Nitin Rao, who blogs at Next Billion sent us this guest post
I recently met a senior teacher at a small private school in Hyderabad. What differentiates her school from the neighboring schools, she proudly told me, is the superior IIT Foundation coaching. Schools charge premium tuition and teachers higher pay for IIT Coaching.
As I came out (I haven’t yet learnt the trick to cross Hyderabad roads!), a bus passed us packed with advertisements for IIT Foundation coaching from Class 8.
The Narayana group of institutions in Hyderabad has introduced a seven-year integrated IIT Olympiad program for students aged 11!
We meet hundreds of teachers during our assignments at The Spark Group and I find that teachers take immense pride in saying that they have taught for IIT Foundation. I have met ladies who have no formal teaching experience, but provide coaching at home for IIT.
With these experiences, every time I come across the words “IIT Foundation”, I feel uncomfortable.
While, prima facie, there is nothing wrong with choice and access to service, one does wonder: If students need to spend eight years in preparation from Class 6 to Class 13 (the common “year drop”), is something wrong?
The letters IIT carry immense value: aspirational, matrimonial, whatever.
I wonder: Are these students “Selected into” IIT Foundation pursuing an interest in Engineering they have discovered early, or are they falling in line?
(Update) Full disclosure: Nitin was a Summer Associate with The Spark Group during May-June 2007 and will be coordinating some of their activities through next year. He wrote development-related papers and concept notes.