The Reality Of JEE And NEET: In 2023, 25 Students Died Of Suicide In Kota Alone!

Competitive exams and coaching classes dump excruciating stress on young shoulders. Over a million adolescents have diabetes and 1 in every 4 teenagers suffer from depression.

It was just another civil workshop in my first year of engineering where we were given an overview of how metals are tested before making any construction.

The lab assistant placed a sample metal piece in the universal testing machine. Slowly, the metal was made to undergo tensile stress. After reaching a particular point, the metal piece broke into two. We diligently noted down the stress at this point. Next, the assistant brought a fresh sample and made it undergo compressive stress and repeated the same for shear stress.

This got me thinking. I analogized students as the sample metal piece and the education system and the society in place of the universal testing machine.

Maybe that’s what the system is trying to do – break the students

It is exposing students to different kinds and intensities of stress and pressure to find out how much they can take in, in the future.

What beats me is that, in industries the test is conducted on a ‘sample’ piece. Once that piece is broken, it is discarded and a different metal piece of the same composition is used.

This however doesn’t apply to students. When students are exposed to different kinds of stress, it is the original piece at test. And each time the student is used for the next stress test, it is the broken sample, that is tried to be broken in a different way!

Now, is this testing method feasible?

Do we expect these broken kids to mend themselves?

For instance, a rather cliché one I would say, is that of JEE and NEET examinations. These entrance exams claim to be one of the toughest in the world. It was originally designed to give admission to the brightest budding minds of the country. Students from these colleges were considered the crème de la crème of students. However, this exam now tests ‘who studies the most’ as opposed to ‘who is best suited’.

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There is no doubt that the students who get in, work extremely hard to do so. But at what cost? Is it truly their intelligence that is being tested? For it is said that, “If you hit a dead donkey hundred times, it is bound to get up.”

See, there is no harm in studying hard, it surely adds to one’s knowledge. The problem arises when this ‘studying’ process takes a hit on physical and mental health. What people fail to understand is that, studying is the best part about 11th and 12th standard, it is the underlying culprits are stress, the burden of the exam ‘being the be all and end all’ of life, the nosy peers who believe they are making conversation by being intrusive, yada-yada-yada

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ Being dull is fine, it gets problematic when Jack turns out to be an ‘unhealthy’ boy. Obesity, diabetes, PCOD along with mental health issues like disquietude and depression come as a reward for the innumerable hours of hard work that they put in irrespective of whether they clear the exam or not. Here, sarcasm is intended.

Some may claim that it’s just two years but health once gone doesn’t come back.

Coaching institutes are just churning out study machines, not bright futures

So, in order to prepare students for stress in the future, they are exposed to it ere it is due. Won’t this burn them out before they actually have to schlep bigger responsibilities.

Coaching institutes which are meant to coach students are business companies trying to suck in as much money as possible. They are sheep in wolf’s clothing. These companies have schemes for enrolling 8th standard for a foundation course to crack the exam. As if that wasn’t enough, they have come up with coaching for 5th and 6th standard students. At the tender age of 10 and 11 where ideally you should be honing extra-curricular skills along with making your basics strong, you are burdened with the far-fetched dream of getting into a premium institute.

Moreover, as these schemes are supposedly ‘futuristic’, here’s a bone to chew. Which employer in their right mind will consider a candidate who has only bookish knowledge and no other skill whatsoever?

If these stats don’t scream help, what does?

Majority of the science students look back at the coaching years as the most punitive times of their lives. The two years leaves a debilitating effect. They develop an aversion to studies, to stress or anything that involves pressure. On not achieving their goal by securing the seats in the esteemed institutes, as is the case with more than 90% of the applicants, they start questioning their own abilities. Thus, leaving behind an entrenched under-confidence.

Like one of my peers rightly put it – ‘10th sapne dekhata hai aur 12th aukaat’ (10th shows you a mirage, 12th shows you your reality)

Over a million adolescents have diabetes and 1 in every 4 teenagers suffer from depression. According to reports student suicides accounted for 7.6% of all suicide deaths in 2022. In 2023, 25 students have died of suicide in Kota alone. If these stats don’t scream for help, what does?

On concluding note, one must study because one likes to, not because there is a dagger (of getting into IIT or medical) hanging over their head. Not getting into the best college won’t make one end up behind the 8 ball but taking one’s health and peace for granted surely will.

And to the peers who love intervening, just say, ‘Don’t ask me about my business, Kay’ and emancipate yourselves from the shackles of societal expectations.

Image source: by doidam10 Free for Canva Pro

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About the Author

Khushi Sanath

I'm a 3rd year electronics and communication engineering student at MIT Manipal. read more...

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