FIIT JEE plans one of its four 150 crore global school in Rourkela

Following is an excerpt from a report in Hindu Business Line.

The first of the global schools to be set up in Bhopal is likely to be operational by the end of this year. “We are in talks with investors for setting up schools in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Rourkela,” Mr Kumar said. The school will have classes from kindergarten to XII.

According to Mr Kumar, the primary differentiating factor between FIITJEE’s World School and Global School would be in terms of the infrastructure and curriculum.

“The world school in Hyderabad is not a residential school and is based primarily on the State board syllabus. The global school, on the other hand, will have both day scholar and boarding facilities, the infrastructure will also be of higher standards and it will offer three curriculum options (CBSE, ICSE and State board) to students to choose from,” Mr Kumar said.

The average cost of setting up the infrastructure for the Global School would be close to Rs 150 crore, he said.

2 comments February 15th, 2012

Some statistics based on the students entering various IITs in 2010 and 2011

(Thanks to Abi for the pointer.) The following tables are from documents at

Add comment November 22nd, 2011

40,000 from Odisha appear in IIT JEE in 2011??

Following is an excerpt from a report on Times of India regarding increase in the number of students appearing in IIT JEE from Odisha.

The number of IIT aspirants in Orissa saw a steady rise with nearly 40,000 students appearing for the joint entrance examination ( JEE) for the country’s premier institute on Sunday, officials said.

Registrar of IIT-Bhubaneswar Bata Kishore Ray said, "The number of aspirants from Orissa has gone up in the last couple of years, especially after IIT-B started operating from the city. …

… About 30,000 aspirants appeared from the state last year, he added.

In the capital city alone, over 5,000 students appeared in 12 centres for one of the toughest competitive examinations in the country.

… Director of a city-based coaching centre Jyoti Ranjan Tripathy said good coaching facilities and number of successful students increasing every year has been motivating others to go for IIT. "In terms of coaching facilities, Bhubaneswar can be called the Kota of eastern India. Orissa has created some top rankers in IIT-JEE in the last few years and this has motivated more students."

As per a report in Economic Times, the total number of applicants for IIT JEE is 4,85,262.

Following is obtained from a Deccan Chronicle report, a TOI report and another TOI report:

  • Total: 4,85,262 out of which 1,13,942 were girl applicants.
    • SC – 47,479; ST – 19,305; OBC – 1,42,387 (TOI)
  • Madras zone (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala): about 68,500 out of which 20,546 were girls. (last year 65,650)
  • Mumbai zone: about 85,260/68,735*
  • Kanpur zone: around 80,400/63,661* (16,770 girls)
  • Guwahati zone (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya and West Bengal): about 58,700.
  • Kharagpur zone:??
  • Delhi Zone: 71,353 (16,877 girls)
  • Roorkee Zone: 16,976 girls

* Two newspapers give different numbers. 

Assuming the numbers for Odisha are correct, it is a significant development in that 8.25% of the total applicants will be from Odisha. Note that Odisha’s population is 3.47% of the total population of the country. 

Ofcourse, a more important aspect is the success in the exam, but significant increase in the applications is a good starting point. Some of the reason behind this increase are:

  • More awareness due to IIT Bhubaneswar.
  • The significant increase in the availability of coaching, including many nationally known coaching institutes opening their centers in Odisha, especially in Bhubaneswar. These include Careerpoint, FIITJEE, Narayana, Resonance and Vidya Mandir.
  • The significant increase in the number of private +2 colleges across the state, some of which have ties with coaching classes.

Now lets hope a good number from Odisha succeed in IIT JEE. Currently Hyderabad and Kota are the places with the highest number of successful candidates. Following is an excerpt from a TOI report on that.

If JEE-2010 results are pored over, the maximum number of candidates to clear the exam was from Andhra Pradesh (AP).

The state dominated the merit list. Seven of the top ten rankers were from there, the share of Kota (which is in Rajasthan) starting only after rank 15. While in 2006, 938 candidates from AP and 1,004 from Rajasthan made it to the IITs, a year later the tables had turned, with 1,384 from AP clearing JEE and 1,344 from Rajasthan. It has been a close race since. In 2009, for example, 1,862 students from AP and 1,898 from Rajasthan cleared JEE.

There are reports from other cities and states, but many have contradictory reports. Following are data from some of these reports.

3 comments April 11th, 2011

Test taking enhances learning; So regular tests given by coaching classes are good

The latest issue of the Science magazine talks about research that establishes the importance of test taking to learning. See for the abstract of that study. The New York Times article on that Science article at says it in simpler words. Following are some excerpts.

Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.

