Rajasthan guidelines for coaching centres moot no admissions below class IX

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Display of advertisements by coaching institutes greets one at the entrance of the railway station in Kota.

Display of advertisements by coaching institutes greets one at the entrance of the railway station in Kota.
| Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Congress Government in Rajasthan has issued comprehensive guidelines for regulating coaching institutes, including those in Kota, with a recommendation that students below class IX may not be admitted to these centres. Confidentiality of test results and formation of batches alphabetically, instead of the students’ ranks, were among other suggestions.

The nine-page guidelines were issued after a high-powered committee headed by Principal Secretary (Higher & Technical Education) Bhawani Singh Detha submitted its report to the State Government. The committee was appointed last month to look into the issue of suicides by the students in the coaching hub of Kota.

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The highest-ever number of 23 students committing suicide have been reported so far in Kota this year, while 15 coaching students had killed themselves last year. In a tragic turn of events, two students ended their lives within a gap of a few hours on August 27.

The guidelines, framed in consultation with the coaching institutes and other stakeholders, lay down that there will be “no glorification” of toppers and no segregation of students based on their ranks, while a policy will be formulated for an easy exit from coaching centres and refund of fee within 120 days.

The 15-member committee was appointed after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held a dialogue with Kota’s coaching centre operators in Jaipur on August 18. Mr. Gehlot discussed the issues of the pressure of studies and providing psychological support to students, parents’ expectations, career counselling, drug consumption by students and the development of sports facilities near the coaching institutes.

Mr. Detha later visited Kota and met a cross-section of people in the city, besides observing the conditions at the coaching institutes. He held deliberations with the district administration officers as well as the representatives of coaching centres and hostel associations, after which the Collector, O.P. Bunkar, ordered the coaching institutes to halt routine tests for two months.

The guidelines also made recommendations to the institutes to ease mental pressure on the students, such as facial recognition to prevent faking attendance, mandatory weekly holidays, not holding exams on the day after a holiday and a code of conduct for faculty and hostels.

The Collectors of all districts were asked to sensitise the stakeholders in their respective areas and ensure that the guidelines were followed properly. A memorandum of understanding will be signed with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences for training of teachers, institute managers and others to assess the students’ behavioural changes and take preventive steps.

Over 2.5 lakh students join the coaching centres in Kota every year to prepare for competitive entrance examinations, such as JEE and NEET, for admissions to the prestigious engineering and medical colleges in the country.

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