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The outbreak of coronavirus has influenced almost every business in the country. The offline coaching industry has also seen a great alternation in these tough times.

Many coaching centers have opted for a digital outlet. The conventional mode of coaching centers is now replaced.  However, the online mode of classes did not result in too good,  the coaching centers have cut short the hefty fees structure.

The overcrowded coaching centers are now the past. The pandemic has restructured the education system,  mainly, affecting the recruitment and competitive entrance exams’ coaching centers. Lakhs of aspirants take admission in these centers, with an aim to crack the respective exams.

With the shift to online teaching methods, the highly elevated fee structures are of no avail.

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The postponement of various competitive examinations like UPSC, CLAT, JEE, NEET, etc has given plenty of extra study time but it has resulted in a sharp dip in the enrollment even during the prevailing peak session.

April, May, and June are the months when India’s coaching industry gets ready to entertain a new batch through its doors. Every year, lakhs of students walk through them, fuelling the industry’s annual revenues to upwards of Rs 24,000 crore, the estimate in 2015 by a government-appointed committee, and its annual growth to double digits, as aspirations outpace seats.

With academic institutions prematurely shut, entrance exams postponed, and skepticism hanging over the next academic year, the COVID 19 changs over the coaching world. Institutes are seeing fall in admissions to half, budgets that are weakening to pay for rented spaces, and fear of online competitors crowding them out.

While the large coaching centers’ owners are trying to wade through the crisis, smaller centers are in the midst of the storm.

 Network issues

Network problems are one of the biggest issues for the coaching centers. ‘Two weeks ago, we determined to make the transition to online classes but the results were unpleasant. The rain plays spoilsport — signal is disrupting stretches. Also, as the online classes are recorded, several students take the same for granted and do not follow them live. This can hinder their results,  said a staffer with Radiant Study Centre, Kochi, that offers coaching for JEE and NEET.

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Heavy loss

The coaching centers are providing online classes,  different from the traditional ones, the students are not supporting to pay full fees.

Usually, we do not accept the full consolidated amount in one go. Only a few students have paid the first installment — the other cite lack of formal household income. This, combined with a decline in new students owing to the delayed exams and the pandemic, has concluded in heavy losses for us. We are unable to pay rent and for infrastructure, the staffer cited. She said the old aged lecturers find it hard to transition to the online mode of teaching.

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At the Resonance East Delhi center, fresh registration is barely 30% of 2019. We got less than 10 pupils in May against the daily average of 10 to 12 around the same time last year, a teacher at the center said on condition of anonymity.

Desperate for students, institutes have reduced the preliminary amounts for opting seats. A Resonance centre in Delhi, for instance, is receiving advance payments of Rs 10,000, as opposed to Rs 60,000 in 2019. This centre charges Rs 1 lakh for one student per year.

Teachers resist they are being paid less and late even as they now give individualised attention to students, conducting online classes, recording lectures, administering tests, and clearing doubts over WhatsApp and Zoom.

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“This will stay a bad year for us,” said a teacher at Aakash Institute’s Nagpur center. I don’t think parents will be affluent motivating their children to go packed classrooms.

  • Vidyamandir Classes in Delhi has disclosed only about 60% of the salary for April for teachers above a certain salary bracket, said one of its teachers employed at a Dwarka center. An email to Vidyamandir founder Brij Mohan Gupta went un-replied.

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