… But “when we use our memories by retrieving things, we change our access” to that information, Dr. Bjork said. “What we recall becomes more recallable in the future. In a sense you are practicing what you are going to need to do later.”

It may also be that the struggle involved in recalling something helps reinforce it in our brains.

Maybe that is also why students who took retrieval practice tests were less confident about how they would perform a week later.

“The struggle helps you learn, but it makes you feel like you’re not learning,” said Nate Kornell, a psychologist at Williams College. “You feel like: ‘I don’t know it that well. This is hard and I’m having trouble coming up with this information.’ ”

By contrast, he said, when rereading texts and possibly even drawing diagrams, “you say: ‘Oh, this is easier. I read this already.’ ”

… Testing, of course, is a highly charged issue in education, drawing criticism that too much promotes rote learning, swallows valuable time for learning new things and causes excessive student anxiety.

“More testing isn’t necessarily better,” said Dr. Linn, who said her work with California school districts had found that asking students to explain what they did in a science experiment rather than having them simply conduct the hands-on experiment — a version of retrieval practice testing — was beneficial. “Some tests are just not learning opportunities. We need a different kind of testing than we currently have.”

Dr. Kornell said that “even though in the short term it may seem like a waste of time,” retrieval practice appears to “make things stick in a way that may not be used in the classroom.

“It’s going to last for the rest of their schooling, and potentially for the rest of their lives.”

What the above study means is that the coaching classes of India, especially the ones that coach for IIT have it somewhat right. The regular tests they do indeed make the students learn better.

However, many of the coaching classes take up so much time that students do not participate in other scientific activities such as doing experiments. As a result many students coming out of the coaching classes do not have much idea about doing hands-on experiments. Another criticism of coaching classes is that many students just learn the problem solving patterns without really learning the basics.

Add comment January 24th, 2011

Kalinga Bharati Residential College shines in the +2 performance: top three in science and topper in commerce are from this college

The website of this college is This year students from this college have done extremely well in +2 results. Only BJB College’s performance is close to them. While earlier it used to be a contest between BJB and Ravenshaw, this year Ravenshaw has bitten dust and its place has been taken by this college.

In particular its performance in +2 is as follows:

Upon further browsing their web pages I am of the opinion that this college will be a trendsetter and pioneer in Odisha. Just look at their faculty listed at

Department Faculty’s name Qualification
Department of Physics & Electronics Er. Himansu Acharya M.Sc, M.Phill, M.Tech (C-S), IIT – Khadagpur
Er. O.P Singh B.Tech, REC – Bhopal
Er. Abhijeet Kumar M.Tech, IIT – Khadagpur
  Er. PS Satpathy B.Tech, IIT – Bombay
  Er. Jayanta Kumar Patra AMIE, Calcutta
  Mr R K Maharana M.Sc
  Mr.Debabrata Dwibedi M.Sc. M.Phil, Ph.D. (continuing), DISM
  Ms. Jayashree Sahoo M.Sc, M.C.A., B.Ed
  Mr. M.G.B. Amant M.Sc. A-Level (continuing)
Department of Physics & Electronics Dr. Daitary Sahoo M.Sc, M.Phill, Ph.D.
Prof. R.B. Kanungo M.Sc, Ph.D.
Er. Vidyasagar Sharma B.Tech, IIT – Kanpur
Er. Aditya Pandey B.Tech, IIT – Delhi
Ms. Menakarani Routray M.Sc, Ph.D (continuing)
  Mr. S.K. Pattnayak M.Sc
  Er. B.P Mishra B.Tech, HBTI – Kanpur
  Mr. Vinod Kumar B.Tech, HBTI – Kanpur
  Mr. Parasar Mishra M.Sc, B.Ed
Department of Mathematics Er. Shiva Prasad Das M.Sc, M.Tech (C-S), IIT- Khadagpur
Er. Ranjit Singh B.Tech, IIT – Khadagpur
Er. Mithilesh Kumar B.Tech, REC – Bhopal
Er. Chitaranjan Swain B.Tech, Utkal University
  Mr  M M   Muduly M Sq    M.Phill
  Mr. Nirmala Chandra Sahu MSc.
  Mr. Umakant Sahu MSc.
  Mr. Ajay Kumar Sundaray MSc.
  Mr. P.K. Choudhury MSc.
  Mr. Ansuman Sing Gaur M.Tech, HBTI – Kanpur
  Ms. Prajna Jene M.A. (Math), PGDCA
  Ms. Ranjita Pradhan M.Sc, PGDCA, CWA
Department of Biology n Biotechnology Dr. Arun Kumar Rath M.Sc M.Phill, Ph.D
Mr. P.C. Mohapatra M. Sc. , M.Phill,
Mr. Animesh Das Pattnayak M.Sc, PGDCA
Ms. Smruti Rekha Das MSc.
Ms. Usharani Tripathy MSc.
  Ms. Bijayalaxmi Biswal MSc.
  Ms. Leena Gantayat MSc.
  Dr. Dilip Kumar Swain M.V.Sc., OUAT
  Mr. Nirmal Biswal MSc.
Department of Biology n Biotechnology Mr. B N   Mishra M.A. (English)
Mr. Pranab Patra M.A. (English)
Ms. Narmada Satpathy M.A. (English)
Department of Oriya Dr. jatadhari Mohapatra M.A., Ph.D
Ms. Manorama Mohapatra M.A. (Oriya)

