Do coaching centres really help?
Parbina Rashid
O coaching centres really help one get through entrance tests? The question assumes significance as the student population of the city is getting ready to take entrance tests for the engineering and medical streams. While the debate on classroom teaching versus professional coaching continues, students, not willing to gamble with their career, are busy picking up the best of the fast growing number coaching centres in the city.




Do coaching centres really help?
Parbina Rashid

DO coaching centres really help one get through entrance tests? The question assumes significance as the student population of the city is getting ready to take entrance tests for the engineering and medical streams. While the debate on classroom teaching versus professional coaching continues, students, not willing to gamble with their career, are busy picking up the best of the fast growing number coaching centres in the city.

"Looking at the growing number of students for limited seats, one can safely say that extra coaching comes handy," says Mr Mohit Chitkara, vice-chairman of the Chitkara Educational Trust, which includes the Chitkara Institute of Competitions in Sector 8, Chandigarh. "Education offered by such coaching centres do not just equip them to tackle problems with speed, which is the bottomline of success, but brings some kind of regularity in a student’s life," he adds.

The blame that coaching centres are adding fuel to the growing tuition menace is not fair, feel many. "Coaching centres have always been blamed for contributing to the growth of the tuition menace, but in reality people who talk against tuitions also send their wards to prestigious coaching centres in the city," says an owner of a coaching institute in the city.

Asked to differentiate between classroom teaching and that of tutorials, a majority of those teaching in coaching centres say while schools concentrate on finishing the syllabus for the board exams, coaching centres groom and polish students to take competitive examinations head on, says Mr Sial of Akash Institute in sector 34, Chandigarh.

"While the focus of schools on good marks in the board exams, we focus on clearing concepts, starting with text questions and then go for multi-concept questions, expected in entrance tests for the IITs and other prestigious engineering colleges," says Mr Rajbir Singh, who teaches mathematics at the Chitkara Institute of Competitions.

However, schoolteachers have a different tale to tell. "While our aim is to clear concepts so that students can tackle all types of problems, coaching centres make their students cram around 5,000 questions without getting into the theory part," says Mr B. M. Pubial, who teaches physics in DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh.

Joining a coaching centre seems to have become a fashion with students "One cannot blame students for their crage for coaching centres for the entire education system has turned into a vicious cycle. A majority of the schools here indirectly help students join coaching centres by giving them the requisite attendance even when they are absent," says Mr Gaganbir Singh, a parent.

"It’s a vicious cycle" says a coaching centre owner, adding that "Teachers in private schools are paid peanuts and for government teachers there is no accountability whereas in most established coaching centres, teachers are well-qualified and have to live up to a certain standard." Though a few coaching centres prefer employing retired schoolteachers and principals, the new trend is finding someone with experience as well as the ability to teach.

While the argument whether or not to join a coaching centre continues, here is a piece of wisdom from Dr S. K. Aggarwal, a former Director of Technical Education, UT, Chandigarh, and head of the Mechanical Department of Punjab Engineering College: "If schoolteachers are thorough with their teaching, students need not go for extra coaching for all competitions are based on mainly the CBSE syllabus and for clearing such entrance tests one just needs to be regular in his studies."




Q I am a student of Class XII with science (PCM). I want to be a commercial pilot. Please guide me about flying schools in northern India.

Vineet Agarwal

A Apart from the Delhi Flying Club, a popular training ground for many a budding pilot, which has suspended its training facilities for the past two years due to security reasons, some well-known flying clubs operate in Punjab, UP, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Just be sure that the flying school is recognised by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). For details, log on to:

Once you have cleared Class XII and are 17 years of age, you can directly enrol for the Private Pilot Licence (PPL). This involves taking an exam conducted by the DGCA consisting of theory papers on air navigation, aviation meteorology, air regulation and technical aspects.

The curriculum is designed to give you overall knowledge of the body of the aircraft, principles and rules of flying, airspeed and cockpit instrumentation, including know-how about a particular type of aircraft — Piper, Cessna, Pushpak, etc. For getting a PPL, you need 40 hours of flying experience of which 20 should be solo flying and five cross-country. You must also clear the Armed Forces Central Medical Establishment Exam.

