Entrance preparation classes - Selling knowledge or selling students

Each college has a hard time motivating students to their premises. Even famous colleges in the past are now in trouble because of the low number of enrollments. Entrance preparation institutions make an agreement with the colleges to supply the required number of students as required

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MANA PRASAD WAGLEY
These days there are mushrooming growth of entrance preparation classes in Nepal. One can see these institutions running in different locations. The advertisement of these institutions is heavy in the media. Students aspiring to join selected colleges rush to these institutions to get prepared. Parents too seem very much worried about their children’s future, thus, they look for genuine institutions for entrance preparation. Basically the entrance preparations for medical, engineering and management classes remain busy with a greater number of students. Isn’t this great that entrance preparation classes offer their services to the students making them able to compete with others and getting admissions? Obviously, it is. However, one should also know the other side of the coin of these institutions. They not only sell knowledge, but they also sell students. In today’s market, there is also a mushrooming growth of colleges in the urban areas. Each college has a hard time motivating students to their premises. Even famous colleges in the past are now in trouble because of the low number of enrollments. Taking advantage of this situation, the entrance preparation institutions make an agreement with the colleges to supply the required number of students as required. They charge Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 25,000 per student depending upon the nature of the subject areas. Now many big colleges in Kathmandu buy students from the entrance preparation institutions to promote their business. This has been one reason why the tuition fee is high in colleges these days. What a wonderful idea? Both the entrance preparation institutions and the colleges survive in a win-win situation. What about the parents? They are exploited in the name of entrance preparation and are also compelled to pay hefty fee to colleges. On the other hand, the entrance preparation institutions earn by two ways: one from the tuition fee for the entrance preparation and two by selling the students in colleges. The second one is dangerous because it is not recorded in the income of the institution, rather the proprietor makes it as his/her personal income. How do they do this? Or how do they defy the students and colleges?

They first hunt the talented students who are admitted to their institutions. They know that those students get admissions easily getting through the entrance examinations in colleges of their choices. So they do not want them to go directly to the entrance examinations. They tell the students not to worry about admissions, on one hand, and bargain and compromise the prices per student with colleges on the other hand. Students always are worried about admissions and the colleges always worry about student enrollment. These “worry factors” have been well cashed by the entrance preparation institutions. In this way, the entrance preparation institutions prepare a “student selling plan” and channel the students to those colleges where they have agreements. For weaker students they sell as they wish.

Should entrance preparation institutions arrange visits of students to different colleges? One can see these institutions arranging visits of students to different colleges. This is what smells the rat. Then, the proprietors rush to concerned colleges and bargain prices per student.

The question here is not who earned how much. The major concern is the buying and selling of students. There was a time when colleges paid hefty amounts to universities to get affiliation. Now they are paying entrance preparation institutions to buy students to run their classes. Then what are these colleges for? Are they academic institutions? If they were, they could have demonstrated their capability in such a way that instead of going to entrance preparation classes the students would have come to them directly. If they were purely academic they would deny buying students from other institution. This also raises questions of ethics: ethics on the part of entrance preparation institutions and ethics of the colleges. Then how can parents believe that their students are getting good education from these unethical institutions?

Is there any role of the regulating authority here? Or are they also fooled? Or are they provided certain incentives out of the earnings made by the institutions? Otherwise why are not they taking any actions? It is the Ministry of Education that should keep accounts of all these type of academic service institutions no matter where they are registered. There is also doubt whether all entrance preparation classes are registered legally. How many of these pay income tax to the government? In the absence of monitoring mechanism, this pathetic business has been continuing without any limit. Whatever the case, selling students is a crime and buying them is more critical than that. These buying and selling humans for the purpose

of education are intolerable. The government, especially the Ministry of Education, should move its step forward to investigate into the matter and punish both buyers and sellers of students. Equally important is that the registering agency should monitor them whether they are doing the right type of job. Students should not be made victims in this ‘tug of war’ of admission.

 

source: Wagey, Mana Prasad (2013),"Entrance preparation classes - Selling knowledge or selling students", The Himalayan Times,22 Jan 2013

Dr. Wagley is Educationist

photo courtesy: The Himalayan Times

2013-01-22 | EducateNepal

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