Based on this faculty I am going to go out on a limb and predict that this year there will be at least 10 students from this college in the IIT JEE top 1000.

I hope some of the other private +2 colleges will immediately copy from this college and assemble a similar faculty and beat Kota at its own game and send more Orissans to IIT and other top institutions.

As per Dharitri the +2 Science topper from Kalinga Bharati, Kiity Jain (a girl) is from Khariar in Nuapada district and the +2 Commerce topper Bhabani Acharya (also a girl) is from Semiliguda in Koraput.

23 comments May 19th, 2010

Education through entrance tests: Excerpts from an interesting article by Profs. P. Jalote and A. Singh

Prof. Jalote is the Director of IIIT Delhi and is on leave from IIT Delhi. Previously he taught at IIT Kanpur and University of Maryland. Prof. Singh is a professor at Auburn University, Alabama. Both are alumni of IITs. Following are excerpts from their article in Economic Times.

… The difficulty of cracking these tests have led to the booming coaching industry — it seems the vast majority of students appearing in these exams undergo some form of coaching for them. This impact of coaching has been decried by many. In academic circles, it is a common complain that coaching is allowing even average students to crack the exams, and how exams ought to be changed so that deserving students can clear even without coaching.

It should be clearly understood that the success of coaching is not due to the nature of the exams, but due to the low acceptance ratio in these exams. With these low accept rates, it is irrelevant whether the nature of exam is such that coaching will help or not.

… Anybody who thinks that coaching can be made redundant by reforming the admission tests is living in a state of denial.

There is another aspect of coaching that deserves attention. Coaching is big business: by some accounts, coaching for IITs is bigger than IITs themselves in terms of turnover. Consequently, it is able to attract good teachers by offering high salaries. One hears about IIT/IIM grads teaching in these coaching institutes, but one cannot come across an IIT/IIM graduate as a teacher in a school — even elite schools do not have this distinction. So, in many coaching centres, the quality of education is superior to that of schools, particularly with respect to the entrance test subjects. As the business success depends on how well they help the students do in the entrance exams, their teaching, as measured with respect to success in these exams, continues to improve and they take great care to improve it.

So, we have the following situation. Coaching institutes will continue to thrive as long as the accept ratio remains small. And coaching business will ensure that its teachers and teaching processes are well-equipped to impart training to students to do better at the competitive exam.

This situation, undesirable thought it is, can, however, be converted into an opportunity to improve education. As coaching institutes focus on the entrance tests and the syllabus for them, it provides a power to these exams in that whatever they put as syllabus or as expected knowledge, the coaching institutes will ensure that students get good at that. Even for those students who do not undergo coaching, these exams are highly influential — students learn/ study for these exams with a mission and dedication that they don’t show for anything else.

IF THESE large exams were to be oriented such that preparation for them will make the foundations for the key subjects much stronger and will force the students to really understand the subjects better, the coaching industry will ensure that this knowledge is imparted to students. That is, the syllabus and expectation is potentially a strong force on what students learn in the 2-3 years they prepare for the entrance exams, through coaching or on their own.

If this learning can be strengthened, then even if the students do not get through in these exams — which the vast majority will not — the preparation for them will give them strong foundations in some key subjects. This can be leveraged by other institutions.

… So, instead of fighting coaching by making exams like JEE harder and more theoretical every year, such large exams can leverage the competition for the larger good of improving the education and preparedness of students.

If these exams are thought of as a potential tool in the armory of the country for fighting the poor education standards, rather than just for admitting students into these institutes, then they can favourably impact the lakhs of students who attend JEE, and not just of the selected few thousands who actually enter the IITs, whose skills will be upgraded anyway to top levels by the top quality education that they will be provided. By doing so, institutions like the IITs and the entrance exams they have, will be making a solid contribution to improving the workforce in the country , as they have done in creating the top-level manpower.

