The Telegraph
Tuesday , August 12 , 2014
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Year lost to crack dream test
Teens set career trend

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 11: The trend of teenagers dropping a year of formal education to crack competitive exams is almost become the rule rather than an exception here.

Devdatta Mishra from Koraput was eligible for admission into an NIT, but he wanted to crack the IIT. Similarly, Anandapadma Mishra from Rourkela, who dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon, aims to get into SCB Medical College and Hospital. Both the teenagers have sacrificed a year of formal education to achieve their target.

Rising competition and changed evaluation patterns in the examination and selection systems have gradually increased the number of such “drop-out” students.

In just three years, the number of IIT aspirants who are dropping a year has increased from 150 to 250 at a popular coaching centre near Boyan Bhavan here.

Janmejay Mandal, who runs the centre, said that new evaluation patterns that stresses significantly on the marks of Class XII has led to this trend.

“Even after a student qualifies for JEE Advance, the candidate has to be in the top 20 percentile of their respective boards. Going by last year;s Plus Two results, this simply means that students of CBSE, ICSE, CHSE boards have to score around 83.5, 85 and 65 per cent, respectively. Now, one can imagine the amount of pressure on a student,” he said.

To score well in Plus Two and also meet this requirement, students do not take coaching for competitive exams during this period. Once they have earned a good percentage and made a place in the top 20 percentile, the next year they join coaching centres to prepare for entrance exams. Thus, they do not prefer not to join under-graduate courses.

In 2012, the Union government devised the two-tier JEE system where candidates have to appear for Paper-I called JEE (Main) and only top 1,50,000 candidates will be eligible to appear for JEE (Advanced). About 13.5 lakh students took JEE (Main) this year.

“School attendance is also important and about three months are wasted in preparing for Class XII boards,” said Barun Mohapatra, 19, who has decided to drop a year and take tuition to crack the competitive exam of his choice.

“With school and coaching at tandem, managing time becomes difficult,” quipped another IIT aspirant Shreyalash Mohanty.

The scene in medical coaching is no different. At a medical coaching centre of national repute located at Unit IV, there are about 3,000 students who are preparing for the competitive exams after completion of Class XII.

“Of these, about 30 per cent are those who are consecutively dropping admission into general colleges for a second year,” said co-ordinator Laxmikanta Mahapatra.

Madhusmita Mishra, a 16-year-old from Dhenkanal, had no decent coaching centre in the vicinity and thus she decided to drop a year and prepare at a facility in Bhubaneswar.

All the major coaching centres across the city showed significant rise in the number of such students.

“Parents now understand that competition has risen steeply and thus support their wards when they wish to devote a year for the preparations,” said the manager of another centre in Satyanagar.

Students who come to Bhubaneswar for coaching are not only from the 30 districts of the state, but some even come from neighbouring states. Though some coaching centres offer free or discounted coaching to students from financial weak backgrounds, most aspirants belong to families well off financially as the cost of one year coaching ranges from Rs 70,000 to one lakh and the monthly rent of hostels comes anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000.