In Rajasthans Kota, nine students preparing for the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and medical exams have committed suicide in the last five months.
On Sunday morning, that number went up to 10. An 18-year-old, who was preparing for the All-India Pre Medical Test, was found dead by her hostel warden.
Anjali Anand was unable to pass the exam last year and had moved to Kota for coaching. In a letter addressed to her parents, she said it was unlikely she would be able to pass the exam even in her second attempt.
Her parents who came from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh to collect their daughters body were distraught. Anjalis father Ashok Kumar blamed coaching institutes for not providing proper counseling to students.
To fulfill their dreams parents take loans, sell assets so we can do something for our children but when we lose our children like this then what can I say, all I can do is request coaching institutes to have proper psychiatric counselling, said Mr Kumar.
Despite the suicide rate, which has gone up by 60 per cent this year, the coaching centres are still to put into place a combined 24-hour helpline to counsel students.
In a meeting two months ago, coaching centers like Allen, Bansal and others had promised to get together and put in place a 24x7 helpline for stressed students, but that is yet to happen. The administration too has not moved forward in putting into place guidelines whereby coaching centers will have to provide psychiatric help 24x7.
The administration is planning to bring out a policy and frame guidelines where by coaching institutes will get together and provide a helpline and proper trained psychiatric and medical counselling, said Kota Superintendent of Police Sawai Singh.
In the meantime, clearly the pressure is something students are finding it difficult to cope with. In the IIT exam last year, of the 14 lakh candidates who appeared for the exam only about 10,000 made it. The medical exam is equally tough, more than five lakh candidates appear for it, only about 46,000 actually make it.
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