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We all are well aware of Kota in Rajasthan, and how it has been the first choice for its results in medical and engineering examinations. This city has more than 300 coaching institutes that train young aspirants for AIIMS/NEET/JIPMER/JEE MAINS/JEE ADVANCED Examinations. Every year more than 1 lakh students come in the hope of fulfilling their dreams in Kota. However, every student is not able to crack these exams and they go back to their homes or leave this world forever. It is a harsh reality of Kota; whose fault is it – parents, teachers, students, or the coaching institutions!

Recently three students, including two minors, preparing for competitive entrance examinations in the Kota district of Rajasthan, allegedly committed suicide. It has once again put the spotlight on the country’s biggest coaching hub where students are subjected to tremendous pressure to crack the cut-throat competitions for medical and engineering entrance examinations. The coaching students face dual pressure for performing in academics to clear the 10+2 examinations as also to crack the entrance tests for which the coaching institutes aid them in learning tricks to quickly solve the questions in the entrance.

The coaching institutes and agencies conducting the entrance tests are to be blamed equally as they never factor in the psychological factors and the stress these tests mount on young minds. I think it’s high time that institutes hire professional counsellors to cater to the psychological needs of young adolescents. Psychological needs should be addressed in the coaching packages itself! Removing fans in winter so that students do not hang themselves or putting iron mesh under the fans are illogical measures.

The coaching hub is notorious for pushing students to the edge with long class hours, long assignments, and very competitive internal tests which determine whether a student is promoted or demoted among the many ‘batches.’ Top batches get the most sought-after teachers. However, the coaching institutes do not have regular clinical psychologists or the sophistication to handle young minds undergoing stressful mental conditions.

The coaching hub is fast turning into a suicide hub because of our flawed thinking and approach. Till now, if you ask any parent or teacher to help their child or student with counselling or any other psychological need, they get angry and say No. However, we have to broaden our horizon and see that apart from engineering or medicine, there are fields in which students can perform well. The prospect of going with the passion as a full-time career is not a bad idea. I also did engineering and scored well but was never happy; I shifted into marketing and content, which made me much more satisfied and my work more lovable.

It is very easy to get the complex of being inferior by comparing ourselves or our kids with the neighbourhood, but every individual is different and can have different interests and dreams. A push is needed from the ones they trust helping them to take the decisions, which will eventually lead them to reach their goal and success.

Nishtha Goyal

A middle class girl with dreams, Nishtha Goyal has been working in the content marketing industry for over 6 years. An extrovert, she enjoys travelling.