Segregation Policy in IIT-JEE coaching; student experiences

Student segregation on the basis of calibre has transcended into teaching patterns of most engineering coaching institutes in India. It has also synced with the mentality of the students in these institutes. In our previous parts, we saw how the segregation policy has worked successfully for coaching institutes, but only for producing top JEE rankers every year. However, does this strategy have any long-lasting implications on the students’ careers? PaGaLGuY brings to you experience stories by students and professionals who have attended some top coaching institutes.

Rahul Ranjan: 

Attended Vibrant Classes, Kota; Graduated from IIIT Allahabad in 2015

I studied in Vibrant for barely 6 months. The institute segregated students into 20 batches based on their calibre. At the time of admission, I was placed in the top batch. However, since I was simultaneously applying for US universities, I shifted to Indore for a month to prepare for SLT. When I returned to Vibrant, I was demoted to the 10th batch and no matter how hard I studied, the cut-off to promote to the top batch was too high to achieve. Besides, the general notion that persisted in Vibrant was that students beyond the 3rd batch had no scope to achieve an IIT seat. A lot of students in the lower batches might have had the calibre and capacity to earn a JEE rank, but the flaw lay in the competition pattern. Students were shuffled every 15 days into different batches. Our focus was channelised into maintaining our position in a batch rather than working towards the bigger goal i.e. an IIT seat. Besides, the training given to all students was not equal. The institute usually focussed only on the top 100-150 students. The 6 months of training I received in Vibrant helped me secure a 10,000 rank in IIT-JEE, while I earned a better rank (AIR 8,000) in AIEEE through self study. 

Vibrant Classes refused to comment on the issue. 

Krishna Hasa: 

Attended Gowtham Junior College, Andhra Pradesh; Graduated from BITS Pilani, Goa in 2008

We had a segregation process, but the majority of the students were so engrossed in their studies and the regular tests, that there was not much prejudice about the batch we belonged to. At some point we had a realisation about how batches were formed, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone anymore. In fact, not all students in the top batch made it to an IIT. I too was in the top batch, but  graduated from BITS Pilani, Goa. 

Gowtham Junior College was later taken over by Sri Narayana Junior College. The latter refused to comment about the processes prevalent in Gowtham when it was an independent entity. 

Vipul Agrawal:

Attended Vidyamandir Classes; Currently studying at NSIT, Delhi

In Vidyamandir, students were divided into 2 batches based on the marks they scored in the entrance test. There were 240 students in the top batch and 320 students in the regular batch. Initially, I was placed in the regular batch, but within a few months, I was promoted to the top batch. As opposed to the general notion, Vidyamandir did not portray any bias in teaching either of the batches. Having sailed in both the boats, I can say that students from both batches have somewhat of an equal chance of making it to an IIT. For e.g., I did not secure a good enough rank to get admission in an IIT despite being trained in the top batch. In fact, I feel this segregation is done to provide better teaching assistance to students based on their calibre. It does not spread much negative sentiment among students in the regular batch. 

Vidyamandir says

Initially when the batches are formed, students in the regular batch may feel inferior or demotivated. But that is just temporary. In some months, they realise that the system is doing them more good. Besides, one student should never be compared to another whose calibre is higher. That will create more negative feeling than segregation. 

Ashutosh Jawahar:

Attended Career Point, Kota; Currently studying at IIT Kharagpur

Classes keep raising the benchmark to pass in the internal tests. So there is a constant pressure to study. Those who can take such pressure, will find this a motivation to study harder. The institute did not put any extra efforts into any student in my view. Students of all batches were treated equally. 

Career Point says

Students in lower batches are given more attention while teaching and are personally motivated. The rules are obviously made stricter for the lower batch students since they have to be disciplined for self-study as well. However, some of them may take such strictness negatively. 

Sagar Singh: 

Currently studying at IITians PACE, Mumbai, 

The first segregation will stick with you until the last day of coaching. We are all aspiring for an IIT, but the institute does’t believe that students beyond batch XL3 will make it into high JEE ranks. Hence the teaching facilities and motivation also differs accordingly. 

IITians PACE response

In the segregation system, the less attentive or weaker students are given more attention. We work much harder on such students to motivate and train them. In fact, unlike some other coaching institutes, all batches of students have the same set of teachers. I agree that students in lower batches may develop a complex that they may not get a high JEE rank. However, such students usually have high potential and if they work harder and set aside their notions, they will be able to score much better. 

Ashwin Pandey:

Currently studying at Bansal Classes, Kota

I am not very serious about getting into an IIT and I don’t have much hopes either. I am currently in a mid-level batch at Bansal Classes and if I got the chance for a promotion, I wouldn’t give it up. But there is no conscious effort to move to the top batches. Besides, the criteria for promotion is also tough and so is the stress to maintain that position. Most students in my batch don’t care anymore about the difference in teaching throughout batches. I agree there is a bias in the way top batches are trained, but we have accustomed ourselves to this system in the past 2 years. Besides, most students in my batch or the lower ones have very little hope of achieving a high JEE rank or an IIT seat. 

Bansal Classes response 

Maintaining a single batch of students is an outdated approach. Students in the lower batches are given adequate motivation to perform better. Ofcourse, you can’t expect a batch 10 student to secure marks as high as a batch 1 student.

Students from different coaching institutes have had varied experiences with the segregation system. Some have blamed the institute for shattering their IIT dream while others have acknowledged the flaws in their hard work. Overall, this system that has borne fruit for a lot of coaching institutes, has earned mixed reviews from the very students to whom it is expected do good. 

Read the part-1and part-2 of this series here.

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