A committee has suggested conducting engaging activities for coaching institutions to relieve students from stress, uploading motivational videos on online platforms, and reducing the curriculum to alleviate pressure.
On Tuesday night, a 16-year-old student preparing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical programs in Kota, Rajasthan, died by suicide, bringing the number of such cases in the coaching hub to 24 this year.
According to police records, this is the highest number since 2015, with seven cases reported last month.
A police officer familiar with the case said, “The adolescent was originally from Ranchi, Jharkhand, who came to Kota for medical exam preparation in May and was staying in a hostel in the Science City area with another girl.”
“Last night, when his roommate went out to talk to someone on the phone, he locked himself in the room. Later, when his roommate called other people and the hostel warden after getting no response despite repeated knocking,” the police said.
Afterward, the warden and other girls in the hostel broke down the door and found him hanging from the fan in his room. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was declared dead.
The officer said, “No suicide note was found, and there was no change in behavior according to preliminary reports after talking to his roommates and parents.”
“He has been sent to the district medical college hospital for a post-mortem, and his parents have also been informed.”
According to district officials, Kota is a center for India’s test preparation industry, with an annual turnover of ₹10,000 crore (approximately $1.3 billion). After completing their 10th grade, students from all over the country come here in large numbers and enroll in residential institutions. They also attend schools, many of which are primarily for certification purposes.
Students only participate in classes at these institutions, which prepare them for exams like NEET and JEE (Joint Entrance Examination). Some students find this work stressful, especially because they are away from their families.
In another incident on August 27, two other NEET students from Bihar died by suicide within six hours of taking their weekly exams at a coaching institute.
On August 15, an 18-year-old student from Bihar, who was preparing for engineering entrance exams, allegedly died by suicide in his paying guest (PG) accommodation in Mahaveer Nagar.
On August 11, a 17-year-old NEET aspirant from Bihar was found dead by suicide in a hostel in Mahaveer Nagar. On August 4, another 17-year-old engineering aspirant from Bihar died by suicide in Mahaveer Nagar. A day earlier, on August 3, a NEET aspirant from Uttar Pradesh died by suicide in Science City.
According to police figures, in Kota, there were 15 cases in 2022, 18 in 2019, 20 in 2018, seven in 2017, 17 in 2016, and 18 in 2015. No suicides were reported in 2020 and 2021.
Taking note of the increasing incidents, the Kota district administration issued an order on August 27 to suspend all exams at coaching centers for the next two months.
On August 18, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed concern over the rising incidents of suicides among students preparing for competitive exams in Kota and directed officials to form a committee with all stakeholders, including coaching institutions, to suggest measures to monitor such cases.
“In such (suicide) cases, there should be no more increase… the time for improvement has come. We cannot watch young students commit suicide… it is unfortunate for even one child, and it is a significant loss for the parents,” Gehlot said.
The committee suggested conducting engaging activities for coaching institutions to relieve students from stress, uploading motivational videos on online platforms, and reducing the curriculum to alleviate pressure.
A three-member team of psychiatrists appointed by the government also visited Kota for a mental health assessment of students. The team submitted its report to the Chief Minister on September 3.
On August 17, the state police department ordered the installation of spring-loaded fans in all rooms “to provide mental support and security to students” in all hostels and PG accommodations.