Over the past few years, we have witnessed a surge in the number of coaching centres opening up in Dhaka. While most of them started with good intent to bolster our education scene, provide a pathway to education for cheaper and play an integral part in developing the nation's future, they have slowly spiralled into a force that threatens to diminish the educational norms as we know it. As coaching centres grow in popularity, parents become more open to getting their children out of school and pushing them to go to more coaching centres, enforcing the notion that coachings are an essential and sufficient element for academic success. That's not true.
Schools are there for academic success. Coaching centres, by blending a lack of discipline and accountability, offer something more: the ability to skip out on lessons without repercussions. Put into the hands of rebellious seventeen-something-year-olds, this can be a deadly force. When students leave school simply to pursue an education with help from coaching centres, it has the potential to become quite an unpleasant situation. Coaching centres don't have any obligations to look after the student's academic success, they will not hold students accountable if they fail to show up to classes like a school generally would, nor if the student's grades seem to be slipping.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big believer in seeking help when you feel that you need it. But simply going to additional classes outside of school just because it's the norm will only further solidify the idea that coachings are a necessity rather than getting you the help that you may actually need. It puts pressure on the families that struggle financially to send their kids to classes in addition to school because they might also be driven to believe that their child will fall behind without these classes.
The large classes that coachings often accommodate is simply another reason why coaching centres are a bad idea; if you're going to school regularly, you won't have much of a problem, but for the student who left school simply because they wanted to be homeschooled, it will pose a significant problem when their teacher cannot give them the time and attention they need to excel because they have so many other students to look after.
Of course, we have to acknowledge what a vital role coachings play in furthering the education of some students, but it's also important that we understand that they're causing more harm than good. Sure, they may be able to teach better than your Math teacher at school, but can they teach you the importance of discipline and integrity? The importance of attendance? Or offer you the wide array of recreational activities schools do? Do they provide the same comforting words as offered by teachers you've grown up with? Perhaps most importantly, will they give you access to the same social opportunities that schools do?
On the other hand, we have to heed to the biggest reason we're witnessing such an increase in the number of coaching centres, which is that teachers are heavily underpaid. Therefore, they opt to teach privately instead, where they are more in control of their earnings. But as more students drop out of school, the problem just seems to grow rapidly. It's an endless cycle.
I know, not all coaching centres are operated by money-hungry sharks. But the fact is that today, most of them are, and the fact that more and more parents now want their kids to leave school and become homeschooled shows just how significant this problem is. So the next time you're thinking of joining a coaching centre (and leaving school) merely because your friends are, ask yourself whether you really need it. Can you get access to the resources they offer online? Are you being taught the material at school? Does your school teacher help you when you ask for it? If you answered no to all the questions, I encourage you to seek help. If not, you know what to do.
Fariha enjoys binge-watching movies in the dark vicinity of her bedroom. Send her memes at firstname.lastname@example.org