Wednesday, April 20, 2011

IIT - Dream of most parents

are the chants which play on the lips of parents of high school children in Hyderabad.

No, these are not the names of religious gurus but branded as 'techno schools' which train children rigorously in the name of ‘IIT foundation course” and acclaimed and hailed as the right mentor for IIT- JEE.

These schools look like corporate office with chrome and glass facade, have an a/c atmosphere, work from 7 to 7 and... yes, yes, they deliver otherwise how else would you get to hear on NDTV year after year that 40% of students who crack the IIT entrance exam every year come from Andhra Pradesh.

I remember my neighbor santhosh telling me his daily schedule. He went to a residential techno school 5 years back. His day started at 4, after yoga, they were given milk and they had to study till 9. Then they would have their bath and get ready to classrooms by 10. From 10 – 4 it would be school with an half hour lunch break, after which it would be IIT coaching till 7, after 7 it would be studies till 9. ( no, I am not exaggerating, I am infact playing it down).

No recreation or extra curricular activites, after all they are not here for that you see.

This 'IIT' training starts very early, perhaps ‘Catch them young’ is the mantra for these schools.

Every year during summer, this is an epidemic with most parents (not just urban, even rural uneducated) whose children are in 7th,8th or 9th. They want to enroll their child in the IIT foundation course. Many parents feel, they are missing something by not enrolling their child. Some over enthusiastic parents infact call the educational counselors to enquire if their child who is in class 5 should start the course.

It is all understandable, All concerned parents are worried about their child’s education and IIT being one of the premier institutes of India, it is a dream of most parents to see their child in IIT.

But in their love and affection they fail to see the interest of their children and their childhood. The child may not be technically inclined but he/she would have to join the course due to their parental pressure and their parents social status. For these children if technical skills are one end of the spectrum then soft skills are at an other end.

My husband and his team go to recruit his company’s trainee engineers at various campus interviews .He says all of them are technically strong, but just technical skills will do no more, for client interaction, group discussions, knowledge transfers we need soft skills too’.

Now, with this year there is a new epidemic, immediately after the tenth board exams, the schools have accepted admissions for 11th standard based on the pre-final marks and this summer the schools will work in a/c atmosphere, After all IIT entrance is only two years away, so they are not wasting time and the parents argument is that when you are young, you’ve to work hard and now is the time, so no leisure.

I am not against IIT, but against these training. Infact ,my cousin cracked his IIT with his average intelligence studying in and out of many government village schools ( vernacular medium) and English medium schools( in cities) due to his father’s bank transferable job, with no formal training and lot of self study. Other than him, I have 3 uncles who are from PSBB and IIT (any tamilian would know what I’m saying but for non- tamils PSBB is a most sought after school in Madras some years back). All of them are a part of brain drain.

Let IIT be a part of every parents dream for their child, but let them also enjoy childhood. If they don’t play and enjoy now, when else will they?. IIT is not the only solution for a bright future. There are many more avenues.

But, even I’m scared I may succumb to the pressure of my peers. My daughter is in the tenth with no inclination towards engineering/medicine. She is more interested on the creative side like animation, designing, communication etc.,

With a recent call from the school where she was one of the meritorious students selected to meet the great ‘ IIT guru’ Dr. Chukka Ramaiah, I thought his speech and words would change her mind. But she came back telling ‘I don’t want to be an engineer/doctor.’

Now, I am a parent on the cross roads. Should I enroll her against her wishes or comply with her wishes. Though my husband is clear saying ‘ She’ll decide and we’ll only guide’.

P.S: Please note that everywhere I have used 'most parents' and not 'every parent' this is a generalised post and does not apply to every parent in AP.


  1. Thank god my parents did not do that to me , I was allowed to do what i wanted to do ..

    I hope the way education is given is changed it will domuch grreat to the kids then all the mugging ...

    good post though all the best to all the kids who go through all this chaos to attain what there PAreNTS want them to be ...


  2. The schools are cashing the love of the parents, and not that these parents don't love the children , they infact love too much that it crushes the children.

    These schools instead of facilitating the intelligence, train their minds so well that they don't see anything beyong IIT.

  3. Very true Asha. My husband is from IIT. Nobody forced him as in those days there was no competition. People just chose something that they were inclined. Only his Patti used to tell him that he must graduate from IIT and KAI NERAI SAMBHDIKINUM.It just happened he applied for it and got it, he says if he had applied for medicine too he would have got it and would have been a doctor instead of an engineer.
    And our daughter was never interested in becoming anything she hated school and hated to study, although she did quite well in her school. She found that my friend's daughter was doing some applied arts course which is 5 year degree course, she decided she wanted to do it, and just joined it.She has done pretty well, for she is now a creative director in an advertising firm. and all the effort of studying and finding her job was all her on her own effort.
    My son was the opposite, he wanted to always excel in everything, and he wanted to keep his options open, although his interest was always in Automobile engineering only. Yet he was applying to various things, and finally got into engineering in Suratkal, and even while he was completing it he wanted to train for MBA, and all other courses.
    We never said anything to him, for he had made up his mind to keep options open, the new mantra of his generation. I kept on telling him to focus on just one thing, but he would always have something to support his view point. So I also had to leave him alone.
    However we all knew he wanted to get into the best University that is Ann Arbor which is the best for automobile engineering.
    And he finally got into that , and got Scholarship loans also from 2 companies, and he was very happy.
    Both my children were never pressurised by us, they chose their own path.
    But I have seen moms being so particular about doing all their childrens' project/ very eager to help them, discussing their future outside the gates of school.
    My son also joined the coaching classes for IIT, but he could not get through, at
    least he had the sense of not becoming obsessed by trying for it again like some of his friends were doing.
    Sometimes i feel children are themselves responsible for their destiny, and they should not allow themselves to be brain washed into doing something that they are not interested.
    We have to understand that there is scope in all the fields, and one should never be restricted to doing the same old things.

  4. @ rama - so much care,warmth and info in your comment. thank you :)

    yes, those days competition was less and colleges were also few.

    Today if we have competition, we also have opportunities and like you said when my husband did his engineering in 1987 there were only twenty engineering colleges in Tn, now almost like a mushroom there are so many engineering colleges around the bend of the road.

  5. Hi,can I have your emai id?

  6. :( evlo peria post adichen :( athu load agama poidichi

  7. your post reminds of the movie "three Idiots"....

    and BTW i think your husband is very right by saying "She’ll decide and we’ll only guide"....
    we as parent must only guide them and help them to decide for their career......

  8. very important i see many parents pushing their kids into such coaching...

  9. Most of the parents wanted their darlings to notch and nail the entrance exams of to technical institutes. JEE is the premier without and doubt. They burden their wards with the heavy load of expectations and ask them to perform better but parents in this ode of premiership forget that everything has its own limits, beyond which it's not possible to do anything.

  10. @gils - repeattu...(rajnistyle)

    @ irfan - almost similar to 3 idiots, only here the children are too young.

    @SSS - yes, parents are too pushy.

    @Prateek - welcome here and thanks for the comment

  11. I'm a 15 year old girl studying in the Ramaiah institute. I did not go there of my own accord. My parents wanted me to get into IIT, especially my mom. I accepted because I liked the subjects but I definitely don't like the institute I'm currently in.
    I am a talented singer and I've already won quite a few awards. I wish my parents would let me go into the singing field instead of making me read subjects which I'm not exactly passionate about.