‘Student Segregation’ as a policy has long persisted in major IIT-JEE coaching institutes in India. Several debatable factors surface when discussing the boon and bane of this strategy. In this second article of our three-part series, we shall discuss what top coaching institutes feel about it. What is the mentality behind Bansal Classes starting a segregation policy which then had a bandwagon effect on all other institutes in the country?
According to Ashish Gupta, MD, Bansal Classes, Jaipur, the system of conducting an entrance exam for their classes was scrapped 5 years ago. Owing to an increasing influx of students, the segregation policy was introduced to identify student calibre. Many institutes commence batches on a rolling basis, hence every batch is at a different level in their syllabus at the same time. Thus, maintaining a single batch of students is an outdated approach.
Coaching classes are of the opinion that when students are segregated, they can be given different levels of training based on their calibre. Pramod Maheshwari, MD, Career Point, says, “Average students require more time on concept clearance before problem solving. ‘Intelligent’ student batches can be taught tougher questions, since less time is spent in teaching the concept/theory itself.” The general notion is that some students are fast learners and are able to complete the syllabus earlier than the other students. Nitin Vijay, MD, Motion Classes, says, “While segregating students, those who are considered to have higher chances of securing a rank in JEE are clubbed in the same batch. Such students are trained accordingly. The average students require more motivation to simply secure better marks.”
What happens when students are subjected to such divides? According to Maheshwari, it primarily depends on the students’ previous academic background. What engineering concepts are they acquainted with and how much more needs to be taught or trained will determine their segregation. Institutes consider students of different calibre seated together to be counterproductive. It is not fair to expect an average student to deliver the same quality of performance as an intelligent one.
While this system may have borne fruits in the students’ achievements, its effectiveness can be debated. Dr Dayal Mirchandani, a psychiatrist from Mumbai, says, “What is the criteria followed to segregate students? A single test cannot judge a student’s calibre. They may score low on a test due to several reasons other than competence. Placing them in a lower level class will give them an unfair vibe and demotivate them from performing well.” He believes that factors like motivation and work of the students should also be considered while segregating them. However, the idea of segregation altogether is unruly to Dayal, who feels that weaker students can be given extra lectures for improvement rather than subjecting them to such discrimination.
Meanwhile, Gupta is of the view that it was more sensible earlier to have an entrance exam and regulate the quality of students being admitted to the institute. Scrapping away the entrance test has opened doors to students with all levels of understanding. Hence, he feels that the segregation policy holds value today.
You can read the first part of this series here.