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Is it the right time to resume offline coaching classes across India? – Times of India

With exam season nearing, coaching institutes are waiting for the government approval to re-start offline classes. While most students are taking online lessons, final touches will be possible only if offline coaching is resumed to prepare them for the Boards and entrance exams lined up from March. None of the states barring Bihar and UP have so far allowed the coaching institutes to resume offline classes.

Just like any other sector, coaching institutes have faced major revenue losses since lockdown. While fee hike is ruled out, most institutes are hoping to get tax exemption, as 18% GST is imposed on the fee.

“It is important for students to get into the grind which is possible only in offline mode. Excessive dependence on the digital medium has isolated them, kept them away from peer competition and has also created psychological problems,” says Krishna Chaitanya Kasula, general secretary, Coaching Federation of India.

“It is not practical to increase the fee in 2021 as people are still grappling with financial problems and most students will opt out,” Kasula adds.

Coaching institutes in Kota are waiting for the state government nod to start operating. The city’s ecosystem is based on numerous coaching institutes and economic revival is possible only once students return to Kota. “Offline classes are more appropriate for preparation of competitive exams as it increases the inter-personal interaction and helps students in clearing their doubts which is restricted in digital mode,” says Naveen Maheswari, director, Allen Career Institute. Nitin Vijay, MD, Motion Education, Kota, says, “Despite smooth conduct of online classes, students are eager to return to resume regular classes.” The city, adds Vijay, is prepared to welcome back the students with hostels and PGs modified to offer single occupancy instead of shared rooms.

“The decision to resume physical classes in a phased manner is in favour of those who are eagerly waiting to attend offline classes,” says Saurabh Mittal, assistant director, Aakash Institute, Patna. Close to 70% of students and their parents have given their consent to restart offline classes, though Bihar has not yet released the SOPs despite allowing the classes to start from January 4.

Not only JEE and NEET, coaching institutes offering classes for MBA entrance examinations also want phased reopening of the institutions. “We have already started offline classes in some states including Uttar Pradesh and expecting to get approval from other states soon,” says Arks Srinivas, president, Career Launcher.

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