Indian government is rolling out free coaching for two of the toughest exams in the world

  • The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) are two of the most competitive exams, not only in India but globally as well.
  • The National Testing Agency (NTA) has announced that they will provide free coaching to aspirants starting next year through their test practice centers.
  • While the move may empower candidates from rural and semi-urban regions, it may also deal a blow to India’s booming coaching industry.
In a new initiative taken up by the National Testing Agency (NTA) in India, they will be providing free coaching for students preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). The NTA plans on converting their test practice centers to serve as teaching centers starting 2019.

There are around 2,697 test practice centers will be operational starting 1 September.

While the JEE ranks second in the world with respect to its toughness, no other examination has been in the news as much as the NEET. In fact, the NEET was discontinued altogether back in 2013 before making a comeback three years later. Even now, the decision to conduct the exam twice a year, announced in July, is in flux with reports suggesting that it might be rolled back all together.

Impact on the coaching industry

Even with cut-offs being lowered, the exams increase in their level of competitiveness with each year as more and more applicants come forward. And, with more applicants coming on-board, the otherwise unorganised coaching industry is booming. In turn, the financial burden of pursuing engineering in India is becoming an increasingly big issue for many aspirants as these coaching centres charge a bomb for their classes.

A study by ASSOCHAM reveals that 70% of the parents, right from high-income families to the bottom stratum of the social hierarchy, are in the favor of spending hefty sums at these coaching institutes in the name of education. Reports indicate that middle-class parents shell-out nearly one-third of their income so that their children can attend these private tuitions.

But despite these private tuitions flourishing across the country, the reality of the situation remains unaltered. An exam like the JEE can only be cleared by 5,500 and more than 300,000 students appear for the exam. It’s that extreme level of competition that has led to the coaching industry showing a consistent growth of 35% over the past six years.

And, that is exactly why free coaching for students will deal a big blow to the industry. That being said, the notion that private education is superior to public education still prevails in India. There might not be an actual loss for the coaching institution since the coaching centers don't cater to students who can’t afford tuition anyway.

According to the Human Resource Development Ministry, the aim is to empower candidates from rural and semi-urban centres.

While the NEET is the national level entrance exam to gain admission into any graduate medical course in a government or a private medical college, the JEE is an all-India exam for admission into India’s leading engineering colleges like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

(Representative image)

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