“I didn’t secure good marks in JEE Mains. Will I ever be successful in life?”
“My parents are not talking to me because I couldn’t qualify JEE Mains. How will they show their face to their friends?”
“I studied for only nine hours a day while my friends studied for much much longer."
These are some of the actual questions which the student helplines have received post the declaration of JEE Mains Result every year.
Qualifying the two-tiered JEE exam in addition to securing a good percentile in the Class 12 examination is no mean feat. Nevertheless, this is what 17-year-olds in India are required to do in order to get into IITs.
Richa Singh, an IIT Guwahati alumna, states that the IIT exam is associated with pride and honour and people making it to the IITs are considered successful in life.
She further shares her experience at Kota wherein aspirants face extreme competition to get into the IITs or top medical colleges and work really hard from early morning until night adding that life has no other meaning except study.
Singh is now the founder of an initiative YourDost which helps students and aspirants in overcoming depression.
The intense competition and fight to join the IITs claims a number of lives every year – with 5 student suicide cases this year alone – it becomes noteworthy that the ‘so-called’ premier institutes rank poorly in the list of World’s Best Universities.
It All Begins with Kota
Aspirants appear for an entrance test to secure admission in the Top coaching Institutes in Kota. Securing a seat in these coaching institutes is often equivalent to reserving a seat in the IITs.
Sources reveal that more than 30,000 candidates from across the nation compete for merely 800 seats at Bansal’s IIT classes.
Singh added that many parents consider it a matter of pride that their children are taking coaching from Kota.
Nonetheless, Kota has been hitting headlines for something else entirely of late. In the year 2016 alone, 5 aspirants from Kota have committed suicide.
Year after year, over one lakh candidates relocate to Kota to make it to the Top-notch engineering institutes across the country.
In the study environment offered by the Kota coaching institutes, aspirants study for up to 18 hours a day, encompassed by Intense competition with rigorous mock tests, classes and never ending assignments, away from the security of home.
However, backing out is not a viable option since the coaching classes charge humongous fees between Rs. 2 to 3 lakh. Further, the idea of backing out midway and the guilt of not being able to perform well creates a panic situation for the aspirants.
Singh adds that the aspirants land in a really tough situation since they are subject to the pressure of performing well, have to cope up with the gruelling coaching schedule and live up to the expectations of their parents.
In this highly competitive environment, aspirants have to strike a balance between the JEE Mains preparation and Class 12 Board exams.
The aspirants are subject to the pressure of qualifying the JEE Mains exam and also have to secure a good percentile in the Class 12 Board.
Coaching Centres Entering Panic Mode?
This year, Bansal classes highlighted the name of one of its student claiming that the student would Top the Maths section in the JEE Mains 2016.
AK Tiwari, Administrative Head of Bansal Classes, Kota was stated as saying that this was a small step towards instilling positivity amongst the students and reaffirming their faith in coaching institutes.
Nevertheless, flaunting probable toppers prior to the declaration of the JEE Mains results further builds up extreme pressure on the aspirants.
On being questioned about the reason why aspirants resort to suicide, most of the coaching centres refused to comment on the issue and some stated that they organize training programs at the beginning for the aspirants to guide them on how to deal with stress.
Richa added that the institutes were aware that the culture of aspirants committing suicide has penetrated owing to their existence and they should provide better environment to aspirants.
What Can be Done?
As per the report of the MHRD, the coaching institutes are running a massive Rs. 24,000 crore industry in India.
The ministry is now seriously contemplating on ways to reduce the dependency of aspirants on the coaching institutes by bringing about reforms in the current testing pattern which could be disclosed by the end of 2016.
Most candidates come from environments where they are made to believe that qualifying the JEE and making it to an IIT is the biggest achievement of life.
This perception is not being limited to the aspirants, even the families and the society advocate it.
Singh adds that the reason for such a perception is that candidates are unaware of other career options.
Singh added that a lot of people want to pursue something else but are never motivated. She added that the chances of failure are high when the candidates are made to pursue something that they don’t like.
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