I posted a brief note on this topic a couple of days ago http://obvioustruths.blogspot.in/2014/05/coaching-classes-and-iit-joint-entrance.html
The current blog post is a follow-up note referring to an excellent cover story from the Business Today describing the Rs 1700 Crore coaching industry synonymous with the city of Kota.
http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/kota-coaching-institutes-brand-iit/1/194170.html The article is a year old – it is dated May 2013 – but remains very relevant. There are a few very good photographs conveying something about the city as seen by the student. It is a city of one million people. The average temperature can exceed 40 deg C in summer. The severe competition takes its own toll – the article mentions eleven psychiatrists practicing in the city. About a dozen students commit suicide every year despite this.
The current practice of the IIT Entrance Exams is that you are eliminated from the competition if you are not in the top 20 percent of those taking your school board exam.
All this tells us something about the harsh reality of growing up in India. Getting into the IIT is only part of the story. A small fraction of those who get in do so with their own handicaps – socio-economic ones, poor mastery over English which is the medium of instruction, diverse interests not aligned with the institutes’ curriculum, to list some. I heard in one IIT that typically about 10% of the students fail in calculus in their first year. I wish that something can be done to make the students’ life happier and more successful.