Concerned over student suicides taking place in the country, the HRD ministry has written to the states asking them to regulate private coaching institutions.
According to officials, the issue of regulating these institutes was raised in the Parliament and the Ashok Misra committee report that was set up by the HRD ministry in 2015 and had given a number of suggestions including setting up a regulatory body.
In a letter written by the HRD ministry to all the chief secretaries of states the ministry has pointed out that most of these coaching institutions are not recognised under any regulation, charge exorbitant fees and place undue stress on the students at the cost of extracurricular activities.
The HRD ministry, in its letter with 12 points, has asked state governments to issue regulations and strict penalties on the errant institutes.
“Considering that regulation of +2 (secondary and higher secondary) level education is the responsibility of the State Government, it is felt that these institutions are best regulated by the state governments,” reads the letter.
It further states that to address the issue of student suicides, the Justice Roopanwal Commission of Enquiry has suggested a set of 12 measures for implementation in the educational institutions, which can be kept in view while framing the policy by the state governments. The ministry has asked the states to provide an action taken report.
Some of the measures that have been suggested for these coaching institutes include evolving a mechanism where the students can appeal in case there is any excess by the institute, setting up counselling centres consisting of professionally trained counsellors, establishing a local guardian system for outstation students as far as possible, effective administration and supervision of hostels. It has also asked them to put in place a grievance redressal committee and a strong induction programme for better acclimatisation.
The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) in its 2014 report said at least 45 students committed suicide in Kota due to fear of failure in exams. Last year, 17 students committed suicide in Kota.
To check student suicides in Rajasthan’s Kota -- known as the capital of competitive exam coaching in the country, a hostel association in the city proposed installing springs in ceiling fans or replacing them with wall fans in hostel rooms. Student suicides have remained a major issue in Kota and a majority of the victims have ended their lives by hanging themselves from the ceiling fan in their rooms.
“Regulation is welcome step if it is to protect the interest of the students and institutes but before drafting any regulation it all stakeholders should be consulted including students, parents and the institutes, However, coaching institutions are being wrongly targeted as suicides are happening for various reasons. So it is wrong to blame coaching institutes for this. Parents should counsel and not put pressure on their children. Coaching institutes are not criminals. As far as suicides are concerned regulation won’t help,” director of Career Point Pramod Maheshhwari told HT.
The report by Ashok Misra committee, which was submitted to the HRD ministry in 2015 November estimated the revenues of the coaching industry at Rs 24,000 crore per year and proposed setting up a regulatory mechanism.