Sunday Tribune has a longish story on Kota's cram schools. Here's an excerpt from the section that talks about the nexus between the cram schools and 'regular' schools:
Another interesting aspect of the IIT aspirants joining coaching classes in Kota is that a majority of them prefer to get enrolled in the local schools, as it saves them the hassle to return to their native place to appear in Plus II exams. Surprisingly, none of them appear in these exams as a private candidate. Then how do they fulfill attendance criterion of the schools amid immense pressure of IIT-JEE coaching? "There are schools which give some relaxation in attendance to these students," says Sharma from Resonance. Though he ruled out any nexus between coaching classes and schools, he said some schools, which don’t have adequate infrastructure and fail to meet the parametres set by the CBSE or the state education board, are happy to get more students even if they are not attending the school. However, a student of Resonance told on the condition of anonymity that almost all the coaching classes have a tie-up with some private schools and they persuade the parents to admit their wards to these schools in lieu of which they get commission from the schools. These schools, he said, are affiliated to either the CBSE or the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE). About attendance, he said though these schools tell such students to attend classes thrice in a week, but the latter do the same in a month. "All the students who get relaxation in attendance pay more to the schools while those who don’t want to attend school at all have to shell out more money," he added. According to him, the coaching classes also get a cut from hostels and other such facilities. In view of such activities, the CBSE has tightened the noose around its affiliated schools in Kota and has asked them to admit students in Class X and XII only if one has a "strong reason"for seeking admission in the town.
* * *
And this ToI story from Neha Pushkarna is positively scary:
FIITJEE for instance will be starting a course for class VI students from 2010 session to train them for competitive exams, admissions for which, will begin in January.
* * *
Over at Midway, blogger L (who teaches at a college) calls these schools 'concentration camps'; here's her comment about how they manage to beat the life out of their students:
Students after their spell in these Intermediate college/concentration camps, don't even joke amongst themselves. Many have forgotten how to laugh, I think.
Only normal youngsters are those who went to CBSE/ISC schools without the engg/medical coaching.
* * *
We have noted that China has a nationwide entrance exam for university admissions. Now, a prestigious university in that country is experimenting with a new system of admitting some of its students through a different route -- recommendation from school principals:
One of China's top higher education institutions, Peking University, last week released a list of 39 high school principals nationwide recognised to recommend students to be enrolled without taking college entrance examinations...