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Kota Lessons

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On June 1, one more suicide took place in Kota, sixth this year. While the issue of coaching menace and suicides in Kota for the past two months have entered prime time TV debates and received lot of press, it is ironical that just a day after JEE Advanced results were announced, ‘the most successful’ coaching institute advertised full pages in national dailies. It reinforced the notion that studying in Kota can’t be ignored by IIT or NEET aspirants. So like a flip classroom white board, the old debate around suicides got buried under the success that Kota got. So, should the Kota be allowed to maintain its not so proud tag of best coaching destination in India?
Not few months ago, Dr. Ravi Kumar Surpur, IAS, the District Collector of Kota wrote an open letter to all parents of young children in India. The letter is widely available on various news websites. He writes, “I consider myself a very unfortunate person because I got a chance to read around 20-25 Suicide Notes of young, brilliant, beautiful and wonderful children. A girl with an amazing command over English language in her suicide note (grammatically perfect 5-page Suicide Note with beautiful running handwriting) thanks her mother for giving up her career for raising the children… Another girl wants her grandmother to become her mother in her next birth….Another requests her parents to allow her younger sister to do what she likes and not what they like…. One tells candidly that he was manipulated to study Science which was not his taste…. Many simply write in fewer lines that they could not fulfill the expectations of their parents…. Rather few say they were not really capable of doing what is being asked of them….All of them thought that Death was a much peaceful and effortless action than going through this dilemma of artificially doing what parents want them to do….”
Can this be forgotten so easily by the parents, the government and our education ecosystem? Every year for many years now, it is the same story and peaks around this time. A few things have been tried like giving weightage to board exam, but that didn’t have any impact on the coaching business, which is always a step ahead and takes care of all that comes. Some guidelines, counseling and things here and there have been proposed or even ordered. But, will that suffice?
Our schools need professional counselors both for emotional needs as well as careers. Our education system needs to devise filter brilliant students much before XII class may be in between class VI-VIII. We need good science teachers everywhere. Maths education needs to be infused with best classroom practices to kill its phobia. In nutshell, there is scope for lots of systemic reforms to let everyone bloom including Kota.

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