In eight years, 73 of his students have gone on to become IAS officers in nine different states.

Knowledge is for sharing Coimbatore professor who coaches IAS aspirants for free
news Social service Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 08:51

More than two hundred students sit cross-kneed on the floor, their attention on the man wearing a microphone in the front of the classroom. P Kanagraj, a 47-year-old political science professor has begun has class on governors at his IAS coaching academy.

“Knowledge is not for saying but for sharing,” states Kanagraj, a motto that he continues to live by. In 2008, he began the free IAS coaching academy in Coimbatore to help students bring a change in society. In eight years, 73 of his students have gone on to become IAS officers in nine different states in the country.

More than 400 students attend the institute in a week to prepare for the civil services exam. But do the students take the classes lightly as they receive free training? “No, they do not. We have four hour classes on Sundays and most of them sit on the floor and study, they even come one hour early for the classes to get a seat,” he says emphatically.

While the free lessons are a big factor in choosing the academy, students say there is more to his lessons. Vasanth, an engineering graduate from Coimbatore has been attending the coaching classes at the academy for four years.  “In other institutes, one has to pay a huge amount to get coaching for civil service examination but here we get to study for free. Moreover, he has a unique way of teaching subjects and knows a lot about the subject,” Vasanth says. Aman Dubey, an engineering graduate from Jharkhand, who will appear for his civil services examination this year says, “This academy teaches us things more practically. We get to travel with Kanagaraj sir to different parts of the state to understand poverty.”

After finishing his MA, M.Phil and PhD in Political Science from Jawaharlal University in New Delhi, Kanagraj sat for the civil services exams on two occasions. But he was unable to get past the interview round.

While Kanagraj now works as the head of the Political Science Department at the Government Arts College in Coimbatore, he wraps up his day at 1:45pm so he can devote the rest of the day to the IAS academy.

The free coaching classes began casually in 2008, with a few students coming to his house. “In the first batch, eight students were part of the coaching and two of them got through the exams,” recalls Kanagraj. But as word spread of Kanagraj’s lessons, he was unable to accommodate more students.

After witnessing Kanagraj’s dedicated effort to coaching students, the Coimbatore Corporation decided to provide him with a building for the academy in 2011. There’s been no looking back since with doctors, engineers, and college students coming to attend his classes.

But besides clearing the civil services exams, Kanagraj also claims that 1200 students have cracked the paramilitary, bank services and central government examinations after taking his coaching class. The institute also equips the students with communication, aptitude and emotional skills. “We prefer first year college students to join the coaching, as they can get coaching for four years and then write IAS examinations,” says Kanagraj.

He feels that time is immaterial. “Some students come from other states to get IAS coaching for interviews. We give them three hours coaching every day. It all depends on the students,” he says.

The institute does not only teach underprivileged students but admits people from all backgrounds.

Besides the coaching class, the professor also runs a programme called “Empowering for future” which equips underprivileged children from corporation schools with communication and aptitude skills.

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