India’s coaching centres sell dreams to millions of young students, often claiming sureshot formulas to crack the country’s tough medical or engineering exams. Many of them also deliver on their promise.
But the cut-throat nature of the business played out in a bizarre manner on Thursday with two institutes laying claim to the top ten rank holders in the MBBS entrance exams conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The results were declared at around 2 am on Thursday. AIIMS does not declare a list of toppers.
One of the institutes is based in Kota, a city in Rajasthan which is known as the coaching centre of the country with 40-odd institutes that admit 1.5 lakh students annually.
A few hours after the results were declared, the Kota-based Allen Career Institute said the top ten were its students, led by all-India topper Nishita Purohit from Surat in Gujarat.
Institute director Naveen Maheshwari gave out the names and positions of the others as well — Archit Gupta (2) followed by Tamoghna Ghosh, Nipun Chandra, Harsh Agarwal, Rishav Raj, Harshit Anand, Rinku Sarmah, Abhishek Dogra and Manish Moolchandani.
Later in the day, another coaching institute, Aakash Educational Services Pvt Ltd (AESPL), came out with its own list of 11 students who were placed in the top twelve position. These students included several on Allen’s list.
“Out of the top 12 ranks, from our classroom programme, Tamoghna Ghosh secured 3rd AIR, Nipun Chandra secured 4th AIR, Harsh Aggarwal secured 5th AIR (classroom+distance), Abhishek Dogra secured 9th AIR,” an AESPL statement said.
AESPL also laid claim to the first and second toppers, Nishita Purohit and Archit Gupta, saying they were pursuing distance learning programmes. It said Harshit Anand (AIR 7), Rinku Sarmah (AIR 8) and Manish Mulchandani (AIR 10) were took distance cources.
At a press conference in Kota, Purohit, Gupta and Moolchandani (spelt Mulchandani by AESPL) said they were regular classroom students with Allen.
A relative who answered an HT call to Tamoghna Ghosh said he was a distance learning student of Allen and a regular with AESPL. Nipun Chandra’s family also said he was a regular with AESPL and had pursued two to three online tests with Allen.
Harshit Anand said he was a regular with Allen, as were Harsh Agarwal and Rishav Raj. Abhishek Dogra had done part of his coaching with Allen and part of it with AESPL.
The business of coaching in India is said to run into crores of rupees with lakhs of students seeking help to crack the competitive exams to secure a seat in one of the prestigious colleges, which in turn could land them a well-paying job. Experts, however, say the competition puts students under pressure, driving many to suicide.