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The craze of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the ultimate coaching business model of India, explained

In developing nations like India, there is a term called ‘security’ which means to have a decent life after a certain period when the parents will no longer be able to provide the financial help to sustain. Thus the profession of engineering, and in that, Computer Science, being highly paid and the most lucrative of all, becomes an obvious choice for many.

The premier institutes in India are the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), The National Institutes (NITs) and a few other centrally funded institutes. Most of these are Government run institutes and very few private ones which have the facilities and opportunities, if utilized properly to excel in their respective fields. But talking about the competition, then it is cut throat and fierce and every point and percentage matters and counts as the deciding factor to get in.

To get into these institutes of eminence, the student has to score a certain percentage in the 12th grade, then give the JEE Main which is the first round of the process and then the advanced version of this exam in all the three subjects which being Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. It is a very tough examination and very few are able to crack it, like only a few thousand, to be precise 8-9 thousand from a pool of a million and a half students.

Then they get a rank based on their scores and then from these brilliant minds, some get into their choice of institutes and always the top ones, the top 200-400 or so, get the seat in the department of Computer Science in an IIT, and yes there are multiple IITs! The others with lesser ranks but equal brilliance, will have to compromise with their choice of branch or at times with the Institute as well, a ‘paradox of choice’ like situation arises and the journey begins.

Here is Mr. Anand Kumar who runs a non-profit IIT coaching institute by the name Super-30, takes 30 hardworking and deserving students and helps them succeed in this difficult exam. His teaching style is very experimental, even when he cannot afford all those expensive resources. Then why do all these institutes taking money from students cannot explain a simple experiment in detail? The answer is obvious. It’s a business model of making business out of the young and bright students which is now a billion dollar industry in itself. A very beautiful and inspiring Hindi Language biopic has been made on the life of Mr .Anand Kumar by the name ‘Super30’, which is a must watch for all.

The preparation for these exams start from the age of 14, for most at 16. The pressure is tremendous and many of those who crack are from rural India. Yes, “Son of welder cracks IIT”, ” Daughter of a maid cracks IIT”, and the news spreads like a wildfire, which is indeed very commendable.

Now you may think that why get into IITs then? Why not some other decent college? The question is valid, but not in India as the media has now done its job of feeding the minds of students, their parents and the world around that IITs can ultimately make you a millionaire in an ‘Indian perspective’. Yes that’s true up to a certain extent as a few hard working, intelligent and passionate students do get offers from the biggies like Google, Microsoft or Apple and that they offer them a package of around $1,00,000 to $1,40,000 as well which in Indian currency converts a lot.. .like it’s the entire life’s salary for many in India. But these are very few and work in the U.S where a top level computer scientist earns that much amount plus we have to consider the standard of living in the places like San Francisco or New York, where the major tech businesses are situated. The truth is always half shown and the reality is distorted to lure people in. The media plays a very prominent role here.

Thus, parents think that their child can also achieve this goal and push their children to such an extent that the child is finally convinced to get into those coaching classes and to start the preparation. But capacity, my lord, doesn’t matter. A child cannot perform beyond his capacity to learn a topic however we boast and say that, ‘anything is possible if we work hard and give time’, but philosophies don’t work here as the real situation cannot be known until experienced first hand.

Now when the kid finally ends up in an ‘IIT’ or ‘NIT’ or any reputed college, then a different kind of struggle starts, the struggle to get placed! That final pressure to get a decent job. For the below average students, the scenario is mostly the same, take up engineering because everyone is taking and thus sit in a class of 55, complete everything told by the prof and write as many exams as you can in a year, where experiments are just done for the sake of it, all finally put to get a job. The knowledge learnt at school is minimum and restricted but doesn’t provide an application basis, all thanks to the experiments performed at college which are just copied under the name of assignments and the papers which are totally set to reflect the theoretical preparation of a student.

Thus, the point being, if one is really passionate about engineering, he or she should definitely go for it, or if someone has to work in that field to have a stable earning, but if it’s just under the name of ‘security’ which will not work for long if the guy is not interested to work in the field at all, then after sometime it will run down in the opposite direction as both time and money will be wasted. The unemployment problem of India has many factors at play, the most important being the non-availability of skill based education, which is the necessity of the hour.

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