I agree with the main point in the above mentioned article. Earlier I wrote my views on coaching at

However, there is an issue with respect to many students not being able to afford coaching. Couple of things that the governments may do are:

  • Provide coaching in some government schools such as Navodaya Vidyalayas.
  • Provide other avenues for good coaching such as attempts to replicate the Super 30 in Bihar by other governments.
  • Bring coaching classes and the +2 level under the ambit of RTE and require that certain percentage of the students there are from poorer background.
  • Provide scholarships to poor students to be able to afford good coaching.

2 comments May 16th, 2010

Prof. Damodar Acharya Committee reportedly proposes to scrap IIT JEE and other entrance exams

Update: Following are excerpts from a follow-up Telegraph report which mentions about the committee’s recommendation to have wide-spread consultations before making the changes.

But it has advised caution in implementing the reforms. The panel has suggested detailed consultations and workshops with the state governments, other top engineering institutions like the National Institutes of Technology, and private universities.

The recommendations of the panel can be fine-tuned based on the outcome of the consultations, the team led by IIT Kharagpur director Damodar Acharya has suggested. The panel is likely to meet soon and may draw up a schedule for the consultations at that meeting.

… At a meeting of the panel in Chennai on March 16 with representatives of state and central school boards, some participants suggested that rural students be given more opportunities than urban students. The participants proposed two attempts for urban students and three for rural students.

The panel and the HRD ministry will also need to convince state governments that the move to end state-specific engineering tests is not against their interests.

Following is an excerpt from a report in Telegraph.

… The panel, appointed by human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, has recommended replacing the four-decade-old IIT-Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and myriad other engineering entrance examinations with a common test modelled on the US-based scholastic aptitude test (SAT).

The panel has suggested that the IITs accord a 70 per cent weightage to board examination scores in picking students, ..

Scores in the common aptitude test that will replace the IIT-JEE will contribute the remaining 30 per cent weightage in determining which candidates are selected, the panel has recommended.

Unlike the current engineering entrance examinations including the IIT-JEE, the common aptitude test will not have questions on physics, chemistry and math, but will test students’ powers of logical reasoning and communication skills.

If the recommendations are accepted, the IITs will for the first time admit students based more on their board examination marks than on their performance in a special entrance test.

…The minister had announced in February that he was setting up a panel under IIT Kharagpur director Damodar Acharya to study proposed reforms to the IIT-JEE. The panel was appointed in March, with the directors of the IITs in Mumbai, Roorkee and Chennai as the other members.

…  The panel has recommended that the government develop a Comprehensive Weighted Performance Index (CWPI) to calculate a student’s overall score based cumulatively on his performance in the board examinations and in the common aptitude test. The report appears principally based on discussions at a meeting held with other government representatives, including Central Board of Secondary Education chairman Vineet Joshi and select state representatives in Chennai on March 16.

The HRD ministry is already working towards a plan to introduce a common high school curriculum in the sciences and math, cutting across the 35 boards — central and state — that govern Indian school education.

The common curriculum would make easier a comparison between the board examination scores of students from schools affiliated to different central and state government boards, Joshi had told the meeting.

The CWPI proposed by the panel is aimed at normalising any differences that remain between difficulty levels of school-leaving examinations under different boards.

There is a big danger that the above approach will make the XIIth exams a high stakes affair and bring it under the microscope with every aspect of it being scrutinized and judged by everyone. Most coaching classes may reinvent themselves and start coaching how to score more marks in the XIIth exam and the proposed SAT type exam. This approach may bring in bias favoring students from families with educated parents. English being a compulsory subject in XIIth, this may put students in rural areas and other areas where English is less used at a disadvantage.

So one has to wait and see how this will pan out.

My guess is if the above idea is adopted, it will go through some changes such as specific types of colleges may be allowed to give different weight to Class XII marks in different subjects. Some may introduce interviews or other tests.

One change that should be made is that when possible specialty branches should not be assigned to most  students (say 70-80% in any college/institute) immediately after they join a college/institute after the XIIth. That should be determined after a year in that college/institute based on the performance in that year. This will make the class XII exam less cutthroat and ensure that students after they get into a college/institute continue to give importance to academics.

One alternative idea may to test the proposed idea (of using class XIIth marks) on 50% of the seats for a few years before deciding whether to completely abandon the current approach or not.

7 comments April 14th, 2010

Why mention of IIT coaching classes in Orissalinks?

In we mentioned about some of the national tutorials that have now set shop in Bhubaneswar. A close friend and elder of mine (Sandip Dasverma) whom I respect a lot was surprised (and even dismayed) that I gave space to them here, and was wondering how come I am promoting institutes that to him are so harmful to our society.