However, the PPL is not mandatory. Student Pilot Licence (SPL) holders can directly go for a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) if they are 18 and have passed Class XII (PCM).

To obtain a CPL, you have to clear theory papers on the same five topics, but at a more advanced level. You should have clocked 250 hours of flying experience, including solo and cross-country, and-day-and-night landing.

The training schedule for the PPL and the CPL is of six months and 15 months, respectively.

A commercial pilot becomes a senior commercial pilot upon upgrading his flying hours. After clocking a total of 1,500 flying hours, you can qualify for the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL).

However, before you graduate to commanding a Boeing or other large commercial aircraft, you will have to spend years flying smaller aircraft.

Also, training to be a pilot is an expensive proposition. Although you will earn handsomely, you must be prepared for the steep initial cost of training that can push you into a financial air pocket: Rs 3-4 lakh for a PPL and anywhere from Rs 10-15 lakh and above for a CPL, depending on whether you train in India or abroad.

The IGRUA, Rai Bareilly, which conducts entrance exams in January and July each year charges Rs 13.5 lakh for CPL +PPL (2-yrs) for which the eligibility is Class XII (PCM) and an SPL. The 18-mth CPL course for those who already have a PPL costs Rs 10 lakh.

Moreover, a pilot must be absolutely fit at every stage. Not only will you have to clear an exacting medical examination conducted by the Airforce Central Medical Establishment, Delhi, or the Indian Air Force Medical Centre, Bangalore, at the time of entry but also every 6-12 months. Even a minor health blip can halt your career mid-flight.


Q I am studying in Class XII. I am keen on pursuing a career in law. Could you please tell me some of the reputed institutes in Delhi for five-year law courses? Please also mention some other universities that offer these courses in this region.

Pallavi Pugla

A: In Delhi, the following universities offer five-year courses in law:

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi (Amity Law School, Vivekanand Instt of Professional Studies). Course: LLB (Hons) (

Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (

Some other universities that offer these law courses in the North India are:

Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (

The Army Institute of Law, Patiala ( Only for children of serving/ex-Army personnel.

Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (

Guru Nanak Dev University, School of Legal Studies, Jalandhar

Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak (Har).

National Law University, Jodhpur (BA LLB, BSc LLB &, BBA LLB.)

For a complete list of five-year courses and details on career prospects in various fields of law, you might like to refer to CARING’s Guide to Careers in Law.


Q I am in Class XI with science (PCB). I am particularly interested in zoology. Please tell me about the prospects.

Rajeev Sharan

A You have a fairly wide range of options open to you:

Besides teaching, you could start off as a Research Assistant in a university, government body, health authority or industry or that of an Analyst in food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries to maintain quality and consistency of products.

Biotechnology is another hot option you could look at.

You could also specialise in marketing of pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare products to medical and veterinary practitioners, retail pharmacists, hospitals and clinics.

Wildlife and forest conservation is yet another area you could be looking at. There the work could involve conducting biological surveys and making recommendations on the management and safeguarding of rare and endangered plants, animals and their habitats.

If you are adventurous, the Indian Forest Service could offer you a rewarding career in reserved forests and wildlife sanctuaries.

Forest and wildlife management is another upcoming field. The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, is a premier institution in this field.

You could of course take a shot at the Civil Services exam if you are so inclined.

With some further training, you could even go on to specialise in the related fields of sericulture (rearing of silk worms), pissiculture (fish breeding), social forestry, animal husbandry or biotechnology after doing advanced courses in these subjects.

After higher studies in zoology, you could work as a scientist in research-centred institutions like the Zoological Survey of India, the Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education, or the Wildlife Institute, Dehra Dun.

If you are in a hurry to start working, you could work as a Medical or Laboratory Technician in hospitals and scientific institutions involved in conducting research and training.


Q I am a student of Class XII (PCB). I am interested in snakes and reptiles. I want to become a herpetologist. Could you please guide me?

