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Suicide capital? Spate of suicides in Kota may kill the never-die spirit of coaching hub

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A year back, Maharashtra used to hit headlines for suicide cases – mostly by poor farmers due to crop failure and stress. But now suddenly the hog light is on Kota where teenagers are committing suicides under pressure to perform well in preparatory tests for -JEE competition.

In 8 months, 23 students including two in last 48 hours have ended their lives after failing to cope up with the pressure built by expectations of parents and teachers.

The situation is not good for either of stakeholders. It's just creating panic in the country and confusion across administration, coaching owners, parents, students and people of Kota who are largely dependent on this coaching industry for their livelihood.

Confusion galore

Administration

After witnessing successive suicides, the administration is completely perplexed. They don't know how to prevent such cases. A few days back Rajasthan chief minister reviewed the situation of Kota and ordered to form a committee to look into the matter.

The committee is headed by Bhawani Singh Detha, principal secretary of higher and technical education. Other members of the committee include Kota Collector, Superintendent of Police, representative of coaching institutes hostel association among other stakeholders. The committee held a meeting to discuss the way forward to check the alarming situation in the city.

The district collector Om Prakash Bunker first issued guidelines on August 12, 2023 and directed coaching institutes to ban any test on Sunday. Later, after the two successive deaths in a day, the collector has halted all kinds of tests for next two months.

Unsure of any definite step, the committee has asked coaching institutes to implement ‘half-day study, half-day fun' on every Wednesday to bust stress of students burdened with parents' ambitions. The committee has also asked coaching institutes to identify stressed out students ad provide them motivational lessons and psychological counselling. The committee also discussed about starting a police station specially to handle students and their problems. The committee has been asked to give action plan within 15 days. It will visit Kota on September 2 to take stock of the situation.

Even cabinet ministers have jumped in the fray. While minister Mahesh Joshi called for closing down coaching institutes, food minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas warned coaching institutes owners not to put pressure on students for minting money.

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Coaching Institutes

It took almost 30 years of hit and trial for coaching institutes to develop coaching methodology for success in IIT-JEE and NEET – two of the most premium entrance tests in the country. Now they are confused as to how to find new ways of success mantra for students without making them toil. Coaching institutes have invested heavily in developing systems, study material and curriculum to train students for clearing the exam.

“We are really confused. To get success IIT-JEE, you need to be mentally strong and ready for the gruelling process. Unless they are subjected to practice test regularly, they will not be able to crack IIT-JEE. Students come to Kota only to be part of this system which takes them through,” said a coaching institute owner. He said that all coaching players are now confused as to what to do next.

Students

Students are equally confused. They have been taught so far to study, take practice tests, evaluate their potential, identify weakness and overcome these weaknesses to clear competitive tests. Now they are confused. This is the competitive , which makes Kota the city of IITians. If Kota also adopts ‘go-easy' methodology, edge will be lost.

Parents

The spate of suicides in the city has left many parents in dilemma. They have started doubting their decision to send their wards to Kota. Such cases have sunken deep in their mind a fear factor. Unsure of themselves and response of their wards to rising suicide cases around them, parents may pull back their children from Kota.

People dependent on coaching for livelihood

suddenly started looking uncertain for lakhs of people dependent on coaching for their livelihood. Be it teacher, washerman, restaurant owner, hostel owner or dabbewala, all have same question in mind – what if students stop coming to Kota? The coaching business pumps in close to Rs 10,000 crore every year in the city.

Every other person in Kota in some or the other way is linked to coaching. So if the system of coaching changes in Kota and subsequently results start getting affected, the city which has evolved in last 30 year will see a downturn demolishing all the economic activities around students and coaching.

The BuckStopper Reporter
The BuckStopper Reporterhttps://www.thebuckstopper.com
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.
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