Sunday, December 27, 2015

TIPS TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COACHING INSTITUTE FOR JEE!!!

There are almost 1000 coaching institutes for IIT-JEE in India today and over 1.5 lac students enroll into various institutes for the 2-years program after Std.10. Just 20 years ago, there were hardly 10 classroom coaching institutes for IIT-JEE and barely 2000 students would benefit from JEE classroom coaching across India. In Maharashtra alone, there are over 50 coaching institutes for JEE catering to almost 15000 students per year. The increase in awareness of IIT-JEE is a positive change. However, due to proliferation of coaching institutes across India and multiple claims, there is also lot of confusion and dilemmas which students and parents face when it comes to deciding the right coaching institute. This note will provide crucial information which will enable you to make the right choice of a JEE coaching institute.
 
1.There are 2 headline parameters which parents and students must first check about a Coaching institute viz. Results & Feedback.
 
2. The analysis of Results has two aspects again namely the number of Ranks achieved in JEE & allied exams like BITSAT, CET, XII Boards etc. & Success Rate with respect to the number of students in the IIT focused batch. Most institutes have a concept of a Merit or Rankers Batch wherein they select a group of students who are likely to crack the IIT-JEE exam. Success Rate with respect to such a group of students must be checked. You must also speak to certain students who have got ranks to cross-check the claim of the institute. Several Institutes claim fake ranks or claim ranks of students who have only taken doubt sessions or 1-subject coaching or attended classes only briefly. Some have tie-ups with classes in other parts of the nation whose ranks they claim here in their home town. Honest Institutes will only claim ranks of those students who have completed the entire 2-years course with them for all the 3 subjects along with Test Series. You must demand phone numbers of random students claimed in the list published by the institute and talk to the students to crosscheck the credentials of any institute. But beware, some institutes publish phone numbers of SIMS bought by the institute only. So meeting such students personally is the best exercise.
 
3. As far as Feedback is concerned, talking to atleast 3-4 students currently studying in the Institute who are sincere in their studies is very important. If you talk to students who are not very sincere in their studies, you may get misleading feedback about the institute. To ascertain their sincerity levels, ask them their Rank or Percentile in their Institute. This shall give you a fair idea.
 
4. An objective criterion to gauge Feedback of the Institute is Retention Rate – which is the number of students that continue to study in the Institute after year 1 and year 2. Most JEE coaching institutes in Western & Southern India have a miserable Retention Rate of less than 50% in Year-1 itself. This means that more than 50% students quit the Institute after 1-year – this phenomenon may be partially due to the student’s insincerity but the teaching method and course design of the Institute is mostly responsible for this phenomenon.
 
5. A very crucial aspect of a world-class program for JEE is the concept of Batch Homogenisation. This concept is haphazardly practiced by most coaching institutes and in some not practiced at all. By Batch-homogenisation is meant that since students come from diverse academic backgrounds after Std.10, they need to be placed in different streams or batches wherein the teaching methodology is suited to their requirements. Batch Homogenisation is the primal principle to administer a complex program like JEE to a diverse student community.
 
6.  Another aspect of a good JEE institute is Testing System. There are 3 aspects of a Testing System viz. Classroom Tests, Take-Home Tests and Online Tests. Most coaching institutes in India do not provide detailed printed solutions to all questions of the Test – they merely provide Answer Key. Also, a systematic and effective method to analyse every Test performance must be given to the student.
 
7.  Another crucial aspect of the 2-years program is Counseling which again has 3 aspects viz. Academic Counselling, Emotional Counselling and Career Counselling. Very few coaching institutes have counseling as part of the program. Usually, institutes only urge students to study harder and no other counselling is given. A good coaching institute will keep students inspired by a variety of mechanisms and also provide clear study methods to study at home. These study methods change every 6 months and students need to be guided appropriately for the same from time to time.
 
8. Though most students join a JEE institute with an aim and ambition to get into the IITs, many realise over a period of time that their chances to get into the IITs are bleak. At an appropriate time, the institute must clearly guide such students for other allied exams like BITSAT, VITEE, State-level CETs and XII Boards to secure their admission in other A-grade colleges. The guidance must comprise of exam-oriented lectures, exam strategies and Tests as per the exam pattern. This guidance is very crucial which is unfortunately rarely given.
 
9.  Another aspect of the JEE Program is Accountability and Transparency. Parents need to be updated about the progress of the student and the program. The best mechanism to do so is an electronic system (ERP-based or SMS-based or App-based) of Attendance, Test marks and a dedicated Batch Co-ordinator with whom parents can converse. A general Parents Meeting must be organised to update parents on the latest educational scenario, about the progress in the Program and questions & grievances if any must be addressed transparently. 

10. There are about 22 topics in PCM syllabi which are NOT there in the syllabi of JEE ADVANCED and BITSAT but are present in syllabi of JEE MAINS, MHT-CET and also in XII Boards. Examples of such topics include Semiconductors, Damped & Forced Oscillations, Communications Theory, Linear Programming, Mathematical Logic, Statistics, f-Block Elements etc. Most JEE coaching institutes do not teach these topics and ask students to ignore the same. However, these topics must be taught and study material must be provided for the same too. About 5% weightage or more is allocated to these 22 topics in JEE MAINS etc.
 
11. A good coaching institute must provide comprehensive study material for JEE + CET + BITSAT + XII Boards as a part of the Program. Certain good books written by famous authors can be additionally recommended for students to buy from the market. But every coaching institute must provide their own customized study material which synchronizes well with their classroom program. The study material must have printed notes for XII Boards too besides JEE and CET.
 
