17-year-old Kriti (name changed) was described as a cheerful and bright girl by her well-wishers, but how the masses know Kriti is as the young IIT aspirant who jumped off the fifth floor of her Kota apartment following the declaration of IIT JEE (Main) results. With 144/360 marks, her suicide note mentioned her reluctance to take the path Kota and engineering paved for her. She is one of twenty four youths enrolled in Kota’s coaching institutes who have committed suicide in the last sixteen months.
Kota, a small desert town around 250 kms from Jaipur, has over the years become the first choice for students who want to be among the nearly 10,000 aspirants IITs accept every year. Its 130-odd coaching institutes with provision for dummy schools, has over 1.5 lakh of students attracted, and enrolled, ranging between ages of 13 and 17. Lack of screening process for aspirants, exhausting study schedules, differential treatment to toppers, competition and the expectations of peers, parents and teachers, lies heavily on these students psychologically.
Seeing the alarming growth in rate of suicide cases, Kota district administration has begun its work on a first ever mammoth survey on 1.5 lakh students enrolled in Kota coaching institutes. With the intention of studying the mindset of these aspiring youth, the proposal came from the district collector, Ravi Kumar Surpur, in a review meeting with representatives from coaching institutes, and other stakeholders, along with IG of Kota. It aims to end the trend of increasing suicides and to reduce mental pressure of students.
“The most important part will be after studying the pattern and trends, we will make interventions aiming to bring an institutional change in the mindset of parents and students,” Surpur highlights the objective of the survey in his statement. Coaching institutes are directed to carry out a survey compulsorily on all their students class VIII onward.
This senior administration officer has earlier been in the media for writing an emotional letter to the parents of 1.5 lakh students pleading them “not to force their expectations and dreams on their children”. He advised, “Let them do what they want and are able to do”.
“I consider myself as a very unfortunate person because I got a chance to read around 20-25 suicide notes of young, brilliant, beautiful and wonderful children,” Surpur lamented in the letter.