By Harshmeet Singh
Some call it one of the world’s toughest examinations, some call it the entrance gate to a golden career, while some call it the chance to impact the society like nothing else. The UPSC Civil Services examination (or informally known as the IAS exam) presents a chance to the common man to enter the national bureaucracy based on his or her credibility.
One of the most coveted examinations in the country, the civil services examination’s preparation is in itself a penance. With a never ending syllabus and frequent twists in the examination pattern, aspirants prepare for multiple years to get a shot at the glory. Such is the aura of this examination that clearing it in the first attempt is considered an exception!
But behind the glory it brings to the successful candidates lies the toil and agony of the lakhs of candidates who leave their comfortable homes to come to Delhi with hopes that their next destination would be the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.
This series of articles by NewsGram is an attempt at taking a closer look at the UPSC civil services aspirants, their hardships, the money-spinning coaching institutes and the examination itself. Today, we shift our focus towards the IAS coaching institutes.
Need for coaching
There are almost 500+ UPSC coaching institutes in Delhi. Of these, the Hindi medium coaching institutes don’t even constitute 10% of the numbers. The institutes teaching in other Indian languages are almost non-existent in the national capital. This puts the students from Hindi or other regional language background at a distinct disadvantage.
The average teacher-student ratio in most of these coaching institutes is 500! While the more famous coaching institutes enroll up to 350 students in on batch, the other ones take about 100-150 students per batch. There is nothing called ‘personal attention’ in these institutes. The fact that these institutes remain jam-packed despite exorbitant fee structures is a testament to how much the people are willing to spend in return for ‘guidance’.
Government run coaching?
A number of state governments have come up with steps to support civil services aspirants in their state. Following are some of the government run institutes which offer free/subsidized coaching to the aspirants.
Last year, the government of Karnataka announced that it would increase the number of aspirants from backward classes for whom it sponsors coaching. According to the Government, poor aspirants belonging to the backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and minorities planning will be offered training in reputed coaching centers in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, but it would also provide a monthly stipend to the candidates. The number of such candidates will be increased from 250 to 500.
The state of Nadu runs a similar program where the state government offers a stipend and scholarship to the civil services aspirants. The number of vacancies is 225.
Another such initiative is run by the Thane Municipal Corporation since 1987. Chintamanrao Deshmukh Institute for Administrative Careers offers free guidance to the UPSC aspirants in the state. It is the only such institute which is run and operated by a municipal corporation. The Institute is widely known for its uncompromising level of guidance.
Over the past 28 years, a number of students from this institute have gone on to join the central and state services. The guidance and other facilities are offered free of cost to its students. Every year, the institute chooses 50 students with the help of a screening test, followed by an interview. The students are also free to continue availing the facilities offered by the Institute if they intend to give multiple shots at the examination.
More in this series-