Higher Education

Higher Education

Integrated courses no good for HSC students?

PUBLISH DATE 3rd June 2017

Integrated courses, which combine school and college syllabi with those of competitive exams, are taking a toll on students, said school principals.

There are a plethora of integrated courses available which claim to prepare students for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) or National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) along with Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC). Colleges say they tie up with coaching centres to save students time claiming they don’t have to go to college if they attend these coaching classes.

But many students find it hard to cope with these programmes, said principals. “Students are feeling stressed out, are unable to handle the pressure and many even drop out because of these courses,” said Kavita Rege, principal, Sathaye College, Vile Parle.

One of the major reasons for the stress is that most of the classes don’t actually prepare students for HSC exams as JEE and NEET are based on CBSE syllabus. “Students find themselves under a lot of stress during HSC exams as they are not prepared for them. They end up taking additional for HSC exams,” said a teacher from a Powai college, which was among the first to offer integrated courses, but has now discontinued the practice.

“Since competitive tests follow a multiple choice question format, students don’t acquire writing skills. They are given short cuts, they know the formula, but HSC asks them how it was derived,” said the teacher. “As a result, a student who scores in the 90s in JEE, will score in the 70s in HSC.”

Students said many integrated courses lack quality. “I joined integrated courses mainly to save time for self study but ended up juggling between entrances and board studies. Also, classes put pressure on me to appear for all entrance exams, so I was unable to do in-depth preparation for one competitive exam,” says Vyom Makwana, SVP College, Dahisar.

Ronak Parmar, who is preparing for the entrance exam of company secretary at K J Somaiya Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, Vidyavihar, said the courses did not benefit him. “Majority in our batch couldn’t excel in JEE because of poor coaching, and only one student out of 70 made it to an IIT,” he said.

Educationists said integrated courses are promoting an unhealthy educational culture. “Integrated courses are not helping students but are turning them into robots who are only capable of answering multiple choice questions. They promote unhealthy education and encourage students to ignore board exam. This creates professionals who lack any real knowledge,” said Vidyadhar Joshi, vice-principal, VG Vaze College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Mulund.

On the other hand, others argued that well-designed courses reduce students’ stress. “Integrated courses make it easier for students to prepare for entrance exams. It saves them time that is otherwise spent commuting from college to classes,” said the head of a coaching institute, which offers integrated courses.