Sanjay Tolani

A At the moment, there are no academic courses that you could pursue to get into herpetology after Class XII. You could join the herpetology programme with the Bombay Natural History Society. Since it is a distance learning programme, you would be able to get a lot of information even if you do not live in Mumbai.

To start with, a BSc in Biology/ Zoology would be a good option.

The Bombay Natural History Society, established by the renowned ornithologist, Dr Salim Ali, offers a one-year correspondence course in herpetology, which is open to anyone interested in this field. This could serve as a good introduction for someone who simply wants to explore the field and see whether he/ she would be interested in taking it further. Another way to test your interest is to join a local conservation/public education organisation and participate in their activities.

An interest in herpetology can find fulfilment in a variety of ways. Jobs in zoology traditionally fall into four areas: college and university employment, government work, medical-related work and zoological park or museum staff. More recently, industrial and medical biotechnology have emerged as areas with new and exciting opportunities for biological research. What all of these jobs have in common is training in a biological field. The focus on herpetology finds place within this larger field. For instance, a person might be trained in ecology and do environmental impact studies for a research organisation. If that person is also a herpetologist, reptiles and amphibians might be the animals studied to evaluate changes in the environment.

Most young people with an interest in snakes and other reptiles think of working in a snake park or a reptile sanctuary like the famous reptile conservationist Romulus Whitaker at Chennai. Such jobs combine animal breeding, study and maintenance of their habitat with public education. But you could also work in natural history museums, zoos and national parks. Those with an interest in research could work with academic or research institutions where aspects of snake biology (developing anti-venom drugs, for instance) could fit into the programme. The field of research you choose will depend largely on whether your interest is to be "out in the field" among the animals, observing their interaction with the habitat, their reproductive behaviour, or population dynamics, or to study the inner workings of their systems — the anatomy, physiology and embryology. In fact, one young herpetologist works with an NGO in the tribal areas of northern Andhra Pradesh to help collect and document the local knowledge about snake species. India has among the world’s largest snake populations, with many species fast disappearing, and there is a need for people who can study these creatures and suggest ways to conserve them in the face of rapid deforestation and urbanisation.

It is important to understand that herpetology is a field of study, not an occupation — as a trained herpetologist you may not necessarily end up spending all your time working with the animals that you are most interested in. Few jobs would focus entirely on that area, so you should be ready to broaden your field of study to some extent, while at the same time continuing to pursue what interests you the most.

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at [email protected]



1. Name the first listed Indian IT firm to cross the revenue of over $1 billion (over Rs 4,800 cr) for the year ended March 31,2004?

2. Who recently became the first batsman in cricket history to score 400 runs in a Test match?

3. With which dance was Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra associated?

4. In which year was the sword of Tipu Sultan taken away by the British from Srirangapatnam?

5. Name the Swede who has replaced Bill Gates as the world's richest man, with a personal fortune of $53billion.

6. Expand MNNA.

7. What was the slogan of the World Health Organisation for this year's World Health Day?

8. Who was recently sworn in the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka?

9. What is the capital of Mauritius?

10. At what price has the steel magnate Laxmi Mittal bought the world's most expensive house, located in West London?

11. What is the full form of NHAI?

12. Which country got the maximum medals in the ninth SAF Games?

13. Which country recently registered its first cricket Test series win against the West Indies in 36 years?

14. How many wickets were taken by Waqar Younis in Test cricket ?

15. How many batsmen have gone past the 300-run mark twice in Test cricket?

Name.................................Class....................................School address...................

Winners of quiz 204 : The first prize by draw of lots goes to Raghav Goyal, VII, Alpine School, 101-C, Model Town, Patiala-147001.

Second: Gurkirat Kaur, 9th-A, St Francis School, Tarn Taran.

Third: Shekhar Sharma, X-B, Kendriya Vidyalaya (FRI), Dehradun.

Answers to quiz 204: 309; 1913; X-43A; Sheikh Ahmed Yassin; Tanushree Dutta; Brussels; Chinese army, Indian Railways, UK's National Health Service; 48; Simple Computer; Wal-Mart; Lakshmi Mittal; Algiers; Pramod Karan Sethi & Ram Chandra; 6; Pakistan.

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

— Tarun Sharma