Thursday, June 14, 2007

Are IIT toppers models?

Thursday, June 14, 2007
For many, it spells terror, anxiety and even the ones who dismiss the competition(because they beat it) rather saying that it was fun or interesting would agree that it did give them goose bumps, at least as the days inched closer.

Today the IIT industry has become a huge investment ground with new coaching academies springing up in every nook and corner. There are areas entirely dedicated to the IIT coaching industry and the whole neighborhood thrives on it. The roads are covered with pamphlets and brochures of various coaching institutes.

It’s almost taken for granted that to get into IIT, you have to have coaching. And in many places (AP being the foremost here), it starts from an early age. Sometime it is even before the kid has reached puberty.

Every year, the IIT-JEE topper becomes a national celebrity. His photo comes on the front page of every news paper. He gives countless interviews to various media agencies. And thus the drama starts.

It’s a known fact that many toppers accept money from institutes that haven’t been affiliated to, just so that they can advertise for them. Now the question that needs to be answered is that is this right? This has been talked about on various blogs. Vivek addresses the problem on his blog.

What he's basically asking is that are JEE toppers models for any academy that can be hired? We might say that it seems ethically wrong. At least that’s what our gut feeling says at first instinct.
But then he also says what about a Dhoni who says that a 7 UP made him the brilliant cricketer that he is now, or Roberto Carlos attributing his football skills to the sports-drink Gatorade?
Aren’t these people lying too? So then why should the education industry be singled out? It’s a business after all. The coaching institutes are factories that need ranks because only then will they get more and more students and there never seems to be a plethora of them for newer buildings (branches) keep springing up.

2005 2004 Priya Gupta of Delhi secured AIR 2. She was overwhelmed. Smart she was and had joined FIITJEE, a prestigious IITJEE training institute with branches all over India. However a rival institute in the mean time offered jobs to those teachers at FIITJEE who had trained Ms Gupta. When the results were declared, the rival institute claimed that they too were responsible for her success since those teachers now belong to them.

Are IITJEE toppers models?

The problem here according to me is that, since these IITJEE toppers are normal guys and girls next door, their word is taken more seriously than say a Milind Soman advertising for Nivea cold cream or the sorts.
Also in the case of celebrities like actors and sportsperson, the public has seen them grow from rookies to superstars where as in the case of an IIT topper only the final outcome is presented.
Another problem is after tenth grade the student is rather gullible and well in most cases so are his/her parents and doesn’t know which institution to join, seeing AIR hailing from a particular institution will make him/her want to join it.
Another major reason why it feels wrong is because in the case of a sports-person, celebrity you know that its like a lottery, as in only 15 people make it to the squad, or only 3-4 movies are successful each year, the point I am trying to make is that, whether Sachin drinks Boost to improve his performance or smells Agarwal incense sticks, it doesn’t matter to the common because he doesn’t want to be a cricket. But as opposed to becoming a cricketer or an actor, IIT is very much reachable, with 12000 people being called this year (including all the lists, Ok I've included reservation seats, that’s not the context here).

Do ponder over it…



Quite concisely put...I believe a problem with our education system is that young minds are being schooled to believing that IIT's carry the only tickets to successful careers. Alternative careers in up and coming fields (biotech, basic sciences research,etc.) can be as rewarding - both in terms of work and the resultant rewards. But we usually do not look beyond IIT's coz we imagine our career struggles become much less if we carry an IIT tag.


You're quite correct that we shouldn't single out the coaching industry which tries all kinds of things to attract the students. But since it bears much more importance than shoes, and drinks etc. and also that ppl can easily be fooled in this case, we point out the falacies of the ads of the coaching intis. As u said, parents and the students who have just passed their 10th don't know what to do, they have very little knowledge about this, so they end up choosing something wrong. And one of the problems is also that most of the ppl believe that there is nothing better than being a doctor or engineer. Even in engineering, they think IIT is the only place. No doubt IIT is the best, but not getting into it..does that mean the end of the world? It's silly.


hey 2005 2nd ranker was p arun from vijaywada not priya gupta.


soumyadeep:Yes thats another issue, in the south mostly, anything except Enzineering and Medci is frowned upon.

