By Shadan Muneer
Civil Services is one of the premier services as it has a relatively greater sphere of authority and power than any other services in India. Gaining entry into Civil Service is a dream for many and supplementary coaching is essential to reach the dream destination.
Among the many competitive exam coaching institutions, Jnanabuthi Coaching Centre in Mysuru stands out. A pioneer in coaching Civil Service aspirants, it is imparting free coaching from the past 35 years and till date over 1.50 lakh students have been trained.
The institution has been a ray of hope for many students, especially from rural areas, who have limited access to coaching resources. Thousands of officials have studied here, have cracked various competitive examinations and are serving in both Central and State Governments.
As we dwell into the proud history of the institution, one person’s contribution right from the day of its inception shines brightly — Jainahalli Satyanarayanagowda, General Secretary of Jnanabuthi Coaching Centre, who has been the cornerstone around whom the institution has spread its wings of knowledge far and wide.
Hailing from Jainahalli village of K.R. Pet Taluk in Mandya, Satyanarayanagowda attained M.A in Kannada literature along with B.Ed and M.Ed degrees from University of Mysore (UoM). He started his career as a primary school teacher and went on to become a lecturer at Maharani’s B.Ed College.
After his retirement he was appointed as the head of the Competitive Examination Training Centre at KSOU. Star of Mysore caught up with Satyanarayanagowda to know more about this institution which is surely a pathfinder to thousands of talented students.—Ed
Star of Mysore (SOM): Can you please tell us about the conceptualisation and journey?
Jainahalli Satyanarayanagowda: Jnanabuthi Coaching Centre is one of the first competitive exams training centres in South India. It started as ‘Akhila Karnataka Kannada Adhyapakara Sangha’ in 1984 to provide coaching for Kannada M.A students. Gradually we started giving training for various competitive exams and the Coaching Centre’s name was changed to ‘Jnanabuthi.’
The main goal of the institution is to provide free and efficient coaching for those aspirants whose dream is to become officers but cannot afford commercial coaching. We conduct entrance exams where the students are selected. We conduct classes every day from 6 pm to 8 pm at the premises of Lakshmipuram Government School.
SOM: Students usually prefer professional courses as Civil Services is considered both tough and challenging. What is your take on this?
Satyanarayanagowda: Yes, Civil Services exam requires a high level of dedication, hard work and the aspirant needs to set aside some years for it. No doubt that each course demands dedication but Civil Services is at another level. It is the exam which looks for candidates who can take on huge responsibilities and also be able to efficiently solve social problems.
SOM: Are there any plans from your institution to create online platform?
Satyanarayanagowda: With online, there will not be direct interaction which I feel narrows down the communication channel. At present we are not providing online coaching. In future, based on situations and resources we may explore.
SOM: How do you manage to fund a free training centre and run the show so effectively?
Satyanarayanagowda: I feel blessed in this regard as all the resource persons visiting our Centre provide quality lectures and excellent coaching without charging a single rupee as fee. All of us do our work for a good cause, betterment of young aspirants without expecting monetary returns. We have resource persons and experts from different subjects who have decades of experience and voluntarily come to our coaching centre. I am always grateful to them.
SOM: What are your plans to increase the outreach?
Satyanarayanagowda: The main principle of Jnanabuthi is to provide efficient training to rural students. In Jnanabuthi, apart from efficient classroom training, the students can also personally reach out to our resource persons for any clarifications and guidance, and the students are provided with reference books compiled by us. We also conduct workshops for aspirants where many IAS and KAS Officers interact with them.
SOM: What is your message for the students who face peer pressure and take up subjects and courses that do not interest them?
Satyanarayanagowda: Pressuring a child to take up courses that they are not interested in will have an impact on their performance. Even if they manage to score good marks and secure a good job, they won’t get the actual grip on subjects. This will hinder their creativity and efficient understanding. This is where research and development in that field gets affected.
