New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will offer free tuitions to students across India to help them crack the joint entrance examination (JEE) for admission to the elite engineering schools—a test billed as one that only the best and brightest can crack.
The IITs aren’t saying so, but the move will potentially hurt India’s multi-billion-dollar coaching industry, a large portion of whose intake is made up of IIT aspirants.
Beginning in January, the IITs will provide tuitions through dedicated direct-to-home TV channels and the Internet to students of Classes XI and XII aspiring to join the institutes.
“We know what kind of conceptual understanding is lacking in a sizable portion of aspirants. Through our coaching we shall clear those and make them IIT-ready,” said V. Ramgopal Rao, director of IIT-Delhi.
Tuitions for the JEE will be offered in physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will prescribe the problems that students would have to solve, Rao said.
“We are starting from January 2017, which will give students ample time (for over four months) to prepare for JEE,” he added.
IIT-Delhi is in charge of the project, which is being implemented by all the older IITs (Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Chennai, Kharagpur and Guwahati). Some Kendriya Vidyalaya teachers have also been enlisted in the exercise.
Rao said the human resource development ministry is supporting the exercise, which would be interactive, helping students ask questions and seek clarifications.
Professors will record at least 200 hours of lectures in each subject. For regular problem-solving exercises, a key component of the JEE preparation, IIT students will chip in as teaching assistants for free.
Coaching schools have been accused of preparing students for the entrance test without making sure their understanding of fundamental concepts is clear. Earlier this year, the coaching industry came under the scanner after Kota in Rajasthan, seen as the biggest coaching hub in India, witnessed nearly a dozen students commit suicide under pressure to perform.
The offer of free tuitions is expected to attract an encouraging response from IIT aspirants, around 1.2 million of whom appear for the JEE main stage every year. Only 150,000 are short-listed for the JEE advanced stage for selection to the IITs. India has 23 IITs which admit around 10,000 students every year at the B-Tech level.