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Kota suicides: District administration forms teams to supervise coaching centres

May 01, 2024 05:40 PM IST

Last year, 27 students, preparing for various competitive examinations, had allegedly died by suicide in Kota

Jaipur: The Kota district administration on Tuesday formed 13 teams to supervise the execution of the state-level regulatory guidelines across nine coaching centres and its branches across the city that house more than 100 students, officials familiar with the development said.

2.25 lakh JEE and NEET aspirants live and study in Kota every year (Representative Photo)
2.25 lakh JEE and NEET aspirants live and study in Kota every year (Representative Photo)

This comes following the recent death of two students allegedly by suicide in Kota’s coaching hub only a day apart. On Monday, a 20-year-old student preparing for the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admission in undergraduate medical courses, allegedly died by suicide in Kota, in the second such incident in the coaching hub over the last 24 hours and the ninth this year, police said.

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On March 28, a 19-year-old NEET aspirant allegedly hanged herself at her PG room in Kota and a day earlier, another student, a 20-year-old, was found dead at his PG accommodation.

Last year, 27 students, preparing for various competitive examinations allegedly died by suicide in Kota.

Earlier, the district administration had also formed a nine-member team to monitor the execution of the guidelines norms at the hostels and paying guest accommodations on February 17.

“This panel also pays a weekly visit at the hostels, communicates with the students, and also checks whether the anti-suicide device in the ceiling fan is in place and the hostel staff are regularly attending the gatekeeping training sessions, as per the guidelines norms,” said Rajasthan Administrative Service Sunita Daga, the nodal officer of this nine-member panel. 

Daga said that the panel in charge of supervising the hostels and PGs were also appointed to supervise the rest of the coaching centres which were not brought under the latest special teams considering their low student strength (less than 100).

Also Read: NEET aspirant allegedly dies by suicide in Rajasthan’s Kota; second in 24 hours

In August last year, the district administration had ordered all hostels and PG accommodations to install spring-loaded fans in rooms “to provide students mental support and security”. However, the guideline does not apply to apartments.

Kota is the centre of India’s test-prep business, estimated to be worth 10,000 crore annually, according to officials in the district administration. Students from around the country arrive here in huge numbers after completing Class X and registering in residential test-prep institutes. They also enrol in schools, most of which are largely for purposes of certification.

Students attend classes only in the test-prep institutes, which prepare them for their Class XII examination, but more importantly, entrance examinations such as NEET and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Some students find the grind stressful, especially because they are away from their families.

On March 8, a 16-year-old student from Bihar, who was preparing for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission in engineering courses, died by suicide in Kota, leaving behind a purported note for his father where he said he was struggling to pursue the course.

On February 19, a 16-year-old JEE aspirant from Madhya Pradesh, who was studying in Kota and went missing for over 10 days, was found dead in the Chambal forest area. Based on the CCTV footage and other evidence, the police stated it was suicide as his body was found stuck between two rocks down a cliff. “The boy had probably tried to jump into the river,” said police.

On February 13, a 16-year-old from Chhattisgarh, who appeared for the first edition of JEE-Main, died by suicide in Kota district, a day after the National Testing Agency published the answer key for the exam, police said. It appeared that he had scored very low in the exam, police added.

On January 29, an 18-year-old student from Kota died by suicide days ahead of the JEE-Main exam, leaving behind a purported note for her parents where she said she could not attempt the exam.

On January 23, a 19-year-old student from Uttar Pradesh, who was preparing for NEET, allegedly died by suicide in the district.

According to police data, 15 students died by suicide in Kota in 2022, 18 in 2019, 20 in 2018, seven in 2017, 17 in 2016, and 18 in 2015. No suicides were reported in 2020 and 2021 as coaching institutes were shut or ran in online mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid a spate of such cases, the Rajasthan government on September 28 announced a series of measures to prevent suicides among students, such as a mandatory screening test, the alphabetical sorting of students into sections instead of a ranking-based one, and the admission of students who are in Class IX or higher.

The guidelines also recommended mandatory training for teachers, institute managers, other staff, and the wardens of the hostels and paying guest accommodations to enable them to assess the behavioural changes of students and take further preventive measures. 

The government warned of legal action against faculty of coaching institutes if they violated any regulations. 

On January 16, the Union education minister also released specific instructions for the functioning of coaching centres and restricted enrollment above the age of 16. It warned of a penalty of 1,00,000 for institutes in case of violation of the terms and conditions.

“The latest 13 teams were formed to oversee whether the guidelines are properly executed in the coaching centres. Each team will comprise one Rajasthan Administrative Service officer and also a Rajasthan Police Service officer who will daily visit the coaching centres from now onwards. The RAS officer will be made the nodal officer of each team who will submit a report to the collector,” read the order- a copy of which was seen by HT. 

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