Kota, Rajasthan: When a user logs into the official website of Etoos Academy, a newcomer to Kota’s coaching school scene, a young teacher’s image pops up. “The unbelievable just happened: MC sir predicted two exact questions for the IIT JEE 2012 Mathematics paper," boasts the website.

MC is short for Manoj Chauhan, who’s on the faculty of Etoos Academy, a Korean educational company that’s opened a coaching school in Kota to tutor students appearing for the joint entrance examination (JEE) for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

A pop-up is, of course, a normal feature on the Internet, but in this case it tells a story about Kota, the coaching-school capital of India. When a visitor enters the town, he or she is greeted with billboards, banners and neon-lit signs featuring teachers, flaunting their credentials and boasting of their power to deliver result.

Star status: The average annual salary of a teacher is in the range of 18-30 lakh. Photograph: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Sample this: Gautam sir looks down from a large hoarding on Road No.1 and HP (Hanuman Prasad) sir from a vertical banner on City Mall, the new shopping and hangout zone of Kota.

“Top-notch ex-faculty of Bansal Classes" is the description for HP sir who, along with his wife “Suman madam", is featured on several banners and promises to turn students into chemistry enthusiasts.

For an outsider they may be teachers; for the test-prep centres of Kota, they are also a business tool to attract students.

Take the salary structure of a coaching-school teacher in a Kota: while the average annual salary is in the range of 18-30 lakh, the stars earn more than 50 lakh.

“Teachers are the key for any coaching centre and they getting star status is logical. Unlike the normal academics, we hail teachers and compensate them duly," said Pramod Maheshwari, chief executive of Career Point coaching school.

Some Career Point teachers get more than 60 lakh a year—at least six times the salary earned by the director of an Indian Institute of Technology or Indian Institute of Management.

“You are asking Shah Rukh Khan whether he is a superstar," said Chauhan, a 2007 graduate of IIT-Delhi, when asked about the status of a Kota coaching-school teacher.

Once a star on the faculty of Bansal Classes, he quit to join Etoos and now draws in excess of 80 lakh a year.

Of course, the teachers have to earn their salaries and build their reputations by delivering results to students who aspire for seats in elite engineering schools. The work is hard.

“Imagine teaching for eight to nine hours a day to hundreds of students besides administrative responsibilities," said C.S. Sharma, who teaches physics at Resonance coaching school.

“Students come with a dream and we have to fulfil that. This industry, unlike normal academics whether in school or college, is result-driven," said Jeewan Jyoti Agarwal of Allen Career Institute. “You have to engage students, explain the basics, clear their doubts. You make them stand out among peers. It’s a responsibility and a direct connect too."

And, says Krishna Mohan, another member of the Etoos faculty, a teacher has to be able to hold the attention of students. “You have to tell them a story to explain a problem, cut jokes to break the monotony and listen to their question carefully," Mohan said. In Kota, a teacher may even have to dance with students at a party to be a part of the group.

prashant.n@livemint.com

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