Protest against Bihar law to regulate coaching institutes

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

Patna: Coaching institutes as well as students are opposing the Bihar state law that will regularize coaching institutes in the state. They say the Bihar Coaching Institute (Control and Regulation) Bill 2010 will just industrialize the coaching profession as only big capitalists could fulfill all requirements of the law, and this will directly affect the students as they will have to pay higher fees.

Support TwoCircles

On 30th March 2010 Bihar Assembly with voice votes passed the Bihar Coaching Institute (Control and Regulation) Bill 2010. With this, Bihar became the first state in the country to have laws for coaching institutes. The state government decided to make the law to monitor and regulate the functioning of private coaching institutes after violent protests by students in February this year against ‘fleecing’ by some coaching institutes.

But those running coaching centres in Patna feel, the new law will not benefit the students. It will encourage inspector raj – read corruption – and ensure industrialization of coaching profession as the criteria laid in the law for a coaching centre can hardly be fulfilled by small coaching institutes.

Tauqeer Akhtar of Ideal Chemistry Centre in Patna says, “According to the law, a coaching centre will have to provide one metre square area per student, drinking water facility, first aid, toilets and cycle/vehicle parking lot. These facilities can be provided only by capitalists.”

“The provisions in the law are just to bring in industrialists and capitalists in the coaching profession. The ultimate result will be bad for the students from average families who can’t send their wards to other places like Kota in Rajasthan for coaching, where institutions charge Rs 1.5-2 lakh as coaching fee. Here in Patna they complete their course in Rs 12-20 thousand. But if the new law is implemented such families cannot afford coaching even in Patna,” said Akhtar talking to TCN.

Though he agrees that there is a need to regulate coaching centres, he says the present law will just encourage inspector raj. “Instead, there should be a team of educationists to look into the issue. The law will give a license for bribery to the police and administration,” he further says.

On the mushrooming of coaching centres in Patna, he says: “The unemployment of educated people is one reason behind it. But these institutions have helped the state to improve its share in IITs and medical colleges. Last year the topper of IIT was from Patna. He had studied in a local coaching institute.”

The new law makes it mandatory for all coaching centres to get registered with the government by paying Rs 5000. The registration will be valid for three years. For renewal they will have to pay another Rs 3000.

Besides, the coaching institutes will now be required to provide the students with a prospectus detailing the course and fee structure besides qualification and experience of the teachers.

But more troubling are the conditions for facilities that every coaching centre will have to provide, and the provision for formation of a team of police and civil administration for inspection of the coaching centres.

A coaching institute should provide 1 square meter area per student. There should be bench/desk, drinking water, electricity, toilet, fire extinguisher, emergency medical aid and cycle/vehicle parking lot at every coaching institute. It will be difficult for one-room or two-room coaching centres to provide all these facilities.

The law has a provision for formation of a team comprising District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and District Education Officer to inspect the coaching centres at regular intervals.

Roughly, there are over 5,000 private coaching institutes in Patna.

A section of students is also protesting against the new law. Today Bihar Chapter of Students Islamic Organization of India took out a protest rally from Science College in Patna and held a demonstration at Gandhi Maidan.

Talking to TCN Mauood Hamidi, SIO Member and Convenor of the rally said: “We are not against the law to control coaching centres. But some provisions in it will cause increase in fee. The law will also help bureaucracy to exploit coaching centres. Students here get coaching at low cost compared to other states, but the law if implemented will push for commercialization of coaching profession, and will definitely harm students.”