It came up during a random conversation with my twelve, almost thirteen, year old son. I was attempting to get him into bed to sleep and he was trying to prolong the wake time! He said ' Amma, VI and DA (two boys in his class) are going for classes'. Not overly surprised, as tuitions are quite the norm even in seventh grade, I responded with a 'So? just go to sleep'. ' Amma, they are going for classes so they can join the IIT coaching at the same place next year'.
Now he had my attention. The children in question were bouncy twelve year olds, in grade seven. My first brush with the IIT/ medical entrance coaching was when my older son, now seventeen, was in class eight. An anxious mom had shared the information that there were children who had enrolled for the all important classes, while she and I were just ostensibly just twiddling our thumbs. For a brief while I had even examined and entertained the concept of sending a child to preparatory classes for five years just so he could enter a four year degree program (After all, I did not want to be the only irresponsible parent, who cost her children the best opportunity of their life). I discarded the idea when it struck me that the child (even if he made it to the desired college) would have spent less time earning a degree than he would trying to get in... seemed a bit skewed to me, but then that is just my personal opinion.
Now here was something new... in the five years since the first brush, they were catching them even younger!! Now you had to be coached to be coached to get the engineering / medical coaching!!
Obviously, I am behind the times, because when I mentioned this to a friend, she gave me another twist.. There are separate coaching classes that ensure that you get into the professional coaching classes that coach you for college. I do realize that the word 'Coach' has occurred far too many times in this space. Talk to any parent though, and the conversation is smothered with the word.
So here is the question... just where will it stop? There will soon be classes from the fifth grade, then the third and then nursery! The baby Einstein products ( quite the rage a while ago) are allegedly not doing too well in the west these days as they did not make much difference.. .. maybe we should share this idea with the world and it may become a best seller..... So what if a child of twelve committed suicide just this week in Mumbai, because he failed in a class exam? So what if we read about such suicides in the papers almost everyday? After all it is the survival of the fittest.. and if this means only those who can take the incredible pressure so be it. Just catch them young. The younger the better!