DR AMBEDKAR EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT COACHING CENTRE
A Spark That Lights Many Lamps!
"Sir, I have cleared the exam...” This was the joyous voice which was received by the co-ordinators of Dr Ambedkar Education and Employment Coaching Centre, Tamilnadu in the last few days. The results of the Bank clerical written exam that was conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) were released few days back. Eighty two students who had undergone the training for the written exam have cleared the exam. More results are expected, since the candidates have just started receiving the score card. It is likely that the centre will score a hundred.
That was in July 2009. A TNUEF (Tamilnadu Untouchability Eradication Front) team in Coimbatore was on a mission to create awareness among the dalits about the existing employment opportunities. At a place, there were sixty young faces keenly watching us. Our team member was explaining, "...There is an employment opportunity now. The educational qualification for the applicant is just tenth standard..." After lecturing for thirty minutes, we asked how many are going to apply. Just ten people raised their hands. When enquired about others, we were shocked to know that they did not even complete tenth standard.
This had happened not in some remote area or rural area. It was in the heart of Coimbatore, which is nicknamed as South India's Manchester. Almost coincidentally, the TNUEF was taking a decision to set-up up education and employment coaching centres to facilitate the dalits in availing the opportunities. Coimbatore is the first place to initiate the action. It was in December 2009 that the centre was inaugurated. It was named as Dr Ambedkar Education and Employment Coaching Centre.
At the same time, an advertisement for selection of Group II officers was released by the Tamilnadu Public Service Commission. Hence, the classes were started in January 2010. Since then, the centre did not look back. After the class for Group II exam, Spoken English class was conducted. Then, the classes for VAO (village administrative officer) exam and other exams were held. Except for a brief period, there was no long break for the aspirants. Results were slowly showing. Due to the special attention given for Mathematics, Kalpana could clear the co-operative bank exam. Surya Prabha had cleared the Group II examination. After clearing the exam, she said the spark was provided by the centre. Three were selected for Tamilnadu State Police. Spoken English class had its effect. Some candidates had informed the centre that the class had given them the confidence in their work. Some said they did better in interviews.
Some sort of an official recognition came to the centre, when Repco Bank contacted us for conducting classes for repatriate candidates. Without any hesitation, the centre took up this task and conducted classes at two places, in Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli. Three candidates who had attended the classes got through in the written test. Also these three have got the appointment order after clearing the interview. Punithavathi has joined in Yelahanka (Karnataka), Magesh Prabhu has joined in Gudalur (Nilgiris district, Tamilnadu) and Dayanidhi has joined in Tiruvannamalai (Tamilnadu).
Moorthy, who has been selected for the post of sanitary inspector, attributes the credit to the Centre. Apart from all this, like icing on the cake, Jegan who took almost ten months training at our Centre had cleared the Civil Services Prelims Exam.
ROLE OF AIIEA
When the classes began, the main task was to give coaching material to the candidates. We had to photocopy the material and give them. The cost was gradually increasing since we had to cater them for about four to five months. The All India Insurance Employees Association, Coimbatore had taken a decision, which nobody would have ever imagined. A brand new photocopy machine costing around Rs 55,000 was bought. Every class, the candidates are offered tea in both the sessions. The meeting hall at the new Union Office building has virtually turned into a permanent class room.
Other places drew inspiration from the Coimbatore centre. Madurai, Virudhunagar and Tiruchengode centres followed. It was the advertisement for Bank Clerical Exam that prompted many other places to start such centres. Classes were conducted in Coimbatore, Chennai, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruchengode, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Mannargudi, Pudukkottai and Sivagangai. An important feature to be noted is that except for two centres, all the other centres are being managed by the AIIEA. Chennai Centre is being run by the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and the Centre at Madurai is being run by Tamilnadu State Transport Employees Federation. In these two centres too, the AIIEA comrades are playing an important role.
The latest results of Bank clerical written exam have come like a great fillip. The centres have taken care of the students from the beginning itself. Few centres like Chennai,Madurai, Tiruchengode and Tirunelveli went one step further. The candidates were given assistance to online registration too. Computers along with internet connections were arranged for this purpose. In fact, this has increased the number of applicants among the dalits. Among these, many of them could not register online for the officers' examination earlier.
The classes are conducted according to the area's nature. At some places, daily classes were conducted. Few centres had conducted classes on Saturdays and Sundays. Some centres like Coimbatore are doing it only on Sundays. But, a regular contact is established with the candidates through the SMS. Questions are being sent to the candidates through SMS almost everyday. Tests and model examinations were conducted to allay the exam fear. Apart from the syllabus, students are introduced to time management, personality development etc., through special classes.
To provide all the centres with the exam materials, a resource centre has been set-up at Salem. It was a sort of recognition, when Arunthathiyar Co-ordination Committee (a dalit organisation) gave Rao Sahib LC Gurusamy Memorial Award to the Centre for its services. This had sent a message to the dalit masses that the Centre has come to stay.
Presently, the classes have already started for SBI, RBI, EPFO, ESIC exams and for the forthcoming IBPS exam. More districts are likely to start the coaching centres in the coming months. Apart from consolidating the gains, the Centre has also decided to concentrate on school students. Some places have been identified in Coimbatore and Maduraialready. English, Maths and Computer classes are likely to be taken up at these places.
COURTESY- PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY, MARCH 18, 2012