Do you remember the feeling of that first day of college when you didn’t know anyone? And felt as though everyone else knew what they were doing and had loads of friends, but you didn’t? Recently our pioneer class of ALF students went through the myriad emotions of becoming a college student, when they joined Junior Colleges across Mumbai to begin their 11th and 12th standard studies. A few of them managed to meet us a few weeks ago to talk about their experiences so far.
Their lives have changed a lot since the end of 10th standard–whereas before, they used to make their way to school by foot or on buses, they now make long journeys in very crowded trains. School uniforms have been replaced by the dizzying choice of wearing anything they like. In high school, they felt their classrooms were a little overcrowded, with 80 students to one teacher–but now they look back at that ratio quite fondly as they are often taught in classes of 150 students to one teacher.
Another new thing is that the girls are even busier than before, attending Junior College in the afternoon, and attend coaching classes in the mornings. Coaching classes are separate from Junior College classes, prepare students for the tough exams that they will take in order to obtain entrance to undergraduate engineering and medical courses at the end of their 12th standard. The competition is fierce–this year, 1.4 million students competed for places in engineering colleges alone! More information on the coaching classes phenomenon is included at the end of this post.
We are so proud of all our ALF alumni who have worked so hard to get into Junior College and are now striving towards the next goal–12th Standard examinations. We’ll keep you updated with their progress.
Further reading on the coaching and tuition phenomenon:
A brief but informative article on the rise of private tuition classes in India: http://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/education/growing-tuition-culture-in-india
A detailed analysis of the practice of coaching classes and tuition classes across the country: http://ries.revues.org/3913
Finally, read about two great NGOs who use the coaching classes concept to prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds for the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology: Super30 and Avanti Fellows.