To reduce the role of private coaching as well getting more students to fill seats, the govt looks at easier exams.
New Delhi: The Modi government is looking to make competitive exams easier.
Reason: It wants to curb the role of the multi-billion dollar private coaching industry at the school level.
The move by the human resource development ministry also comes as it looks to bring in more students in institutions such as IITs where the cost per seat is high.
The process will start with the National Testing Agency (NTA), the newly set up nodal agency for conducting a range of competitive exams, setting question papers that have more questions from the school syllabus.
There is a significant difference between what students are taught in school and what they are asked in competitive exams, resulting in more students joining coaching classes.
“There are two reasons why we are looking at making competitive exams less tough. One is because we want to reduce the role of private coaching at school level,” said a top source in the ministry.
“Students these days have so much pressure that they join coaching classes right from Class 8 to prepare themselves for competitions like JEE (Joint Entrance Exam) and medical (entrance tests),” the source said.
“Another reason is that we want more students getting selected for competitive examination like JEE. For example, the cut-off for JEE was so high this year that another merit list had to be released so that seats do not go vacant. We do not want seats to go vacant in good institutions where government is spending a lot of money per seat,” the source added.
Students get selected to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) based on their JEE performance.
In its efforts to combat private coaching, the ministry introduced IIT-Pal in 2016, an educational channel with tutorials by experts available direct-to-home. The channel was set up to help students prepare for IIT entrance exams without going to coaching classes.
However, sources said the response has not been good and students still prefer coaching classes to virtual ones.
The booming private coaching industry in India was estimated at $40 billion, or Rs 2.39 trillion, in 2015, according to an Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) survey.
The HRD ministry had tried to control the growing size of private coaching industry in 2015 as well and formed a panel to suggest measures to address the issue.
The panel had, at the time, suggested that a regulatory body be formed to manage the growing but unregulated sector. No action has been taken on the suggestion so far.