Decoding the dark side of quota: Busy schedules, cut-throat competition, constant pressure to perform better and homesickness is what many students preparing for competitive exams in the ‘coaching capital’ of the country, Kota, deal with on a daily basis. These factors can often trigger anxiety and create “vulnerable moments” for students, says Pragati Gupta, a NEET aspirant from Madhya Pradesh. With the suicide of three students preparing for exams here, the focus has once again been on the factors that push students to take the extreme step.
The dark side of Kota
The suicide of 3 students in Kota shocked the citizens. In addition to the light side of Kota, there is also a dark side that we need to decode. Undoubtedly, every year Kotak helps lakhs of students to achieve their destiny and fulfill their dreams. But the pressure to pass the competitive examination puts the students under strict measures. Every year, many students commit suicide in the education center due to stress and anxiety.
Recently, Inspector General of Police G. Prasanna Jeet Khemsara asked the operators of coaching centers in Kota to make the environment stress-free for the aspirants. He directed them to draw up an action plan to prevent depression and suicide in the city and insisted on a week’s rest for students.
Fear of being left behind in the aspirants
Sandeep Tiwari from Etawah in Uttar Pradesh told PTI that the 10-month preparation program is so intense that he cannot visit home during breaks. “Even if there are breaks, there’s always the fear of falling behind. It’s like running on a treadmill and you can’t miss a single step. If you miss two days of classes, you’re two weeks behind and you can’t go back,” he said. Tiwari said he has not had time to visit his family since he came here in April.
Animesh Kumar, a 17-year-old from Bihar’s Motihari, who is preparing for a second attempt at the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), said it is a vicious cycle of struggling to keep pace with intense classes, blaming himself and succeeding. emphasize “Study stress is real. When a student doesn’t keep up with things and gets late for lectures, he starts blaming himself and his learning style and becomes stressed and depressed,” Kumar said. Currently, there are more than 2 thousand students enrolled in various coaching centers here.
More pressure on students
Afzal, another student, said he feels the added pressure of ensuring that his parents’ money is not wasted. “I thought I would be able to focus more on my preparation when I move here but it’s a different world. Now, not only do I have to manage everything on my own, but my parents have invested money and I keep thinking what if I can’t do it,” he said.
Concern: Suicide cases in Kota
At least 14 students studying in coaching centers here have committed suicide this year. Of the three students who committed suicide last week, NEET aspirant Ankush Anand (18) and JEE aspirant Ujjwal Kumar (17), both from Bihar, were found hanging from ceiling fans in the paying guest (PG) accommodation on December 12. , according to the police.
The third student, Pranav Verma (17), a NEET candidate from Madhya Pradesh, allegedly consumed a poisonous substance in his hostel on December 11. However, no student suicides were reported in 2021, when training centers here were closed as a result. The COVID-19 pandemic and students went to online classes from their homes.
The number of student suicides at the training center was 18 in 2019 and 20 in 2020. “Two students, though friends, are competitors and always in a race. The feeling that everyone is vying for the same seat often isolates students here and adds to the homesickness,” said a JEE aspirant who did not want to be named.
(with input from PTI)
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