NEW DELHI :
He is an engineering graduate and she has a masters degree in biochemistry—under normal circumstances, both Arpita Chaudhry and Anindya Sen would have landed well-paying jobs. However, their pursuit of pocket money brought them to the coaching industry and, before they knew it, the sector had become their passion and profession. So much so, that the colleagues turned into a couple.
“In the initial years, I was earning more than ₹40,000 a month and that’s better than most entry-level jobs," says Sen, sitting at the basement office of his coaching centre, ‘The Academy’, in Kalkaji. “Then I realized the potential of the industry and the value of quality teachers in the coaching sector," says Sen who started teaching 14 years ago.
The Academy teaches physics, chemistry, maths, biology and accounting to students of Classes IX to XII, besides courses for IIT and medical aspirants.
Most Indian students pursue a linear model of education without attaching a goal to it, says Chaudhry, dressed in crisp corporate attire. Soon after schooling, she joined the coaching centre as a part-time teacher. At 28, she has 10 years of teaching experience and feels she understands the intricacies of the ₹50,000-crore sector that is largely informal but growing in double digits.
“Entry-level salaries in many professions are low. When I look back, I feel I am much better off. My efforts are showing results for my students and myself," she says.
“Yes, it’s an alternative career," says Chaudhry. The sector provides flexibility in working environment, it’s rewarding and there is demand.
Decent jobs in India have been a problem for some time and employment generation is not keeping pace with demand from the labour market. A fractured education system and inadequate jobs are pushing people to the coaching industry.
A decade ago, for example, the coaching industry did not have enough quality teachers, but post the 2008 economic meltdown, the industry saw a huge influx of talent. “It’s saturating now. Competition is high and if you don’t have credibility, your survival is tough. Students are your brand ambassadors, their experiences, good or bad, will make or break institutions," explains Sen. What are the future plans? The couple want to rely on their teaching methods and technology to improve students’ learning, and their earnings.