Eighteen months after the new entrance examination norms for admission to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) - came into force, coaching institutes have seen a 20-40 per cent rise in the number of enrolments.
The new norms, introduced to make students give more importance to Class XII Board exam rather than to coaching institutes, has in fact led to more demand for coaching institutes, which are now offering coaching for improving Class XII exam scores.
Aakash Chaudhry, director, Aakash Educational Services Pvt Ltd, said they have been launching 8-10 centres every year. For the session 2014-15, they have launched 26 new centres through systematic approach and planning.
From April 2013, the entrance exam for admission to the IITs is held in two parts - Mains and Advanced. Of the total number of students taking JEE-Mains, only the top 1,50,000 would be eligible to sit for the JEE-Advanced test.
For admission to IITs, based on the JEE-Advanced, a student should be among the top 20 per cent scorers in his/her respective Class XII Board.
Until 2012, a student scoring 60 per cent in his/her Class XII board was eligible for a seat in the IITs. There are 32 Boards in India with different patterns of examination and evaluation.
While JEE-Main is administered by the Central Board of Secondary Education, JEE-Advanced is managed by the IITs. Admission to the National Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology is based on JEE-Main scores. Also, deemed universities, after fixing a minimum percentage criteria, could use JEE-Main scores to admit students.
Chaudhry said that they are growing at 30-35 per cent in terms of enrolments on a year-on-year basis. He said students are now also concerned about their Class XII preparations. Students join the coaching institute after Class X. Their course fee changes from one centre to another. For a smaller centre at a non-metro, it could be Rs 80,000, while for a metro, it could be between Rs 2,00,000-2,70,000 lakh.
While some coaching institutes are going towards integrated programmes, Chaudhry said they would only want to be complementary to the schools. "We had tried out the integrated model in the past, but did not see much advantage as this had led to some confusion."
Kota, the hub of JEE coaching, continues to see inflow of students. P K Bansal, CEO, Bansal Classes , Kota, said the change in pattern of JEE has resulted in lesser inflow of students to Kota from cities that have good schooling coaching facilities.
He, however, said still a lot of students come to Kota from places where good schools and coaching facilities are not available.
Integrated courses offered by schools and junior colleges, which combine regular classes with coaching for IITs, are also in demand. Experts said these combine daily lessons of school with thorough preparation of IIT consecutively and, hence, are popular.
Chandan Dikshit, Vice-President-planning & strategy at Rao IIT Academy, said, "Integrated courses are more popular, and junior colleges which do not have such options have many vacant seats since students are choosing to go for the former." he said. Dikshit said the fee for integrated courses are usually 10-15 per cent higher - Rs 3.5 lakh for three subjects while it could go up to Rs 4.5 lakh for four subjects.
Dikshit said there is a 25-40 per cent rise in the enrolments, and now more students are coming for coaching especially to those institutes which provide training for JEE Advanced. Rao IIT Academy also conducts scholarship tests, providing up to 50 per cent of the fee. Further, the institute has increased the base fee by 15-20 per cent this year, as it did not increase the fee in the past two years.
BCPL, which has 19 centres apart from Kota, is planning to start five new centres for academic year 2015-16. Bansal said the demand for JEE coaching is spreading in other parts of the country.
Some coaching institutes believe the new exam pattern has, in fact, led students to depend on them more. Manoj Sharma, president, Business Management, Resonance Eduventures, said at the institute they have not felt any dip in enrolment numbers. "Because of the increased weightage of Class XII performance in admission to the IITs, students and parents are asking us for Board exams coaching, making them even more dependent on coaching institutes," he said.