The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent notices to the Rajasthan government, Union secretary of higher education, and the chairperson of the National Medical Commission over the alleged suicide by three students in Kota.
The NHRC, in a statement on Wednesday, said it has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that the students of a coaching centre allegedly committed suicide in two separate incidents within 12 hours.
The commission also observed that there is a need to 'regulate private coaching institutes'.
The students were preparing for competitive exams and the incident has put the spotlight back on the punishing pressure that teenagers experience at private institutes in the city for limited seats in pursuing technical and medical education, it said.
The Commission has observed that that the contents of the media report, if true, amount to a 'grave issue' of human rights.
Over the years, Kota has become a hub of private coaching centres for the aspirants of the National Entrance Eligibility Test (NEET).
'They are charging a very hefty amount. Students, from across the country, are staying in hostels/paying guest houses with a high expectation of success. This is putting them under a lot of pressure,' the statement said.
The Commission said it feels that there is a need to formulate a regulatory mechanism and since the regulation of higher education is of the state subject, the need for evolving mechanism shall fall upon the state, in consultation with the central government.
Accordingly, notices have been issued to the chief secretary, government of Rajasthan; secretary, higher Education, Union Ministry of Education, and the chairperson, National Medical Commission, and reports sought, it added.
The chief secretary is expected to submit a detailed report of the incident.
'It must also spell out the steps taken or proposed to be taken by the state about the regulatory mechanism to control the private coaching institutes in view of the large number of reported suicides of students,' the NHRC said in the statement.
In addition, it must also contain a formulation of a long-term plan to adequately address the issue of psychological and behavioural abnormality of the students undergoing coaching in different private institutes in Kota, by providing adequate counselling to them, including the parents, so that they should not feel lonely or under huge pressure of expectation of the family members and the friends, it added.
The secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, is expected to inform about the formulation of the National Action Plan of a proportional increase of the seats in technical education as well as medical education and also to evolve the mechanism to get rid of the rat race of getting admission in the private coaching centres to achieve success in competitive examination of JEE and NEET, the statement said.
The chairperson, National Medical Commission, is expected to inform about initiating some progressive and student-friendly mechanism to get success in NEET without being subjected to huge mental and psychological pressure, while undergoing coaching in private institutions, it said.
According to the media report, carried on December 13, two of the deceased were from Bihar and the third one was from Madhya Pradesh.
All three students were taking coaching for the NEET -- the exam for medical colleges, the statement said.