Revival Strategies for Distressed Coaching Centres: Steps to Get Back in the Industry

The second wave of COVID-19 has hit Kota- India's largest coaching hub- and affected many professions in the education epicentre that had not even recovered the first wave of the pandemic.


Kota, the coaching, education and training sector’s Mecca in India, is one of the hardest-hit cities by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s economic situation is highly dependent on the migrant population of aspiring students. Every year more than 150,000 students come to Kota’s coaching centres to study and prepare for high-level entrance exams like JEE and NEET.

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The entrance coaching industry in Kota churns out revenues to the tune of about Rs 5,000 crore every year.

Kota’s education industry directly or indirectly affects the presence of at least two-thirds of the people in the city, including the 3,000 dormitories, 20,000 PG owners, local salesmen, traders, couriers, drivers, security guards, etc. The closure of the Kota has harmed the coaching dependent economy of the city. 

No Relief for Coaching Centres Despite COVID-19 Precautions

Coaching institutes all over India have taken various preventive measures against COVID-19, including the creation of separate isolation facilities, dormitories and hostels, where students’ temperatures are regularly monitored daily. 

However, since the brief return of students to Kota in January 2021, many hostels are operating only at 30% capacity, which has reduced the business by two thirds. Even with day labourers, including auto/rickshaw drivers, street vendors, etc., the struggle has not shied away. 

Coaching Centres Turn to Innovative Modes for Survival

Undoubtedly, all types of businesses are affected, not only in Kota city but across India. Businesses like stationeries, which once ran large operations in the city, are on the verge of collapse as many have to close due to lack of mobility and revenue.

Despite the challenges, coaching institutes in Kota are now looking for alternative business methods, including the digital path and online mode of education. Coaching centres are looking at how they can meet the needs of each student with specifically constructed solutions. 

Survival Strategy #1: Be at par with the New Needs

The coaching industry’s decision-makers have been vigorously moving towards the online mode to avert pandemic’s adversities for students. Major exams including the JEE Mains 2021 are set to be conducted online. As competitive exams are shifting online, both examinees and examiners need to be upskilled in multiple areas of online mode. 

To address the digital move, coaching centres should strategise changes in the teaching patterns and the way of conducting the classes. As they shift the focus on revamping the courses for online platforms, students will be well equipped to face the transformation and familiarise themselves with the new medium. Such an approach will bring a much-needed and well-thought change in the coaching industry.

Survival Strategy #2: Personalising Educative Coaching and Study Compendium

As classes increasingly shift online, coaching institutes have an opportunity to focus their attention on individual students via targeted mentor attention and study material allocation to students with specific needs. Suppose a student has doubts in one particular chapter of physics. In such cases, coachings can give them an option in their student portal to raise that doubt with a specific faculty member, who can resolve that doubt on a one-to-one basis later. 

Effectively, a personal touch instead of crowded classes can have a more significant positive outcome for coaching centres and students. Institutes must leverage this to benefit their students and deploy a smooth interface for students and faculties to use easily. This will require a cross-partnership between tech startups and the coaching players, further changing the face and image of the coaching industry as a more technologically driven education model. 

Moreover, coachings can focus on personal queries and meet students’ needs through recorded sessions as well. Even a single effort of one lecture can benefit from mentoring 100 students personally because of recorded sessions. Coaching centres can use these benefits to market their business and sustain the number of students.

Survival Strategy #3: Innovative Assessment Strategies 

In challenging contemporary times, education requires practical full-scale innovations to produce actual high-quality learning results across the system. The recurrent cycle of improvements and feed-backs makes learning suitable and efficient, giving it the quality needed.

Coaching centres have access to vast information or data from students’ tests, homework, and quizzes. These are designed in such a way that they can analyse the thinking of the student. Teachers can take the time to explore students’ work to get in-depth insights about their present knowledge, skill-sets, attitude, learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses.

Continuous innovation in products and services, teaching methods, educational materials and teaching analysis is needed to make mentoring more accessible and understandable for students in online mode.

Survival Strategy #4: Stepping up the Coaching Centres Edtech Game

While edtech has found prominence in India due to the pandemic, the relevance of brick and mortar centres haven’t wholly diminished. Traditional coachings can still enable students in high school to prepare for entrance tests like IIT-JEE and NEET by using their phone and making provisions for them to attend in-person classes as and when needed.

The aim should be to make expertise accessible and affordable to all. The existing offline solutions are focused principally on results from a few top students, with those who don’t make the cut are left to fend for themselves. Also, many deserving meritorious students cannot travel or relocate to far-off locations with principal players and can avail expert faculties. 

So, the blend of technology with discipline and mentorship through app-based learning and offline classrooms by empowering the local educators can be a game-changer. This will guarantee a two-way interaction. Integration of services like live sessions and test packages, among many others, is the only way to make hybrid class models competitive as education service delivery needs to become faster.

Will the Push Online for Coaching Centres Expand Over Time?

With a growing flow of online education, it is not hard to predict that coachings need to shift online rapidly and efficiently. Despite their limited resources, many coaching institutions are already considering digital ways to find internal over-the-counter solutions. Institutions are beginning to combine technology into their niche content to provide customised solutions for all students.

Along with this, mentors may also need to optimise their offline infrastructure. Kota instructors need to tailor their action strategy to online causes and provide services such as hyper-animated and visualised content, making their platform more interactive. Options such as online questionnaires, polls and question and answer sessions can help institutions capitalise on their future by providing students with a truly unique user and learning experience.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alumnus of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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