Killing them with coaching classes

Killing them with coaching classes

Yet another JEE aspirant has killed herself in Kota, after leaving behind a note addressed to her parents, in which she rued, “I am a loser.” Last week, a NEET aspirant from the district had committed suicide. The district reported 27 cases of students killing themselves last year. Kota, the heartland of coaching centres, has been in the spotlight for student suicides, and the government has released guidelines to address the issue.

Students coming out of the examination centre after appearing in JEE exam in Ludhiana. (HT)

Kota is a symptom of a large societal crisis. Multiple factors have fed into its making. Rising aspirations, lack of educational opportunities, fear about employability, peer pressure among students and social pressure on parents have contributed to the creation of an ecosystem that is robbing children of their childhood. Children are forced into coaching classes for competitive exams as early as middle school. This would mean choices of study are forced on them even before they have a basic introduction to subjects, courses and professions. Even those who crack the entrance tests are tired by the time they join the university stream. Many among those who fail to qualify struggle with low self-esteem and poor confidence, and embrace mediocrity. In extreme cases, the battle to succeed, when they are expected to enjoy childhood, ends in suicide. These suicides are nothing but societal murders.

Prescriptive measures such as counselling are provided for adolescent children to overcome the pressure of failure. These need to be extended to parents as well. Schools need to be proactive in counselling families to see beyond competition. Education has to be a process of reflection; a reductionist approach that perceives it as a mere instrument to further material progress is self-defeating, and disastrous for society.

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