52 suicides in Kota in 4 years, Rajasthan plans law to address problem.

JAIPUR: Kota police recorded 52 suicides by students, including 27 enrolled with different coaching centres, between January 2019 to December 2022. The maximum number of suicides in coaching centres, at 15, was in 2022.
In response to a query in the state assembly by Pana Chand Meghwal MLA, seeking details of the number of suicides by students and their causes in the Kota division, the Rajasthan government responded in a written reply that 53 incidents were recorded in the four-year period, including 52 in Kota and 1 in Baran.
These include 16 suicides by college students and 10 by school students, the rest being students from coaching centres.
The report lists four reasons behind suicides by coaching institute students – lack of self-confidence due to poor performance in tests at coaching centres, pressure of parental expectations, physical and mental stress (overall situation) and, lastly, financial constraints, blackmail, and love affairs.
The government compiled the report based on information submitted by the local administration and the police. “In most cases, students don’t leave behind any suicide notes, forcing us to carry an intense investigation to determine the reasons behind the cases. The reasons have been finalised after assessing several suicides from the past many years,” a police officer based in Kota said.
Year 2022 was among the worst with 15 suicide cases (in coaching institutes), over 65% of them from October to December. The highest number of students who died by suicide were from Bihar at 4, followed by those from Chhattisgarh at 3.
“If the report is to be believed then the biggest contributor is low confidence due to poor marks in tests by coaching institutes. It is often seen that tests are taken on a weekly basis, which hits hard the average and below-average students. If the tests cannot be done away with, they should be followed by a counselling session for students. Also, parents or guardians should be kept informed about the results,” Puneet Sharma, an expert on education who has worked on programmes in de-stressing students, said.
In 2018, the state government came out with detailed guidelines for Kota coaching institutes, which doesn’t seem to have had an impact on the quantum of suicides though.
In a bid to counter the menace, the government is set to table a new law, The Rajasthan Coaching Institutes (Control and Regulation) Bill, to address the problems and issues leading to stress and suicides, in the current assembly session.
The bill proposes a mandatory aptitude test at the beginning of admissions into coaching institutes, with the results to be shared with parents and guardians. This will sift out students who have no aptitude for engineering or medicine courses from taking admission into coaching institutes, it is believed.