-level itself. So, we want our students to have all-round skills,” he says. TIME currently has two schools in Hyderabad with two more expected to open shortly. The reason for choosing CBSE Board, Daruvala says, is because it is nationally recognised and widely accepted, besides having high quality and contemporary syllabi
At Pace’s junior colleges, a topic is first covered at theoretical and easier level and then the faculty attuned to IIT syllabus take care of conceptual and numerical clarity, Tiwari explains. The students’ time is equally distributed between Board and IIT-JEE preparation, which includes mains as well as advanced exam preparation, he adds. Career Point Infosystems (CP), a Rajasthan-based coaching institute, which has two CBSE schools in Kota and Jodhpur, has increased attention on Board exams after the new pattern for engineering admissions were announced.
|Comparison of Integrated learning Programmes|
|Strength per class/division||Fee||Entrance
|60 per division||Rs 5 lakh (approx)
for two years
|Yes||Top one percent
students from entrance test/on merit basis
|FIITJEE||40-45 per class||Rs 2.5 lakh for
|No||Based on performance in Financial Assistance Requirement test|
|Career Launcher||32 per class||(Varies across
locations) Class 1 to Class 10: Rs 36,000 per year (average) Class 11-12: Rs 36,000+40-45,000 (science) and Rs 36,000+25,000 (non- science)
|Baseline test to evaluate the child’s aptitude, which enables the teachers to understand whether extra mentoring would be required.||Cases to case basis|
|Career Point’s CBSE schools||NA||Rs 30-35,000 per annum||NA||On merit basis|
|T.I.M.E. School||30 per class||Rs 30-35,000
|–||On merit-cum-need basis|
FIITJEE administers a lengthy process of hiring a teacher. The institute currently has 80-90 teachers with experience ranging from three to 16 years. Every teacher has to appear for an entrance exam, ground discussion, personal interview and give a demonstration lecture. Once selected, the faculty undergoes a three-month intensive training before they are allowed to take the first class. Equally tedious is the faculty selection at Career Launcher, which has a 7-step scientific evaluation method such as teaching aptitude, teaching demo, outbound programme, interview, etc. The hired teachers are then given in-house training. The institute has 75-100 faculty members per school.
Performance of students
As for student performance, Dr Anandaraman proudly states that in 2012, among 600 students who passed out, 170 got through IIT-JEE, 150-170 got into BITS Pilani, 100-120 got into VIT and other top engineering colleges across the country, and about 60 into top local engineering colleges.
Starting from school
Besides junior colleges, institutes are venturing into K-12 education. The environment and the staff interaction were the first things that appealed to Simrat Sodhi, who enrolled her son Amreet to Class 5 of T.I.M.E. School, Secunderabad. That the school is run by a well-known coaching institute was an added bonus that could benefit her son in the higher classes, feels Simrat.
“My son is interested in Math and Science. So, I thought it would be useful considering they coach students for various competitive exams. Besides the class strength is limited so my son gets more personal attention,” says Simrat. Although a CBSE school the teaching method and approach to subjects is hands-on and practical-based here, she adds.
Starting from pre-primary
Career Point’s two CBSE schools have classes from pre-primary to junior college level. “Since we have been proving quality education in our coaching institutes for years and enjoy strong brand name, it was easy to expand into the formal vertical,” says CP founder and CEO Pramod Maheshwari.
“We have set up an integrated campus facility at Career Point World School in Kota, with residential school and coaching blended on a single campus,” he adds. The institute’s pre-medical section is two years old. The FIITJEE World School has four branches running Class 6-10 in Hyderabad. Although these schools are following state Board syllabus, the school is trying for International Baccalaureate (IB) affiliation.
(This article appeared in Careers360 magazine in November, 2012)