This is the story of an average student in a central Karnataka PU college. Most students in 10th standard want to enter the science stream. Their parents start looking out for the best PU around, and invariably, many start looking towards the district capital of Hassan.. They ask around and are directed to the ‘best PUC’ in town. Why is this PUC the best? Because their student had got a state rank of 4 in their PU.Of course, there are rumours that this is not because the training at this PUC is good, but because they only admit students who’ve already scored more than 95% in 10th and so are likely to do as well in 12th, too. The PUC also claims to have got some ‘good ranks’ in CET – but a closer look reveals that these cases are far too few considering these are the best performing students in school.
Nevertheless, parents decide to give this place a visit. The college boasts that they get ‘teachers from Hyderabad’ as if that is the criteria to judge the aptitude a teacher. The more observant parents, genuinely concerned about the relatively poor CET results in the PU College, may consider sending their child for extra coaching at a newer coaching centre in town which has also been getting good results. However, the PU College informs them that it has to be one or the other – their students are not allowed to attend any extra coaching.
Naturally, the parents are now anxious about defying the PU college by sending their children to the coaching centre. They know that CET ranks are set by averaging PU and CET scores but what they don’t know is that the student from the PU college who got the PU rank of 4 could only manage a 1800 rank in CET. They also may not yet be aware that the way the PU college teachers train the students is by soulless repetition of model papers and urging them to mug up information in textbooks. Moreover, each batch has about 80 students. Even if this approach works in the rare occasion, it will make students very ill-prepared for higher-education where a much higher depth of knowledge will be expected.
The PU college claims that their seats are getting full. The parents may not understand that the demand is self-created. So when the college recommends that the parent pay the fee of Rs 80,000 within the next 10 days to book a seat, the parent might feel forced to do so. That’s not all. Parents then learn that an additional Rs 30,000 will need to be paid later for coaching. There is fear of losing out: ‘My neighbour’s child is going to this PU college, how will my daughter face him? What’s our other option? We could send her to the coaching institute that seems to be good. But what about PUC? The other PUCs are relatively new and nobody knows how good they are. It’s expensive but maybe this PUC is the safest bet given all circumstances…’
A relatively well-off middle-class family earns Rs 30,000 per month or Rs 3.6 lakhs a year. Out of this, they have to shell out Rs 1.1 lakh per annum for two years for their child’s PUC. This is a big percentage of their earnings. A parent has to on an average save for at least 3-4 years just for this. That means no eating out, no trips. Then, the added tension of university fees. And all this is not even with the expectation of their child ending up in a premier national institution but just with the modest ambition of reaching one of the top 10 colleges in the state.
Fast forward one year, after 1st PUC: Most students and parents come to us. They say ‘thappaythu, gothhirlilla’ (meaning we made a mistake, we didn’t know about this). The college drills the students with back-to-back classes and tests; sometimes 4 topics are taught simultaneously in each subject. The student attends college from 9 in the morning till 5, or sometimes 6 in the evening. Where is the time to reflect on their lessons, where is the time to rest? But now they are stuck. There’s no option to move, they’re again too scared. What have they gained after paying 1.1 lakh? Nothing but fear, and being forced to pay the same amount again.
Meanwhile, a new set of parents of 10th standard students are getting ready for the next step. What do these parents do? Exactly the same thing. It’s the same loop which happens year after year.
The PU college claims to do this as a service to Hassan. ‘We don’t do any marketing, all students come to us. Let students stop coming, we will shut down shop the next day.’
This note is just for you to be aware of frequent mistakes that students and parents make year after year. It’s not the PUC’s training that makes the kids perform well, but the quality of the students they admit. If these good students go to another PUC, then it will be this PUC that will have the best results. The smart way to get into the best universities for your undergraduate degree is to focus your energy on competitive exams. The best way a good rank in these exams is by understanding the subject and the concepts. If you are able to do this, you will be well prepared for any test – whether it is your PU exam or any competitive exam. Remember, there are much better and more economical options for your child.
Option 1: Join a PU college which does not restrict you from joining a good coaching centre. It will also help if the PUC gives you time to revise and reflect on what you are studying putting you under minimal stress. Ignus coaching centre will ensure you understand concepts, get personal attention and prepare you for competitive exams which will get you into the best of the under graduate colleges.
Option 2: Opt for National Institute of Open Schooling (www.nios.ac.in). This is a national board under the Ministry of HRD which was established to allow students the flexibility to study on their own. They will sit for exams at the end of second year. Ignus guides NIOS students and conducts classes for them to write these exams. Last year, Dhanush Krishna an NIOS student from our Mangalore centre got an All India Rank of 313! He attributed his success to the time he had in the day to prepare, a luxury that he would not have had if he had to attend PUC. He is now studying electrical engineering in IIT Madras. One of our best students at our Hassan centre joined the famous PUC but then left it after the first year because of stress. He then took up NIOS. We are confident that the best result in Hassan district is going to come from him.
There are plenty of good options. Remember that you do not need to go to a place because everyone else says it is good. Make detailed enquiries, see what results they have and where their past students are currently studying. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. It’s a crucial period in your child’s life, and it is your decision which will make all the difference to their lives. Discuss with everyone before you zero down on one thing.