Vega:Education is important, not the coaching industry. The coaching institutes are no different from other corporations. Their aim is also to make profit

kj: Oh shit! How could I forget.Yes ofcourse you are right. JEE 2004 AIR Shushant sachdeva air 2 priya gupta. 2005 was piyush sachdeva's year, clean sweep eh? Thanks again. Corrected it.


bah. From a complete hater of all things coaching, all i can say is that the world would be so much finer if it werent for all these factories. Apart from that, its just advertising, that topper worked hard enough for 2 (or 3? or 10?) years, and is reaping a huge windfall. Everyone knows that its his work that goes into it. And if everyone is taking credit for it anyway, then its obvious that they are all lying. So it really doesnt compare, a bloody coaching centre need not be exalted so much.


Everyone knows that its his work that goes into it.

Ah, if only it was that simple.
Lets say, the topper took teaching assistance from A, wriote the mock tests of B and then took sample questions of C. After JEE results are declared, all three of them will advertise using his name. The the student who is to join will be confused. And the coaching institutes arent subtle in their approach either.
The thing is only the insiders know who is ACTUALLY lying. For the rest of the world, seing is believing.
One more thing is , the so called "lying" is being done by the BIG rivals as well. And their popularity is too high, so obviously when they say that they got nine hundred ranks this year[even if fifty of them were fake], people will still join that institute.


the issue is more serious than sportsmen advertising their favorite cola - c'mon, we all know that it takes more than sprite to churn out a Sania Mirza. But the coaching industry is a different case - here we DON'T know whether it IS after all FIITJEE that made the difference, and that's where they step in. Listen, it's easy enough to say that "the hard work etc made the diff" but the truth is, we know that given a random bright student, he/she will gain a better training to crack the holy grail... factory manufacture for factory institute. Also, all humans are fond of shortcuts. And reassurances. That's the difference between a cola and a coaching centre - you BELIEVE what the coaching centre's telling you.


@bhat: dude you and i both know that the world we live in is far from ideal, and even if you and I are against coaching, we're not really in a position to extoll the benefits of staying away, given that we weren't among the top 100 in IIT-JEE.We did lose out, but the difference is, we (at least I) don't regret it.


Nilanjana: But then its convenient for us to believe that the student secured the first rank if he/she claims it to be.

See unlike cola etc, the education industry is aiming at a certain part of the society, i.e the students between the age of 15-19, so if they have a little sense, they figure out the total number of ranks claimed exceed the seats. Come on, if you don't care to find out, then you prolly deserve whatever it is that you settle with ultimately. When three institutes are claiming the top spot you don't have to be a genius to figure out that somewhere something is wrong.

All I am saying, why single out the education industry.

And btw what about helth dranks and all, they might not be the reason for sania to ave become top tennis star, but they might claim that she is "maintaining" that position coz of the health drinks.


(A misdirected comment which has nothing to do with the education industry being used for advertisement)

Recently I read an article in DNA that says that top industry people are questioning whether the students coming out of the "premier" institutes that are IITs, are actually as good as they are made out to be, or atleast as good as they used to be...


Some comapanies like Mahindra and Mahindra actually look for students in the 2nd tier colleges. This is where BITS loses out. Mahindra either goes directly to IIT or 2nd tier colleges.

Though I see the discussion digressing. Ah what the heck, who cares!


well....seems u are strongly under the pressure or influence of this iit mania yourself.
definitely a thought provoking blog but too long to keep urself from wandering!


pALLAVI:Considering I come from Andhra Pradesh where the IIT industry is second only to pehaps the IT sector, yes I do get to see a lot of it and hence develop opinions.
And everyone who has prepared for IIT is under it's mania. Atleast the guys who prepared seriously.
As far as my posts are concerned, I think they are of decent length.Toolong you say? Hmmm will be wary next time. Thanks for dropping by, do come back again!


people get this wrong notion that iit is the only way a person can come up in life
and by the 90% of the parents hardly know about iit or its value but they at any cost they want their children
to get into it and make life hell for them and these institutes take advantage of this.


Right said mate.


yes ur right

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