Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Civil Dreams: Lending Its Weight To India’s Steel Frame

The Residential Coaching Academy, set up by Jamia Millia Islamia university in 2010 to prepare candidates for the UPSC civil services examinations, is one of a kind in India. The free coaching institute, manned by the university’s faculty members, contrasts sharply with the coaching factories of Kota with its stellar record and teaching methodology
September 5, 2023
Civil Services
Despite facing a fund crunch, the Residential Coaching Academy at Jamia Millia Islamia University continues to deliver stellar results

When Neelesh Kumar walked through Gate Number 5 of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university campus, it was his last hope of cracking the elite Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam for the selection of civil servants. The youth from Etawah in UP had taken a long and circuitous route to JMI via the infamous coaching factories of Kota, which are now more in the news for students dying by suicide rather than dominating the merit lists of competitive exams.

For Kumar, the free Residential Coaching Academy (RCA) with its striking glass facade run by JMI provided the environment and guidance that helped him get into the Allied Services category in 2023 through the UPSC exam. Now, he is striving to improve his rank so that he can fulfil his dream of getting into the elite All-India Civil Services.

But there is a tinge of regret in his voice for wasting almost ₹10 lakh of his parents’ hard-earned money. It was money they had earned by toiling all their lives as teachers in a government school in Etawah and it was spent to give wings to their son’s dream on the conveyor belt of Kota’s coaching factories.

“I heard about RCA when I was in final year in college,” says Kumar. “I have appeared in the UPSC entrance exam twice. I reached the interview stage in my first attempt but failed to make the cut. I made the cut on the second attempt and qualified for Allied Services. Now, I want to improve my rank so that I get into the Civil Services. I owe my success to RCA, because I spent three years preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (for IITs) in various coaching institutes in Kota without any success. In the process, my parents ended up spending around ₹8 lakh to ₹10 lakh. I did not want to put any further burden on them, so I opted for RCA to prepare for UPSC, and it changed everything for me. RCA is an extraordinary institute.”

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Jasvinder Sidhu

Jasvinder Sidhu is a freelance investigative journalist who worked for newspapers like The Greater Kashmir, Amar Ujala and The Hindustan Times