Published: 21st February 2020
Meet the Govt College teacher in Coimbatore who has been giving free UPSC coaching for 15 years
Dr P Kanagaraj, who holds a PhD in Political Science from JNU offers free IAS coaching classes and has about 400 students. He has been coaching aspirants for the past 15 years and is still counting
If you are a government job aspirant, specifically an IAS aspirant who cannot pay up huge sums of money to get that coveted job, Dr Kanagaraj's free IAS coaching centre at Dr Nanjappa Road, Coimbatore can be your go-to option. Completing his PhD in Political Science at JNU in the year 1998 Dr P Kanagaraj, who currently works in Government Arts College, Coimbatore, makes IAS dreams come true through regular coaching classes and he says that he has never had a 'weekend off' for the past 15 years as he is busy coaching IAS aspirants then. The classes are offered for free so that people from students to working professionals could make use of this service. Kanagaraj's classes have approximately 400 students. There is no attendance here, which means, if you are dedicated towards achieving your dream then Kanagaraj is ready to give you the right push. Excerpts from an interview:
Can you tell us more about how your initiative first began?
I wanted to become an IAS officer, but unfortunately, I couldn't become one due to a few personal reasons. When I returned from JNU, all I wanted to do was serve society. I would have done the same even if I had become an IAS officer. Conducting quality classes for free helps people from all walks of life achieve their IAS dream. The students have to sit on the floor during the entire class as we cannot accommodate many students if we have tables and chairs. As the room is small, accommodating chairs and tables would occupy space. Unavailability of space should never mean a loss to these aspirants. Four students can sit in the space occupied by one chair and table. Hence my intention is to help maximum students out there. Starting with eight students in the year 2008, I teach around 400 students currently. Students from all across India attend the classes.
How are you able to give these classes for free?
A team of my former students help me in taking classes. Talking about the financial part, K Chandran, Director, Chennai Silks, S Senthil Kumar, Managing Director, Spectrum Mall, Rajendran, MD of Sruthi Builders, Coimbatore and Siddarth, Deputy Commissioner, Goods and Services Tax, Tirupur, help in managing the expenses like electricity bills and other miscellaneous expenses associated with running a coaching centre. The only difficulty I face is the lack of space. If I could overcome that, then I am sure that I would have about 2,000 students as opposed to 400 students now.
Dr P Kanagaraj
What are the classes like? What other opportunities can the students avail?
We specialise in General Studies paper and Political Science optional paper. These are the major subjects in the UPSC exams. On Sundays, dubbed Golden Sundays, we hold special classes. If you attend 75 Sundays continuously without fail, then you can breeze through the Civil
Service exams. We also hold IAS interview classes from December to April every year. People from different parts of India attend this class. Apart from this, we also conduct career guidance classes for rural school students and skill development programmes for students of Government Arts College, Coimbatore. In the programme, the students are taught to make short films, musical albums, etc, thus exposing them to diverse opportunities. We also conduct free coaching classes in Tamil in the Government Arts College to facilitate the students of the college. Apart from that, we provide coaching for other competitive exams like Bank exams and TNPSC. However, our main aim is to help aspirants ace through the UPSC exams.
What is the success rate of your institution?
Almost 88 students from our institute have passed the Civil Services exam so far and nearly 3,000 students have cleared the Banking and TNPSC exams.
What are your future prospects?
We are planning to open a free residential IAS coaching centre soon.
1. Be strong in current affairs. Read standard newspapers, magazines and watch English news channels.
2. Don't depend too much on coaching centres
3. Be positive mainly in the exam hall and interview
4. Understand the concepts before memorising as it is an exhaustive syllabus
5. Refer only one source
6. Use ink pens for better handwriting as presentation plays an important role
7. NCERT school books of 11th and 12th are important