An important need or just a ‘mob trend’
Eklavya – “I made a statue of yours and used to practice in its presence. Hence, you are my guru.”
Behind every successful person in the world, you will find the hand of a coach or mentor who has been guiding him though his journey. The person can be a parent or a teacher or someone else. Even in the field of sports or arts where a person might be top ranked, but yet he needs a critic, a guide who can help him – he requires help, feedback and guidance from disciplined, committed, coaches. Think of this as the wise, older sage who can tell the student what he can’t tell himself. The development of great skill seems to require the help of people who have the ability to grow talent in others. Even a professional, like Tiger, who is clearly on that highest possible level of performance, is constantly striving for perfection; and he keeps seeking the advice of the Butch Harmons of the world; geniuses who can somehow find the slightest flaw in a superior player and convey the necessary adjustment to that player in a manner that doesn’t mince words nor bruise egos; that’s really tough to do, but it explains why Tiger is so great. He has the intelligence and humility to realize even he can’t always figure things out on his own.
Coaching for different entrance exams especially IITs are highly debated with professors in IITs blaming it for ‘supposedly’ bad quality of students entering and the trend of spoon feeding being inducted in the students. One forgets that if it was not a coaching then it could have been school or may be a particular teacher who could have specialized in sending students to IITs, which precisely was the case before 1990’s when a school in Hyderabad used to send large number of students to IIT. There have been correspondence courses since long which specifically used to train students for JEE exam. Nineties onwards things begin to change when coaching classes like FIITJEE, Vidyamandir and later Bansal Classes became the master of the trade. Evolution and development is continuous process and this is what these classes did to break the IIT code. No doubt these classes became a money churning machines with thousand of Crores changing hands but who is to blame for this? The teachers or the parents or the system itself! The fact is for a better life and for a bright future people will do whatever is possible and in India getting into IITs, without any doubt, is considered the best way to do it. And hence, whatever gives the students a little hope to get into them is lapped up with love.
Developing talent, coaching or mentoring requires skills and experience on the part of the coach. If coaching is something which is bad and not in the spirit of the education then why it is so that Brazil produces footballers like anything – why are their coaches valued across the globe. After all learning a sport is also an education. Back home, we have examples of Australian coaches for cricket, or a much better example is students from Pune cracking Math Olympiads year after year. They have better teachers available to them, they start training for Math Olympiads when they are just in middle school and they have much better info available to them. If this is not bad then why single out JEE coaching classes? This doesn’t mean that the coaching classes don’t have any disadvantage – they have their issues – but the fact is coaching or training remains an important aspect of any learning you associate yourself with.
A coach, a teacher or a mentor, whatever you want to call him, provides you with his experience and his knowledge of how others have acted in a particular setting. This is what that happens even in creative fields like arts, and then this is just simple plain vanilla academics. Definitely, coaching plays just a small part in a person success and it is not a teacher who will go in your place to give the exam but even that small percentage in today’s competitive environment can play a big role. People argue that twenty years ago this was not the scenario; people used to self study and make it, so why can’t it be done today. First of all agreeing with this notion is hard – as mentioned above there always have been some mentoring process in place since long in form of correspondence course etc. but still who says it cannot be done – it definitely can be done but are you ready to take the risk. With lakhs of students fighting it out for ten thousand odd seats, do you have it in you to go for it alone? No one is questioning your ability and if you work hard enough, if you aim for the bird’s eye and if you have the self believe no one can stop you from reaching your goal – but are you ready to take the risk and go for it alone when others equally good, equally bright choose to take the guidance?