Recently an image of a coaching institute in Srinagar using the pictures of a famous comedian from Pakistan, Shahveer Jafry, a boy who died in the APS school attack and a random picture from an image sharing website went viral. The coaching institute was loathed for its display of sheer stupidity and a criminal intent to the dupe the students in the name of making them toppers in competitive exams. But letting aside all the comic stuff and looking at the serious ramifications of the mushrooming of such money-minting coaching factories in the valley, we do owe an explanation to our conscience which will keep haunting us until we don’t come up with the solution do this mess. There are some extremely important questions which we need to ask ourselves and see through the chaos which we have led our children towards!
Have we become so complicit and ignorant in our dream to crack the JEE or NEET that we don’t even differentiate between the right or wrong? Why are we over-relying on the coaching institutes to lead us to our path of success? Why are we mocking ourselves and punching ourselves down by giving a chance to the coaching industry to dominate our future? Why do we, in the first place, think that our career would end the day we fail to crack the entrance exam and we won’t have anything good to do in our life?
The blame is partly on the parents and has to be equally shared by the children. We have reached a point in our life where we can’t even imagine a life outside the murky world of medical and engineering. There is chaos out there, but we still want to be a part of it. We act as if we are blindfolded to see the reality. But there is a deep-rooted web to all that’s dominating the education scenario in the valley, and there is a triad which ends up destroying the career of our children. Our parents want us to pursue a particular field of study because our relatives think so, our families think so because the larger society thinks so and we don’t think, not because we can’t think but because we are forced not to think because we are not experienced enough to think! That might seem a bit of a monologue, but I have seen such stuff happening to some of my friends! They couldn’t see through the chaos of Med and Non-Med despite having the ability to ace the fields they would have otherwise wanted to pursue. But no! They couldn’t and Alas! This is how the coaching industry of Kashmir is allowed to boom and foster. Not that medical and engineering is a bad field to choose. Those who wish to pursue their lives in these areas are free to do so, but that happens at the stake of one’s ability to think freely and intellectually in Kashmir.
The drama companies that are running in the name of coaching institutes have brought nothing but a torment to our already bruised education sector which is already on the ventilator and needed to breathe fresh air, but we fed it Carbon Dioxide instead of oxygen. They feed us the list of toppers, and we feed them a huge sum of money. We don’t even interrogate whether the people on the list of toppers even exist or not! There have been multiple instances of 3-4 coaching institutes using the picture of the same child in their toppers list. Though this could be true in a third world, but when the reality bites us and would hopefully bite us shortly, we would surely realise that we have dug the last nail in the coffin to our system of education.
The coaching centre doesn’t seriously give a damn about your future. They want to churn out the toppers among the 4 or 5 front benchers and take the credit of their achievement to force more parents to see glitter instead of gold. Their admission counselling sessions are more hilarious. I once heard a story from somebody that some coaching institute told him that you should go for both medical and engineering as your subjects as it would sharpen your mind! How can parents even send their children to such coaching institutes whose philosophy of education is this?
Haven’t we demeaned the idea of education in a place where we needed to do our best to enhance its quality? Students should surely persist with their dreams of medical, engineering, arts and commerce but do give a try not to let a third party come in between you and your dreams. Your parents want the best for you and hence tend to get emotional at times. Take their advice and think on it. Talk about your future with your parents and mutually respect and recognise your and their concern. But don’t let a coaching institute get bigger than your dreams! Your dreams are your own, and if you pursue them with full determination and zeal, no coaching institute can come in its way and let you lose your confidence rather than bringing it a notch higher!
As Iqbal (RA) says:
Tu shaheen hai parwaaz hai kaam tera,
Tere aage aasman abhi aur bhi hai
(The views expressed by the author are his own)
The writer is a student of class 11, tweets at @muazznas
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