In a city that gives birth to a coaching centre almost everyday, only a handful abide by the norms set under Bihar Coaching Institute (Control & Regulation) Act, 2010.
A Right to Information (RTI) application filed by a student leader has revealed that only 180 of the mushrooming coaching institutes in Patna are registered with the district administration since the act came into force in Bihar in 2010.
Ranjeet Kumar, a leader of All India Students’ Federation, had filed the RTI application and received the reply in January this year. “There are more than 1,500 coaching institutes in Patna but only 180 have been registered,” said the 25-year-old, who is also an RTI activist.
In 2010, a security guard of a coaching institute at Bhikna Pahari in Patna, had killed two students that sparked widespread protests by various students’ organisations. Following the incident, the government introduced the Bihar Coaching Institute (Control and Regulation) Act, 2010. Under the act, any coaching centre with the capacity of taking more than 10 students has to be registered under the act.
However, more than two years have passed since the act came into force but 180 institutes have been registered in Patna, while in Vaishali, only one centre has been registered.
Newly appointed district magistrate N. Saravana Kumar is unaware of the actual number of coaching institutes registered under the act. “I was not aware of the fact. Thanks for bringing the issue to my notice. I will look into the problem,” he said.
The act determines several provisions that a coaching institute owner has to follow to operate.
The act states that a student studying in a coaching centre should get an area of 1sqm for studies, first-aid facility, proper lighting, a cycle stand and washroom. The centre should also have fire-fighting equipment and the institute should inform students about the education qualifications of the teachers in the institute.
There are 41 coaching institutes in Patna whose registrations were cancelled after they failed to meet the requisite criteria under the act.
Industry watchers believe it is too less a number because very few coaching institutes in Patna had applied for registration. They also believe that the district administration hardly raids coaching institutes in the capital, which in the garb of imparting education, mint money.
Sanjay Sharma, the owner of Career Tutorial, said: “I applied for registration which I hope to get soon.”
He added that earlier he had not applied for registration because he was running the coaching institute from a rented house at Rajendra Nagar. “The centre has been shifted to Gayatri Mandir area with all the facilities in place,” added Sharma.
The growth in tutorial business can be gauged from the fact that every important road and roundabout in the capital is wrapped in advertisement hoardings of coaching institutes.
The promotions are often very lucrative with tags like “100 per cent success guaranteed in engineering and medical examinations”, “15 day crash course in reasoning” and similar messages.
In Bhikna Pahari area, there are coaching centres that run out of a single room without basic facilities. There are instances where students of more than one centre share a single washroom. Such centres are spread across Patna. From Ashok Rajpath area to Boring Road, thousands of tutorials operate neck to neck.
The problem is neither the students nor their parents know the guidelines of the act that mandate a few must-haves for an institute.
A student of Kartar Coaching at Bhikna Pahari said: “Our institute has facilities like drinking water, toilets and a cycle stand.”
However, when The Telegraph asked whether he is aware of the qualifications of the faculty members of the centre or not, he said: “The institute never bothered to inform us the qualifications of the teachers.”
The student added that the institute grooms students for competitive examinations like banking but charges less compared to the branded ones.
However, there are a few institutes that follow most of the guidelines laid under the act.
Bhaskar, the human resource head of Vision Classes, said: “We run three centres in Patna. Apart from imparting the best education to students, we also make it a point to provide best facilities to them.” Vision Classes is registered under the coaching act.