Improving coaching centres appears a long haul

Nayeem Rather

Srinagar: The standoff between Coaching Centres Association (CCA) and the government might be heading towards a resolution—the CCA has decided not to extend its strike—but the problems associated with these centres are likely to remain.
Of the 550 centres affiliated with the CCA, only about two dozen are registered with the government. Currently, these centres have about 55,000 students on rolls and nearly all lack adequate facilities.
“The classroom is always overcrowded and we sit like sheep. There is no space to breathe,” said Mohammad Asif, an MBBS aspirant who studies at a centre in the Parrypora, which is the hub of these institutes.
“We pay a huge sum but don’t have proper seating facilities,” said Tabish Jan, Asif’s friend.
Government norms stipulate that a centre shall have a 9 square feet space for every student besides toilet, heating and drinking water facilities. The centre shall also be equipped with modern teaching aids. But most centres lack these facilities.
In view of such problems, the High Court on 30 December 2014 ordered that a committee to be headed by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir shall be constituted to regulate the functioning of the coaching centres.
The committee cracked the whip and closed scores of unregistered coaching centres during the past few days. The CCA announced a strike in protest.
“The strike of the coaching centres carries no weight. They are striking against transparent functioning of the administration and do not want that we should curb their corrupt practices,” Farooq Ahmed Shah, Srinagar’s outgoing Deputy Commissioner, told Kashmir Reader.
However, president CCA, GN Var, said the government action was ill-timed.
“We acknowledge that coaching centres are not following guidelines and that the unregistered centres should be banned. But the government should not be doing this time when we are in the middle of our coaching sessions,” Var told Kashmir Reader.
Last year, the administration had formed a special task force to clampdown on unregistered coaching centres.
Asked about the result of that crackdown, the Divisional Commissioner Rohit Kansal said, “Every system has lacunae, and we are trying hard not to let any centre work that does not function according to norms set by the Directorate of Education.”