I have mixed thoughts and feelings about the whole thing, so I decided I will write my thoughts and feelings, which at this point may not be fully coherent.

1. In Orissalinks we are writing about *all* kinds of educational and HRD infrastructure and opportunities in Odisha. When we write about ITI or Diploma or vocational schools we are not necessarily promoting them; nor it is our intention that every body should do ITI or a diploma. (On the other hand we do not think there is anything wrong in going to an ITI or doing a Diploma.) We cover them so that these pages serve as a dynamic directory of opportunities and infrastructure of various kinds. In that sense IIT tutorials are educational and HRD infrastructure elements and we cover them. Our coverage does not necessarily mean we promote them. In case of ITI and Diploma institutions, having them listed here helps industries who may be considering to move to Odisha.

2. To us IIT tutorials are HRD infrastructure elements that for whatever reason are an important component of a city/town/metro/population-hub. Students are looking for them, the parents are looking for them, the top ones at other locations have been successful in sending large numbers to the IITs, and parents in Odisha due to the lack of such institutes have sent their kids out of state. Moreover, Odisha has been sending comparatively very few students to IITs, thus not taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the well-funded and reputed IITs. So in that sense having top national coaching classes in Odisha is good. The kids who want to go there need not now go to or be sent to (by their parents) locations out of state and hopefully there will be more number of people getting to IITs from Odisha because of the presence of these nationally reputed tutorials in Odisha.

Hopefully we have clarified why we covered IIT tutorials here; We covered them because as the situation in India is now, they are an important educational infrastructure of a place/town/city/metro.

Thats that, but what do we think about these tutorials and their alleged harmful impact on the education system and society. To us the issue is not so simple nor black and white. To initiate a debate we will put some pointers and arguments.

  • Coaching classes in various countries and their purpose is given here. In India, coaching classes are a reality and they thrive because (i) admission to top schools is extremely competitive and (ii) the admission process is fairly well defined. In this regard one may read the article at which explains why cram schools for getting law license is common in many other countries but not in the USA.
  • Coaching classes are not so common for college admission in the USA because of two main reasons: Decent students can fairly easily get into decent universities in most states; and admission is not based on a single exam and the process is not very clear and on purpose not well explained to the public.
  • At this point the fuzzy processes adopted for admissions in US institutions will not work in India as there will be a lot of chance for corruption. One of the aura behind the IIT entrance exams and its admission process is the lack of corruption in the process of IIT admission. Many a professors and IIT directors’ kids have not been able to get into IITs. That is not the case in most US universities (even the most elite and most competitive ones) where kids of alumni, faculty and big donors may have an inside track to admission.
  • Recently a committee chaired by Prof Damodar Acharya has been formed to revamp the IIT admission process. Among other things they are considering to take into account the marks obtained in the 12th grade. I am not sure if that will eliminate the coaching classes. The coaching classes will just adopt and start teaching how to also ace the 12th exam.
  • However it is the case that mastering (how to answer) the kind of questions asked in the IIT entrance exam requires coaching beyond what is taught in the regular school curriculum. If the question pattern was changed to closely follow the regular school curriculum then coaching classes will possibly be less effective and thus their attraction could possibly decrease. But the questions may then be too simple making it difficult to pick 10,000 out of 5 lakhs. Also, there is a reason behind the kind of hard questions that are asked in the IIT entrance exams. Students with aptitude to answer such questions are good at problem solving and thus the kind of students the IITs are looking for. But IITs have not been able to figure out how to separate these students from students  who have trained (and been coached) to be successful in the IIT entrance exams.
    • It is common in India to believe in the notion of  "inherent ability" which is behind the elusive goal of finding students who have the inherent ability versus students who apparently do not have that ability but train hard (in the coaching classes) and get through the entrance exams.
    • But this view is being challenged. See the book review at Following is a quote: "David Shenk with “The Genius in All of Us,” which argues that we have before us not a “talent scarcity” but a “latent talent abundance.” Our problem “isn’t our inadequate genetic assets,” but “our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have.” The truth is “that few of us know our true limits, that the vast majority of us have not even come close to tapping what scientists call our ‘un­actualized potential.’ ” At first it would seem that Shenk, the author of thoughtful books on information overload, memory loss and chess, has veered into guru territory. But he has assembled a large body of research to back up his claims. … Shenk doesn’t neglect the take-home point we’re all waiting for, even titling a chapter “How to Be a Genius (or Merely Great).” The answer has less in common with the bromides of motivational speakers than with the old saw about how to get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. Whatever you wish to do well, Shenk writes, you must do over and over again, in a manner involving, as Ericsson put it, “repeated attempts to reach beyond one’s current level,” which results in “frequent failures.” This is known as “deliberate practice,” and over time it can actually produce changes in the brain, making new heights of achievement possible.
    • In light of the above, is it really right to look down on students who worked hard for whatever number of years in a coaching class and trained themselves so as to succeed in the IIT entrance exam? Can we really fault the coaching classes who provide the students the opportunity to train, train and train? Who are we to tell that train, train, train following a goal or someone’s life’s ambition is bad? Do we do that with respect to an athlete or an aspiring musician? No, we are impressed by their dedication.
  • Few years back IITs changed their requirement for admission and now one can enter an IIT only the year he/she passes the 12th or the next year. This was aimed at stopping people from spending multiple years in coaching schools in preparation for IIT. I guess it addresses that problem but raises other questions such as: Why is it wrong to work hard and long and prepare? Why can not some one decide to pursue an engineering degree at whatever age they become interested in? The later is a problem in most programs in India and is understandable because of the resource crunch. Coming back to the former: Why is it wrong to work hard and long and prepare? Does the society penalise an athlete or a music student who decides to fully focus on their goal of being a world class athlete or a musician? In case of the IITs, the problem is that most students who work hard and long to get in, do not often work hard once they get into the IITs. But then the IITs should design their course work accordingly? Also, they should assign majors for most students (say 80%) after the first year. That way students after they get in will have to work hard to get the major of their choice.
  • Who are bad? The students going to coaching classes? Their parents? The owner of the coaching class? The faculty at the coaching classes? The System? If it is the system then as we mentioned we can not fault the nature of the admission process as a non-transperent one (used in the US universities) will not work in today’s India where corruption is endemic and because of that even national tests are conducted for clerical jobs in the Railways and Banks. So the only approach is to have enough good institutions/colleges/universities so that the situation is not as competitive as it is now. But even then there will be coveted institutions and admissions to them will be extremely competitive and their will be coaching classes for them. Just look at France, where 5% of its high school graduates spend 2-3 years in cram schools so that they can get into the Grandes Ecoles.
  • The increase in the number of IITs, NITs, central universities, the creation of new IIITs, IISERs/NISER and the plan for 14 innovation universities will increase the number of  good institutions in India and that would be helpful. They will also help in the more serious issue that plagued India where most good students out of high school went for engineering and medicine.
  • However, India needs to figure out how to improve the standards at its state universities and colleges which have degraded badly over the years. Just creating new creamy layers on the top and letting the bottom rot will worsen the situation. 

