Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pros & Cons of Studying at Career Point University, Kota

Career Point University's main campus is at Kota, Rajasthan, and this relatively young private university is promoted by the promoters of Career Point, one of the pioneers of Kota's entrance coaching business. With only weeks left for admission season to commence in India, Seasonal Magazine takes a look at how Career Point University fares in admissions for academic year 2016-17. 

Ex-IITian Pramod Maheshwari, who founded Career Point serves as the Chancellor of Career Point University (CPU), while noted educationalist Dr. Mithilesh Dixit serves as CPU's Vice-Chancellor.

CPU's home city of Kota in Rajasthan is most known for recording the highest temperature in the state at 41.5 degrees recently, and for recording the highest number of student suicides during the past year, due to the intense and inhuman competition among the entrance coaching institutes in this city.

While police records put teenage suicides in Kota during the past year at 24, unofficial tallies speak about 56 or more youngsters ending their lives in this remote tier-2 city, around 250 kms from Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur.

Once famous for its engineering and medical entrance coaching centres, today the city is infamous for student suicides due to the reckless pressure exerted by these coaching centres on the IIT and All India Medical aspirants.

Starting out in the 90s with just a couple of institutes, this laidback city has spawned over 300 institutes during the past two and a half decades on the lure of minting big time money on coaching lakhs of students from all over India with no respect for their aptitude for entering IITs or Medical Colleges.

However, the bulk or cream of the coaching business is cornered by the so-called Big-5 in the industry - Allen, Bansal, Career Point, Resonance, and Vibrant – which charge higher fee for better success rates. And there are no refunds in this business for those who drop out, unable to withstand the pressure.

While Career Point founded by ex-IITian Pramod Maheshwari, and Bansal were the pioneers in this unique business of Kota, more successful players like Allen have surpassed them in recent years.

Intense competition among all these big as well as smaller players has ensured that students are often put through grueling regimens lasting 18 hours a day or more.

While only the suicides in Kota grab the headlines, thousands of teenagers studying in Kota experience mental breakdowns and require months of treatment at psychiatrists and counseling centres to recover.

Due to the tiny number of seats in IITs and leading Government Medical Colleges, compared with the huge number of aspirants studying in Kota alone, many students – between 40-45% - end up repeating the coaching classes, bringing in repeat business for these institutes.

With billboards celebrating the success of each institute’s students adorning many vantage points in Kota, success in entrance becomes the only measure of success for both the institutes and students, and many institutes are known to shame and humiliate underperforming students, driving them to suicides or nervous breakdowns.

After last year’s student suicides in Kota broke all records, the Kota District Collector took some action, and forced these institutes to conduct a screening test. However, most institutes have turned it into a mockery with a policy that even those who fail in the test would be offered coaching.

When a promoter and an organization from this kind of coaching industry starts a private university, there are bound to be raised eyebrows.

But Pramod Maheshwari who also serves as Chancellor of Career Point University (CPU) has so far tried to steer clear of such controversies by keeping the University a separate entity, and by not allowing the coaching culture to seep in here.

However, when one takes a walkthrough in CPU’s brochures and publicity materials, one can’t help but feel some elements of the coaching culture. For instance, the university stresses on middle-school like values viz. "determining one to one contact" and "relentlessly monitors progress of every student".

Many private universities in Rajasthan are financially bleeding due to inadequate admissions. Career Point University, according to information published in its website, has implemented some unique policies - may be to fight this challenge - like early admission benefit, repetition of entrance test, and a special provision to apply for the entrance test even just two days in advance.

And unlike many of its peers, it accommodates engineering diploma holders in its BTech programs in a big way.

Career Point University offers courses in domains like engineering, management, law, agriculture etc. According to information published in its website, among its 70 faculty members, only 7 have doctorate level degrees. CPU is not accredited by NAAC.

Being a young university, CPU is only gradually coming up in the placements scene. While CPU claims to have achieved 79% placements in the past academic session, the quality of recruiters and quality of pay leave much to be desired.

As per the information published in CPU website, while many of India’s largest recruiters like TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Accenture, IBM etc are missing, the list is dominated by second-rung or lower-rung companies, and many graduates and postgraduates have been recruited at very low CTCs ranging from Rs. 1.2 Lakhs Per Annum to Rs. 2.4 LPA.

Career Point University may come up gradually due to the education and experience of its Chancellor Pramod Maheshwari and Vice Chancellor Dr. Mithilesh Dixit, but for now, the university may appeal more to students native to Kota.

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