A stepping stone

Print edition : August 26, 2011

Sri Chaitanya students who topped the All India Engineering/Architecture Entrance Examination in 2011. - PICTURES: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The quarter-century journey of the SCEI from its humble beginnings in Vijayawada in 1986 has seen it rise to dizzy heights.

TEACHING has to be not just educative, it has to be effective. This is the guiding principle of Sri Chaitanya Educational Institutions (SCEI), a leading chain of institutions in the field of education in Andhra Pradesh that has the distinction of commencing the re-engineering of education in the State.

Boppana Satyanarayana Rao (B.S. Rao as he is popularly known), a doctor who had settled abroad, was driven by the urge to make the academic lives of children in Andhra Pradesh better. This prompted him to move to his home State in 1986 and take up the task of re-engineering education.

The quarter-century journey of the SCEI from its humble beginnings in Vijayawada in 1986 has seen it rise to dizzy heights, with over 200 campuses spread across the State. The management has not confined to Andhra Pradesh its pursuit of disseminating quality education designed for the competitive environment. It has opened full-fledged campuses in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.

Its growth story is not simple as the institution chose to travel on the road not taken by others. The SCEI was founded at a time when students were struggling to get into professional courses such as engineering and medicine after completing their Intermediate education. Students and their parents preferred to spend a year after the Intermediate examinations to prepare for the common entrance test called the Engineering, Agriculture and Medicine Common Entrance Test (EAMCET) as they thought that students of average intellect would not be able to cope with both simultaneously. The introduction of the Long-term EAMCET Oriented Intermediate (LEO) by the institution changed the attitude of students and their parents forever as the new pattern ensured that thousands could step into the instruction halls of professional colleges.

From its focus on the State-level entrance examinations, the institution shifted its attention to the next major task: equipping students to take on what is considered the toughest challenge in the engineering circuit, the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The State was languishing in the 10th position in terms of the number of students qualifying for the IITs before the SCEI made its foray into coaching. The intense coaching by the trained faculty of the SCEI saw Andhra Pradesh reach the top of the table; it now sends many students to premier institutions.

The SCEI is credited with redefining the way students prepare for competitive examinations such as the EAMCET at the State level and those for the engineering and medical courses offered by premier institutions across the country. Its student I. Prudhvi Tej bagged the top rank in IIT-JEE-2011 in the open category, and three other SCEI students were placed among the top 10 in the entrance test. Their achievements stand testimony to the methods adopted to groom students and build up their skills and self-confidence.

That the credible performance of SCEI students is not just hype and involves a dedicated approach to training is demonstrated by the number of students who have secured ranks in various competitive examinations, including the All India Engineering/Architecture Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and those for the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, and the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry. It is no wonder that the SCEI is successfully functioning in other States, including Rajasthan, Punjab, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring Karnataka, apart from the States where it has got its own campuses.

IN A CLASSROOM at a Sri Chaitanya institution in Hyderabad.-PICTURES: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In the medical stream, the institution has evolved a method in which the preparatory material is designed by weaving together test patterns into one single academic fabric. Intense preparation helps aspirants crack the tough competitive medical entrance examinations, including the EAMCET and for the AFMC; the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; the Christian Medical College, Vellore; and JIPMER.

Accountancy training

Even as the focus on engineering and medical streams continues, the SCEI has set its sights on accountancy. The number of chartered accountants, company secretaries and professionals of the Institute of Costs and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) required by the country is estimated to be 10 times more than the talent available in the market. Sri Chaitanya set up an exclusive CA Academy under ICAP (Integrated Coaching for Accounting Professionals).

The academy offers integrated coaching with an innovative methodology for CA/ICWA/CS aspirants and those doing the Intermediate MEC (Mathematics, Economics, Commerce) groups in addition to coaching for all levels of the examinations.

But the desire to provide the best quality coaching was not quenched yet, and the SCEI set its sights on the Civil Services Examinations, considered the toughest entrance examination in the country. This led to the setting up of the IAS Academy, which enabled average and underprivileged students to crack the Union Public Service Commission examination, hitherto considered a far-fetched fantasy by many.

Not restricting itself to higher studies, the institution set up Techno Schools to prepare students from their schooldays to take on the tough tests they would face later. Contrary to conventional education where contentment often halts progress of potential winner, the SCEI firmly believes in a professional approach to education, especially at the secondary and higher secondary levels, to groom and equip students with the skills required in the areas of their choice.

The achievements of students of Techno Schools, who secured as many as 90 ranked positions, including six out of the top 10 positions in the 13th National Science Olympiad and the second level in the 4th International Mathematics Olympiad, speak for themselves. In the past academic year, the institution achieved the top slot in the International Assessment for Indian Schools and the all-India ranks in the Unified Cyber Olympiad, the Association for Improvement of Mathematics Education and the International Level Excellence Award.

The focus at the SCEI is to make sure that students gain knowledge in all subjects and that they are equipped to make a career choice before leaving high school. Thus, students can fashion their future as a matter of choice rather than by chance.

The institution fulfils its social responsibility too, and this is evident from the scholarships it extends to students from economically weaker sections and the free education it provides to 100 children of farmers who committed suicide on account of financial circumstances. The SCEI has adopted two villages in Nalgonda district, where people suffer from severe fluorosis a condition caused by the excessive fluoride content in water besides extending support to contain ailments such as dystrophy.

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