I hope the above thoughts explain why I don’t agree with the crowd and follow the fashion these days among many who put all the blame in the world at the door of coaching classes. I can see some adverse results (such as the story about an IIT JEE number 1 who was coached three years before he got JEE 1 but flunked in many of his classes in the first year) but it is not easy for me to just point blank think coaching classes as evils. In fact there may be evidence to the contrary. The coaching classes seems to have helped students from far flung areas without access to good schools to get trained  and get into the IITs. The success of the super 30 in Bihar has now prompted the Punjab government to start similar coaching for rural students in Punjab. Similar plans are also afoot in Tamil Nadu and Chhatisgarh. The Orissa government had also announced similar plans in collaboration with the Institute of Mathematics & Applications. I am not sure if that has been implemented.

Now some other related thoughts.

  • In my school days, middle class parents would find a tuition master or send their kids for tution if the kids were not doing well in school. So being "tutored" had a negative connotation similar to the connotation of "remedial classes" in US schools. Of course in US now parents and kids are being sensitized to not look down on students with reading and learning disabilities. But things started changing in India and students doing well also started getting tutored to do even better, and at times this was encouraged by the teachers themselves, some with motivation to augment their income (their pay was always pathetic). Some of these teachers neglected in their teaching in their regular classes giving bad names to the "tutors".  These two underlined aspects have contributed to the negative connotation behind coaching in the mind of many.
  • Personally, I have never had a tuition master in my life. I did take postal coaching (Agrawal Classes) in my 12th class (ISc 2nd year) to prepare for  IIT and got in that year. The postal coaching worked as follows: I would get booklets with some theory and solved examples and some questions. I would solve the questions myself and send it for evaluation. Some one (a faculty) at the coaching center would evaluate my solutions and give me a grade. Thats all. This was better than the alternative of reading the IIT entrance guide books and doing the exercises there as in case of the later, one was not sure if the solution was correct or not. Also, in case of the postal coaching, the solutions had to be sent in within certain time, thus creating a discipline on the preparation. I have not met a single person in my life who got through the IIT entrance exam without preparing specifically for IIT outside of the class syllabus and that meant at least going through the IIT entrance guide books.
  • So I have no direct idea about how the current classroom coaching classes operate. I only know from second and third hand descriptions.

