Second Wave of Covid disrupts Coaching Classes

City Education

Coaching institutes are again witnessing a fall in students attending tuition classes.

Bengaluru: As cases rise with the second wave of Covid-19 and final exams are cancelled, coaching classes and home tutoring see a decline in the number of students.  

Home tutors are in a dilemma about continuing classes. Deviraja, a home tutor from Ajith Coaching Classes said, “Due to the second wave of Covid-19 we have stopped our coaching classes. We have kept them on hold for the past three to four months. I will continue to keep it on hold till May and then think about whether we should open it back in June or not depending on the government’s decision.” One in five students in India supplements school education with private coaching, including almost one in three at the secondary school level or Classes 9 and 10.

Some coaching institutes are still managing to conduct offline classes. Sudha from Regal Coaching Centre said, “Students are attending offline coaching classes. If there is a lockdown, we might have to conduct online classes. We ensure that the Covid protocols are followed like social distancing and wearing masks at all times. The number of students enrolling for tuitions and coaching training has reduced tremendously.”

Pruthvi, a student attending coaching class for the GATE entrance exam at Raghunath Learning Centre said, “The number of students attending classes has reduced since the Covid-19 cases are on a rise. The offline classes happen only on weekends. The students who are travelling by private vehicles are only allowed to come. The ones taking the public transport are not allowed.”

Since Covid cases are on the rise, several coaching institutes are conducting online classes. Enrollment for such classes for the coming academic year is falling. Raghunath, a tutor at Raghunath Learning Centre said, “I am planning to switch to online classes as the cases of Covid-19 are rising. Interactive online videos will be given to the students in order to keep the learning process going. Coaching institutes are definitely suffering due to the pandemic  as the number of students registering for them is reducing. I have also reduced the tuition fees by 25 percent.”

Pranow Sikdar CEO of Z Classes said, “From past one year our coaching centre is under isolation and is closed. There are no group classes or physical classes. We are holding only online classes. Cancellation of the tenth-grade examination is very unfortunate. Since the pandemic situation is out of control, maybe cancelling them was the right decision. However, students have worked hard throughout the year with all that was available and I think online exams should be conducted for them.”

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has cancelled ICSE or Class 10 final exams. The results will be declared based on a “fair and unbiased criterion” which has not yet been announced. Similarly, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will also promote Class 10 students based on an “objective criterion”. Since the exams have been cancelled, the number of students attending classes has reduced to 20 to 30 percent. Previously around 500 students used to attend the class but now only 200 students are attending, Pranow added.

Since everything has gone digital, students are tackling multiple hours of online classes. As many as 83 percent of India’s high school children juggle time around school, extra-curricular activities, and tuitions at these coaching centres, according to a 2012 report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Ronit*, an 11th-grade student said, “I have been attending classes at Pace Institute. There are only online classes now. Online classes are good in a way that it saves time for travelling but one major drawback is that we can’t interact with teachers in person and have to communicate via social media only. I have been preparing for JEE exams as well, so managing both tuitions and college has been difficult.”

Moeen Khan, Education Consultant said, “It is very uncertain due to the pandemic to say when the situation will get better. Admissions will also get affected due to a halt in examinations. However, we are hoping that it will get better by June.”