How Thiruvananthapuram took over from New Delhi as the top choice for civil services coaching for aspirants

According to TP Sreenivasan, former diplomat and founder of NSS Academy of Civil Services, Thiruvananthapuram has become a prime option for many candidates from other states including TS and AP
Students deep in study mode | File photo | Express
Students deep in study mode | File photo | Express

If it was New Delhi a preferred destination for coaching by UPSC aspirants earlier, now the Keralites prefer either to attend coaching or to attend mock interviews or test series at various civil service coaching institutions in the state capital including the state government owned Kerala State Civil Service Academy.

As per the list compiled by Kerala State Civil Service Academy, 38 people from various districts in the state secured ranks. From sixth rank to 618, the candidates who attended sessions in the academy shone in the UPSC examinations. Of 38, five candidates figured in top 100.

However, many of these candidates have also done coaching at private institutions and individual mentors or tutors in the capital as well. As many as 28 civil service academies are functioning in the city alone. Hence, the candidates who hailed from the capital city have also got an added advantage so that they could learn from these academies.

V Vigneshwari, Director of Collegiate Education, told TNIE that there has been a manifold increase in the enrollment of candidates in state civil service academy in the capital since 2013 and it has seen a good trend that they are preferring their own state than New Delhi. "It is true that New Delhi was a hub once. But since the state got first rank in UPSC in 2013, a lot of candidates in Kerala preferred to write UPSC examinations and they too preferred the institutions in the capital city. There are students who are settling at least two to three years here at various hostels for civil service coaching at the academy alone. We have quality facilities and faculty members and we are having a dedicated research and development wing which focuses on the changes in the competitive world. This wing will ensure the upgradation in the syllabus and portion so that the candidates will get the right information at the right time. Besides theoretical classes, we have innovative sessions including conversation with IAS officers. We focus on an overall development of candidates so that they will be equipped as a civil service officer," she said.

According to TP Sreenivasan, former diplomat and founder of NSS Academy of Civil Services, Thiruvananthapuram has become a prime option for many candidates now even from other states including Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. "Now, more candidates prefer coaching here. It may be due to cheaper and quality coaching. There are many eminent personalities who worked as IAS officers, research fellows who can give concrete guidance to the aspirants. If it is nearly Rs 2 lakh fee for a candidate at New Delhi, here the fee is much cheaper. So that is also the main reason. It is also a welcome trend that the candidates who got selected prefer IFS instead of IAS. I am focusing the students to get admissions to IFS. So out of seven rank holders from my institute, two prefer IFS. So it is also a good trend," Sreenivasan said.

Midhun Premraj, who secured 12th rank has an eventful experience in attending an one year coaching at a private civil service academy called 'iLearn'. He said the experienced faculties who had attempted the UPSC examinations earlier can guide the candidates to what to do or what not to do in the examinations. "There are many faculties who lost UPSC when they reached the interview session. They can guide us very much based on their experiences. UPSC is a dynamic examination and it has a question pattern which changes on an yearly basis. So it is better to have faculties who have experienced the exams in real time. So there are many such faculty members in Thiruvananthapuram and their learning materials also helped me to crack UPSC," he said.

Nikhil Lohithakshan, a co-founder of 'ilearn IAS training Academy' said there is an increase in interest among students to study in Thiruvananthapuram rather than preferring in New Delhi. He said in his experience that he is also taking classes for candidates in New Delhi. "Around 35 candidates who cleared UPSC are from this academy. Unlike traditional classroom learning, we provide individual attention to all. There is a mentor assigned for minimum of 15 students. Each student can interact with mentors so that they can get proper guidance. Here, 90 percent of candidates from various districts. Many of them are residing at hostels and PG facilities. So generally there has been a rise in student enrollments here," he said. 

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