Coaching centres in Kota asked to halt routine tests as suicide cases rise
According to authorities, 22 students preparing for competitive exams in the district have ended their lives so far in 2023 -- the highest for any year. Last year, the figure was 15
Authorities in Rajasthan's Kota district have asked coaching institutes to stop conducting routine tests of students preparing for NEET and other competitive exams for the next two months in the wake of suicides by a number of aspirants.
Over two lakh students move to Kota annually to prepare for competitive exams such as the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for engineering and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges.
According to authorities, 22 students preparing for competitive exams in the district have ended their lives so far in 2023 -- the highest for any year. Last year, the figure was 15.
Two students ended their lives on Sunday, in a span of four hours.
Avishkar Shambaji Kasle (17) jumped off the sixth floor of his coaching institute's building in Jawahar Nagar at around 3.15 pm, minutes after walking out of a room after taking a mock NEET test, police said.
Adarsh Raj (18), who was also preparing for the competitive exam, hanged himself in his rented flat in the Kunhadi police station area at around 7 pm, they said.
The reason behind the two latest suicides is that the aspirants were apparently under pressure for scoring low marks during routine tests conducted by the coaching centres.
Kota district collector O P Bunkar, in an order issued Sunday night, asked the coaching institutes to stop holding routine tests for the next two months.
He said the directions were passed to provide "mental support" to students.
Meanwhile after spring-loaded fans in rooms, "anti-suicide nets" are now being installed in balconies and lobbies of hostels in coaching hub Kota to prevent students from taking any extreme step.
Hostel owners said such steps to make their premises "suicide proof" are crucial to avoid tragic incidents.
Asked about whether such measures in hostels and PG accommodations can help address the larger issue - stress in students, Deputy Commissioner O P Bunkar told PTI, "We are taking several measures, right from routine psychological tests of children to effective communication with parents." "However, measures like spring-loaded fans can be helpful in foiling any attempt being made in the heat of the moment by a student. Once that attempt is unsuccessful, students can be counselled and other measures can be implemented too," he said.
The "anti-suicide measure" of installing spring coils in fans was discussed on August 12 at a meeting between Kota officials and other stakeholders. Later, Bunkar had issued the directions, demanding strict compliance.
This is how the device works: If an object weighing more than 20 kg is hung from the fan, the spring attached to it expands, making it impossible for someone to commit suicide by this method. Simultaneously, a siren goes off.
Back in 2017, the Kota Hostels Association had discussed the measure.