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Rajasthan: Bill to regulate private education institutes likely to be tabled during state’s winter session | Latest News India

Jaipur: The government of Rajasthan is likely to introduce a bill during the winter session of the state assembly to regulate private educational institutions – from schools to universities to exam preparation specialists – and ease academic pressure on students, especially those who are enrolled in private coaching centers or online tutoring.

The winter session will probably take place in January 2023.

The government’s decision to introduce the Rajasthan Private Educational Regulatory Authority Bill 2022 comes against the backdrop of three students from a private test prep institute in Kota who recently died by suicide, reportedly due to academic pressure.

“To regulate private education providers, the bill proposes to create a regulatory body that will prescribe standards for education in private institutions, regulate the fee structure and also impose fines for non-compliance with authority orders,” said a senior government official, ask not to be named.

A senior higher education department official said the bill will be introduced soon and is under consideration.

The bill, drafted by a five-member committee of academics, sociologists and psychologists and introduced in August, aims to ban private institutions from glorifying top performers, requires an aptitude test for admission and makes registration mandatory for all of these institutions, even if they only offer online courses.

Kota is the center of India’s test prep business, which is estimated to be worth it 5,000 crore per annum according to an education department official. Students from all over the country arrive here in large numbers after their Class X and enroll in residential test prep institutions. They also enroll in schools, most of which are largely for certification. Students only take classes in the exam preparation institutes, which prepare them for their Class XII exam, but more importantly, entrance exams such as JEE and NEET. Some students find the grind stressful, especially since they are away from their families. At least 19 students in the city committed suicide in 2018. The count was significantly higher than 7 in 2017 and 17 in 2016. This year, 14 have already committed suicide. No data is available for 2020 and 2021 as students have been sent home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The law in the making is an answer to that. HT has seen a copy of the bill.

States such as Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka already have regulations for private educational institutions. The Himachal authority has the power to regulate the fee structure and seek annual audit reports. The Karnataka authority also regulates the fee structure and admission to higher education institutions.

The Union government also has higher education regulators such as the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

The Rajasthan government bill proposes an aptitude test and regular sessions with psychologists for students to combat mental stress – a concern that has gained notoriety in recent days in the wake of the suicides in Kota.

The three students – two from Bihar and one from Madhya Pradesh – from a private coaching institute in Kota were found dead in two different places. Police investigations revealed that mental stress was the reason behind the extreme move.

“To address the serious problem of high stress levels among students, the authority will make extensive provisions to alleviate stress levels… It will make compulsory aptitude test for students before joining. The findings of such tests will then be shared with their parents to keep them informed of the suitability of their ward and regular sessions will be held with psychologists, including for parents and students,” the bill said.

The bill also states that private guidance institutes must have a career guidance cell to guide and prepare the students. It also calls for mandatory counseling sessions for students to de-stress and prevent suicide, and for the installation of a 24×7 helpline for both students and parents.

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The authority will also develop a framework to monitor the fees charged by coaching institutions and require the institutions to disclose details of the fee structure to prevent fraudulent practices.

“The authority will take steps to curb malpractice of fake advertising, false claims (number of students selected for a particular exam, name of faculty and others) from coaching centers,” the draft said.

After the results of competitive exams such as JEE and NEET are known, most coaching centers embark on an advertising blitz, listing their shortlisted candidates. Most top performers appear on all ads, perhaps because they’ve signed up for course materials or online tests from all schools, or because of commercial arrangements.

The bill also provides an easy exit policy, in case a student wants to drop out of the course midway through, with a refund, and suggests imposing a penalty, including cancellation of the institute’s enrollment, if they fail to refund the money.

The bill also makes auditing of accounts mandatory. In the event of a violation, the education provider may have to pay a fine of between 1 crore and 5 crores.

HT reached out to popular coaching institutions ALLEN and Career Point for comment on the bill, but they did not respond.

Jaipur-based sociologist Rajiv Gupta said such a law is needed amid growing competition and academic pressure.

“Now educational institutions treat students as customers and teachers as service providers. Not much attention is paid to individual needs of students and all the focus on studying alone leads to mental stress. Many students in Kota do not have any form of emotional interaction with other students or even parents, leading to stress and depression that can lead to developing suicidal tendencies,” he said.

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The authority needs to work closely with academics and psychologists and ensure it doesn’t become another bureaucratic body harassing coaching institutions, Gupta said. “The goal should be to relieve and guide students,” he said.



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