“Bizarre Order in Response to Kota Suicides: Installation of Spring-Loaded Fans for Student Welfare”

By | August 18, 2023

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The district administration in Kota, Rajasthan, has mandated the installation of spring-loaded fans in hostel rooms and paying guest accommodations to prevent suicides. The order also reminds coaching institutes and accommodations about previous measures aimed at student welfare. Non-compliance will result in seizure of accommodations and institutions. Kota has seen a rise in suicide cases, with academic, physical, and psychological stressors identified as major contributing factors. The Rajasthan High Court is seeking solutions for student mental health and considering a bill specifically tailored for coaching institutes. India Today News Desk reported

In response to a series of suicides in Kota, a coaching hub in Rajasthan, the local authorities have issued a peculiar directive, which mandates the installation of spring-loaded fans in all hostel rooms and paying guest accommodations. The objective of this order, issued by Kota district collector Om Prakash Bunkar, is to provide mental support and ensure the safety of students studying and residing in these facilities, with the ultimate aim of preventing suicides among coaching students.

Additionally, the order serves as a reminder to coaching institute owners, hostel operators, and paying guest providers about a previous directive issued in December 2022. This earlier directive encompassed various measures designed to enhance student welfare, such as granting students a weekly day off, limiting class sizes to a maximum of 80 students, and making psychological evaluations compulsory for both students and teachers.

The notice explicitly warns that failure to comply with these measures will result in the seizure of accommodations and institutions, with appropriate action taken against the owners.

This order comes in the wake of the recent suicide of an 18-year-old student who was preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Tragically, this incident marks the fourth suicide in Kota this month, making it the highest number of suicides in the past eight years, totaling 22 cases.

Kota, known as the nerve center of India’s competitive test-preparation industry, attracts approximately 225,000 students who are preparing for entrance exams, including those for top engineering and medical schools. However, this year has witnessed a distressing surge in suicide cases, primarily among students preparing for the JEE or National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exams.

The causes behind these unfortunate incidents are multifaceted, involving academic, physical, and psychological stressors. The intense pressure of studies, fear of failure, and the cutthroat competition prevalent in the coaching industry have been identified as major contributing factors. A survey conducted by mental wellness startup Lissun revealed that 40% of students in Kota are grappling with depression.

In response to the alarming rise in suicide cases, the Rajasthan High Court has taken steps to address the mental health crisis among students. The court has requested recommendations on preventing student suicides in coaching institutes across the state, particularly in Kota. It has emphasized the importance of focusing on psychological counseling for children and is considering the introduction of the Rajasthan Coaching Institute (Control and Regulation) Bill 2023, which specifically targets coaching institutes.

Overall, the situation in Kota demands urgent attention and effective measures to address the mental health challenges faced by students..