Having said all this, what would be my advice to students in their 11th and 12th grade?

  • First, one need not focus on IITs, engineering or medicine. India now provides successful careers in many many fields. One can go for science and math in the top institutes such as IIISERs, NISER, ISI, etc. One can go for law in one of the National Law Schools. One can go for Economics and other social science subjects in various good colleges. One can go for accountancy and other commerce subjects. One can be successful in any of those. Also, down the road the IISERs, NISER, National Law schools and the Innovation Universities will have similar name recognition as the IITs.
  • However, if one aims to get into the IITs, until further changes happen one still need to prepare beyond their Class 12 syllabus. Here I would recommend the aspiring students to get into the best coaching class (in terms of their past performance) that is available. In that regard it is good that Bhubaneswar now has some of the nationally known top ones in FITJEE, Vidya Mandir and Resonance. However, in case the teachers in those coaching classes do not emphasize the following, I would have one advice to the students: There is no substitute to the ability and understanding one develops when one is pondering on a question (on his/her own) for hours or sometimes days and is eventually able to figure out how to solve it. Memorizing a trick told by the teacher to solve that question is an extremely poor substitute and does not develop the critical thinking ability that the IITs expect their students to have. On the positive side, the periodic exams conducted by the coaching classes have some advantages. Doing well in them and getting encouragement from the teachers who are able to compare a current coaching class student with successful students from yesteryears gives the students the much needed confidence. (In general I have noticed that less students from Odisha get into IITs because of the confidence problem during their 11-12th. But where ever the good ones go, they do well and become very successful in their careers.) Also, the coaching classes provide a routine and a discipline in the preparation. This is hard  for a 16-17yr old to do on his/her own.
    • In this regard one may note that bad coaching classes or not using the coaching classes in the right way could be very harmful. As an anecdotal example, a nephew of mine was telling me that he was not confident about his IIT exam as he did not have a tuition master in subject X, though he had tuition in Y and Z. After the IIT entrance exam he said he did well in X but not in Y, Z. I explained him and he agreed that in X, he studied himself and developed the understanding while in Y and Z, he was told various problem solving tricks; but that did not develop a deeper understanding in his mind and he could not apply them to the questions he encountered in the IIT entrance exam.

8 comments April 3rd, 2010

FIITJEE announces the opening of its Bhubaneswar center: Ad from Dharitri; Other top coaching centers with presence in Bhubaneswar include Narayana, Resonance, Vidyamandir and Careepoint.

Update: IIT Study Circle in partnership with Vidya Mandir  has just advertised that it will offer a 2 year class room course in Bhubaneswar.



Fiitjee is among the top, if not the top, coaching center in terms of its student success in the IIT JEE. In the 2009 IIT JEE it had 35 in the top 100 ranks, 2307 in the main merit list and 5876 in the extended merit list. The next best was Bansal classes which had 22 in the top 100 ranks and 2175 total selections. At present Bansal is only in Rajasthan (Kota, Jaipur and Ajmer). Some of the other national coaching classes with presence in Bhubaneswar are Careerpoint and Narayana. We wrote about the coaching situation in Bhubaneswar in 2007 here. See also here. With FIITJEE and others coming to Bhubaneswar things have changed since then. Read on!

Another top coaching center, Resonance, is also starting a study center in Bhubaneswar. Its performance in IIT JEE is here.

Another top coaching center, Vidyamandir, now has a classroom course center in Bhubaneswar in partnership with IIT study circle; also some city schools such as Sai International School have teamed up with IIT Study circle which "would offer coaching to the IIT-JEE aspirants in the state in association with Vidyamandir Classes, its learning partner and 100 Percentile, its technology partner." The quoted part is from a Business Standard report.

Careerpoint now has operations in both Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

5 comments March 22nd, 2010

Euclid TMP – a plus 2 level Math tutoring institute in Bhubaneswar

I stumbled across this institute in the web. Its home page is at The teacher at this institute is Mr. S. B. Panigrahi. Although it seems to admit students that have done very well in their earlier exams, the overall result of the institute sounds very good. 