We hope that the above points will be kept in mind by the parents and students before deciding to join a coaching institute for XII + JEE + MHT-CET. Many coaching institutes may claim tall things but in reality they fail to deliver on many counts listed above. You are advised to do your homework before making the vital decision to join a coaching institute.

ROLE OF NEET IN STATE OF MEDICAL SECTOR IN INDIA

The Medical sector in India is in a critical state. There are 3 major issues ailing the Medical sector viz. Quantity of Medical Professionals, Urban-Rural Imbalance in Medical facilities and Quality of Medical Professionals & Equipment.

1)Quantity :
As per MCI records, as on Dec-31, 2014, there are 9.36 lac registered (MBBS / MD / MS) doctors, 7.9 lac registered AYUSH practitioners, 16.73 lac registered nurses and 7.56 lac auxiliary nurses in the Medical sector in entire India. How many of them are active on the ground is not known yet ! India has 19 health workers per 10000 people when minimum number prescribed by World Health Organisation is 25 per 10000 people. As per another report by Indian Express published in 2013, India has only 1 working doctor per 1700 people whereas WHO prescribes a minimum of 1 working doctor per 1000 people !  Thus, there is clearly a shortage of qualified Medical Professionals across the nation.

2)Urban-Rural Imbalance :
The problem of quantity is not the only one ailing the Health sector. As per a National Health Profile Report 2013, 67% of the doctors are operating in urban areas thereby depriving the rural areas (where 70% of Indian population is) of essential Medical services. The Report stated that only about 30000 doctors of the 1.06 lac Government doctors serve in the rural areas. There is an estimated 82% shortage in rural areas in surgeons and specialist doctors like pediatricians, gynecologists etc.  Thus, the state of Medical sector in Rural India which feeds the entire nation via agriculture is in dire straits.

3)Quality of Doctors :
Though it is difficult to make general statements about the quality of doctors and surgeons in any society, it is a matter of fact that the level of faith that the layman had over doctors and surgeons has diminished considerably in the past decade owing to several incidents of malpractice, wrong diagnosis, high expenditure due to (often needless) multiple scanning Tests etc. There are of course very hardworking and dedicated doctors who are genuinely serving society. 

But there is a growing unhealthy trend which has emerged amongst certain groups of doctors especially in cash-rich urban areas, who recommend patients to undergo a variety of Medical Tests and consultations which enrich their colleagues but do not benefit the patient. This trend has originated from a desire to recover the expenses made by the doctor’s family in going through his/her Medical Education. Many practising doctors secured admission into a Medical college at the undergraduate or post-graduate level by paying a huge capitation fees (from 25 lacs to 2 crores INR) besides the regular tuition etc. fees.  This trend is particularly prevalent amongst those doctors whose parents who are also doctors run a hospital or a clinic. It is true that running a hospital / clinic is both a service to society and also a commercial business. The business instincts of such doctors eclipse the service instincts and society suffers as a consequence. The root cause of this malaise is therefore the erroneous procedure for admissions into Medical colleges in India and the lackluster role of the Government in regulating it.

India has the highest number of Medical colleges in the world. As in 2015, India has 381 Medical colleges which admit about 64000 students every year for undergraduate (MBBS) & postgraduate courses (MD/MS). Out of these, 188 Medical colleges are private colleges catering to 38715 Medical seats. There are about 90 different Entrance Exams conducted by these various colleges all having different syllabus and exam patterns. Many Private Medical Colleges form a group and conduct their own Entrance exam which is the hot-bed of malpractices. There is little transparency in the Admissions procedure and the system is designed to extract huge capitation fees from students. This is the principal source of the vicious sequence of events which is set forth whereby the student who pays capitation fees and secures admission into a Medical college waits for the earliest opportunity to recover the sum when he emerges as a doctor in society. And, the consequences of the actions of such a doctor is borne by common people in society for years. This is indeed unfortunate.

To nip this root cause in the bud, the Central Govt. had proposed a common National Medical Entrance Exam called NEET for all Medical colleges in India which took place in 2013. Unfortunately, due to a Supreme Court split verdict (2:1) in June 2013, the NEET was struck down in response to about 112 petitions (mostly by Private Medical Colleges).  The current Union Heath Ministry has initiated efforts to revive the NEET exam from 2017 and has already secured MCI approval for the same. An amendment in the MCI Constitution and approval by the Cabinet and Parliament is needed before NEET becomes a reality in 2017.  

Implementation of the NEET in India at UG and PG levels of admission to Medical colleges shall not only set a uniform standard across the nation but shall end all types of malpractices in admission to Medical colleges which constitutes the root cause of poor quality of doctors or the unethical breed of doctors in society. The NEET exam tests conceptual understanding of the Sciences too besides information unlike some State-level exams like MH-CET. Thus, NEET shall ensure better selection of the candidates for Medical education in India.

In summary, the reinstatement of NEET exam across India shall usher in an age of better quality of doctors both in terms of their ethics and also technical abilities.

The solution to the first 2 issues i.e. Quantity and Urban-Rural Imbalance are quite complex and would need strong political will from the Government and infusion of funds by innovative public-private partnership (PPP) models.  Revamping the Health Insurance policies and subsidizing Medical Education in all Medical colleges with Government & Corporate efforts would comprise two of the major steps towards addressing the issues. The Health Insurance scheme launched in conjunction with the Jan Dhan Yojana by PM Modi is one step towards making Medical treatment affordable for the poor man and thus helps in solving some aspect of these issues.  But a number of coherent steps will be needed for any significant difference to be felt by the common man especially in rural India.

Let’s hope that with right governance, all the 3 major issues ailing the Medical sector in India will get resolved. Let’s also hope that sanity prevails upon our law makers and they make NEET exam a reality in India as soon as possible !!!