Dinesh Sharma, who did PhD on students’ suicides, has Three Recommendations to Control Students’ Suicides in Kota!!
Kota, a small town in Rajasthan, is well known for the large number of coaching centres for engineering, medical and other entrance tests. Over 2.5 lakh students move to Kota annually to prepare for competitive exams such as the JEE for engineering and the NEET for admission to medical colleges.
Recently, Dinesh finished his PhD and has also submitted his thesis to the district administration, which is experimenting with several measures to battle student suicides. Twenty-three students in Kota have ended their lives this year so far. 15 students’ cases were registered in the last year. He said that “I reached out to coaching institutes and picked up 10 variables to conduct my study. The variables included age, gender, type of family, type of residence, family history of depression or suicide and monthly family income.”
Recommendations on Students’ Suicides:
Sharma said that he has made three crucial recommendations in his thesis to control the tragic incidents. While two of them have not been tried before, the third one is being encouraged by the district administration too.
1. His first recommendation is that there should be no ranking system in initial months of coaching and exams conducted by the institutes. He said that there is a long way to reach there and students can be mentally prepared slowly. “Rather than awarding ranks, they can be awarded grades depending upon their marks. During my research I found that majority suicides happened on the day the result of the fortnightly exam was announced”, he said.
2. Sharma second recommendation is that the coaching institutes should charge fees on quarterly basis and not for the entire course. "The institutes usually take complete fees in advance or two major installments. Two months later, if the student feels that he does not want to continue he cannot withdraw because of parents’ economic burden. If fees are collected quarterly at least from the next quarter the student can drop out and will not continue to struggle.
3. Sharma's third recommendation is about not to separate students in different batches according to their scores. "The practice of dividing students into these batches and giving an obvious push to the 'elite' batches such as Star or Enthusiast is a demotivating factor for other students and often gives them a feeling of defeat. In an exam where every two marks deducted makes a students' rank slip by several hundred positions, giving this kind of mental conditioning to students is not a good idea.”, he said.
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