As per the page over the period of 9 years from 2001 to 2009 this institute has created:

  • More than 160 IITians
  • More than 460 NITians
  • More than 23 students qualifying in the entrance examination conducted by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) which offers the world’s best undergraduate and one of the world’s best postgraduate courses in Statistics and Mathematics
  • More than 55 students qualifying in the Regional Mathematics Olympiad which selects about 25 to 30 students from Orissa to represent the state in the Indian National Mathematics Olympiad (INMO)
  • 3 students having qualified in the Indian National Mathematics Olympiad (INMO) which selects about 30 students from India to represent India internationally in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO)

Since this institute seems to only cover Maths, the above student must have had good background and/or good mentoring in Physics and Chemistry. Nevertheless, from the above results and the tributes paid by the EUCLID alumni this institute seems to be a good place in Bhubaneswar to get coached in Mathematics at the plus 2 level.

1 comment February 10th, 2010

Assocham observations of money spent in IIT coaching and Indians going abroad for their studies

Following are some excerpts from a report in

Private academies that train students for entrance exams of the Indian Institutes of Technology and other prestigious engineering colleges mint Rs.100 billion ($2.30 billion) a year – an amount that can fund 30 to 40 new IITs, shows a study by an industry body. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) study, released Wednesday, said private academies who train 600,000 students every year for these exams make Rs.100 billion a year.

Talking about another anomaly in higher education, the body said that 80,000-90,000 students go abroad for higher studies, leading to a high foreign exchange outflow.

“If quality institutions are provided, a large number of students will stay back and contribute to the nation,” said Assocham.

The chamber asserted that more institutions of excellence should come up and suggested that private players and big industrial groups should be encouraged in higher education.

According to Assocham, India has over 12 million students in higher education but fewer than 350,000 faculty members.

1 comment July 2nd, 2008

Sushree group of institutions in Balangir

Their web page is At present they manage the following programs:

  • Diploma in Engineering
  • ITI
  • Nursing
  • Plus 2 science: Pioneer reports that they are in the process of making their plus 2 college a residential college.


Add comment May 5th, 2008

Science magnet school as part of IMA? Not yet, but a precursor.

Following is from Samaja.

Add comment April 21st, 2008

MHRD thinks of offering affordable coaching classes for IIT/IIM etc.

Update: MHRD thinking of SAT/GRE style staggered exams.

This is a good move by MHRD. Following is an excerpt from a report in Telegraph about this.

Concerned about the proliferation of private tutorial services and the high fees they charge, the human resource development ministry has approved a proposal to introduce the country’s first public-funded training to crack competitive exams.

Initially, the training is likely to cover entrance tests to the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management. But the government plans to extend the facility to the civil services entrance exam too, senior officials said.

… The government is, however, anxious to ensure that the “cheaper” option does not end up as a poor man’s coaching class.

Teachers from the country’s top higher education institutions will be invited to form a faculty pool for the facility.

“It will be a broad-based effort involving teachers from universities, IITs and IIMs. The institutions have agreed in principle. The challenge will be to bring teachers on board,” the official said.

Officials conceded that at least initially, the online coaching might not be a substitute for the physical tutorials.

But they hoped the low fees would attract people — rich or poor — to it.

“We hope that soon enough they will realise that they will be prepared best for the competitive exams here,” the official said. … the Planning Commission is learnt to have cleared the proposal as well. … sources said students were likely to charged only a basic registration fee — probably less than Rs 1,000 — which will be used to cover additional emoluments for the faculty.

The faculty will each have a blog restricted to students, who can ask questions and will receive answers within a day.

The teachers’ pool will prepare tests in each subject, which students will take online — like the GRE.

Each student will have an online account — their entry to the coaching class.

Apart from the questions through blogs, live classes can also be held, the official said.

1 comment February 9th, 2008

Orissa’s dismal performance in IIT entrance examinations; no one cares

The Telegraph has an article titled "IIT wake-up bell for backbencher Bengal" where it rues the low performance of students from Bengal in the IIT entrance exams. It concludes with: "Fewer students from Bengal in the IITs and IIMs mean fewer decision makers of tomorrow from Bengal." Orissa has been doing much worse than Bengal, but hardly anyone in Orissa is worried about it. Its time decision makers in Orissa, start worrying about it and taking corrective actions.

5 comments July 16th, 2007

Apparently Orissa students are doing well in medical entrance exams

In the comments section of our earlier post a claim has been made that Orissa students are doing very well in medical entrance exams. If it is true then it is great news and with the national coaching institute Akash opening a plus two college, it should get better. This year the homegrown (turned national) coaching agency iBOOKs claims in its ads that 219 students from Orissa were selected in the CBSE-PMT out of which 121 were from the iBOOKS institute. Akash in its ad claims that 52 of its Bhubaneswar students qualified in CBSE-PMT. So iBOOKS did better. Akash claims its only its second year. Following are the ads of iBOOKs and Akash with the pictures of their successful students and their CBSE-PMT ranks.

Continue Reading 2 comments June 8th, 2007

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