SOM: What tips would you give to the students to handle stress and to be consistent in their efforts?
Satyanarayanagowda: It can be cracked with the combination of proper planning, discipline and consistent hard work. There is no replacement for hard work. It may not be possible for all to crack the exam in the first attempt. I advise the aspirants not to lose hope even if they fail in initial attempts. Instead, learn from the mistakes and come better prepared for the next attempt. In my opinion, balance is the key to overcoming stress.
Those who were coached now coach at Jnanabuthi
Jnanabuthi Coaching Centre in Mysuru has been the grooming ground for thousands of talented students and a guiding light for students who come from humble backgrounds. Star of Mysore caught up with some of the gems mentored at Jnanabuthi to know their success stories. Read on…
V.R. Shylaja, a 1999 batch KAS Officer from Mysuru, now serving as Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Mandya, says, “Jnanabuthi was like an oasis in a desert in the era when the concept of competitive examinations was little known. This free coaching centre has helped many students fulfil their dreams.”
Elaborating on the training methodology used by the institution she adds, “Coaching also involves direct counselling by senior IAS and IPS Officers which is indeed motivating as well as encouraging and the group discussions provide the right atmosphere.”
A. Devaraju, a 1998 batch KAS Officer, currently serving as Special Land Acquisition Officer and Competent Authority, NH-275 (Mysuru-Madikeri section) in Mysuru, states that Jnanabuthi has helped not only him but thousands of job aspirants from Mysuru and neighbouring districts.
“The coaching team includes subject specialists to provide subject-specific help; guest lectures and special sessions help students with techniques to write crisp answers. Jnanabuthi helped me clear LIC exam, RFO exam, Central Excise exam and KAS. I feel fortunate to have come this far and I owe my success to this free coaching centre.”
Veerabhadra, Senior Under-Secretary, Government of Karnataka and a native of Mysuru, points out that earlier it was difficult for rural students to get necessary sources and access good quality tutorials to crack competitive exams.
“Jnanabuthi helped me and many aspirants from rural areas who could not afford to pay fees for coaching centres. This centre provided all required facilities, study materials and mentored me in cracking KPSC’s FDA and SDA exams.”
Prof. M. Balakrishna, Principal of Maharani’s Science College for Women, Mysuru, is one of the many achievers who have reaped benefits of the magnanimous service rendered by Jnanabuthi.
“After completing my MCA, I joined Jnanabuthi to get general coaching for all competitive examinations as the centre helps aspirants choose the best field and suggest possible career options after identifying their talents and strengths. The centre instilled confidence in me and helped me crack the SLET exam. It provided me a platform to achieve my goals and structure my career path. The knowledge and guidance gained at Jnanabuthi has been the cornerstone of my success professionally,” he says.
Dr. S.B. Ravi Kumar, a 1998 batch KAS Officer from Mandya District, now serving as Joint Labour Commissioner in Bengaluru, revealing the role played by Jnanabuthi, explains, “I joined Jnanabuthi to avail coaching for MA in Kannada. Later when the centre started training sessions for competitive examinations, it influenced me a lot and I started attending the classes. It provided me with a platform to streamline my preparation.”
Dr. Ravi Kumar has also conducted competitive exam training classes at the centre which reflects the values taught by Jnanabuthi. He adds, “I feel fortunate to have been part of Jnanabuthi — my journey from being a student to becoming a faculty has been great.”
The institution has also groomed many accomplished academicians and M.S. Sapna, Professor of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore, is one among them. Narrating about her bond with the institution, she says, “There are a number of coaching centres today that charge hefty fees but Jnanabuthi stands out for being the pioneer in training Civil Service aspirants without charging any fees. It is a knowledge hub without any hidden agenda. Such centres must be encouraged.”
Sapna, who also conducts sessions at the Jnanabuthi centre and teaches communication papers to the aspirants, says that it’s a small contribution to the institution which has helped her shape her career.