In the heartland of India’s coaching industry, Kota, lies a troubling and silent epidemic that we cannot afford to ignore any longer. The pressure-cooker environment of Kota’s coaching institutes has long been associated with intense competition and incredible stress levels among students but it’s time to cast a spotlight on another insidious factor in this equation – parental pressure.

A recent report has brought to light a shocking reality – that many parents in Kota are not just bystanders but active contributors to their children’s misery. According to the report, top coaching institutes have lamented that the majority of parents adamantly refuse to accept feedback about their children. They insist that their children continue studying for gruelling engineering and medical entrance exams, regardless of the emotional toll it takes on them.

This stubborn insistence on pushing children into a particular career path is not just misguided; it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because it neglects the well-being and aspirations of the very individuals it seeks to protect. Instead of nurturing their children’s talents and interests, these parents inadvertently become part of a system that prioritises rote memorisation over critical thinking, grades over happiness, and entrance exam scores over mental health.

The problem doesn’t stop at mere insistence; it extends to the parents’ inability to recognise signs of distress in their children. The report suggests that parents are often unresponsive when approached about potential signs of depression, a lack of aptitude for a specific subject or career, or the inability to thrive in the hostile Kota environment.

The consequences of this refusal to engage in open dialogue are devastating. Students who feel trapped in a relentless pursuit of academic excellence, which may not align with their true passions or abilities, are at a higher risk of developing mental health issues. The pressure to conform to parental expectations can lead to anxiety, depression, and, in the worst cases, suicidal thoughts.

It is time for parents in Kota and across the nation to wake up to the gravity of this issue. We must move away from the notion that success can only be defined by a medical or engineering degree. Success should encompass happiness, well-rounded development, and personal fulfillment. Parents need to understand that their children are not extensions of themselves but unique individuals with their own dreams and talents.

Moreover, the coaching institutes and local authorities must also play their part by fostering an environment that encourages open communication and support for struggling students. They should provide resources for mental health, counselling, and alternative career paths.

It’s high time we break the silence surrounding parental pressure in Kota’s coaching institutes; the counselling of parents is the need of the hour. We must collectively work to create a more humane, balanced, and compassionate educational environment for our children. Only then can we hope to put an end to the tragic and needless loss of young lives to the pressures of an unforgiving system.

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