Rajasthan government is about to enact a law establishing a regulatory body to monitor private educational institutions including coaching centers, ensure they open advisory cells, end the “glorification” of top performers and dealing with the kind of stress that may have led to three students recently committing suicide.
The bill proposes aptitude tests for students before they go to a guidance center for competitions, and a helpline if they find they can’t handle the stress.
“The Rajasthan Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Bill – 2022”, which has been in the works since 2020, is likely to be introduced at the next session of the state assembly.
It covers schools, colleges and centers, such as in coaching center Kota, that prepare students for competitive exams. Recently, three students studying at a Kota center committed suicide, reportedly because they could not cope with the study pressure there.
Read | Vedic Mathematics, Mahabharat and Kautilya: Teachers are educated about India’s rich past under new standards
The draft bill also aims to regulate tuition fees, annual fee increases, costs of study materials and other charges levied by private institutions, including tuition centers.
The authority, led by a prominent academic as chairman, will also make provisions to determine study hours, days off and time between tests to prevent student stress.
The bill proposes tough penalties – up to Rs 5 crore for repeat offenders.
The draft law mentions the establishment of a career guidance cell to inform students about job opportunities.
The regulator will also take measures to discourage ‘fake advertising’ and ‘glorification of top performers’ to prevent other students from developing a sense of ‘inferiority’, the draft says.
It will also address false claims made by coaching centers about their students succeeding in competitive exams.
“In order to guarantee both the mental and physical well-being of students in educational institutions, the Board sets rules for regular supervision, recreation and safety of students. It will mandate the establishment of a counseling and mentoring cell in each institute,” it says.
Specific directions are issued to ensure the safety of girl students. There will also be facilities for otherwise disabled students, teachers and non-teaching staff in private educational institutions, it said.
The draft says there will be a mandatory aptitude test for students before joining a coaching center – and the findings will be shared with their parents.
The Authority orders the establishment of a 24×7 helpline for students and parents.
Private institutions would pay a maximum fine of Rs 1 crore if they violate the provisions of the proposed law. The fine can be up to Rs 5 crore for a repeated violation.
The bill envisages mandatory registration of all coaching institutes with the government and annual auditing of their accounts.
Last month, the state government issued guidelines to provide mental support and safety to students studying at coaching institutes.
The guidelines suggested telling students about career options if they fail entrance exams for IITs and medical institutes. They also had provisions for refunds in case a student leaves an institution, an official said at the time.
The guidelines also suggested an online portal to submit complaints. More than two lakh students from across the country are taking tuition in Kota to attend medical and engineering colleges, stay in about 3,500 hostels, and as paying guests elsewhere in the city.
Three of them are said to have committed suicide about a week ago.
Ankush Anand (18), a NEET aspirant and resident of Supaul district in Bihar, and Ujjwal Kumar (17), a JEE aspirant from Gaya district, were found hanging from the ceiling fans in their rooms in the same house on Monday morning .
The third victim, Pranav Verma (17), a NEET aspirant from Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh, was alleged to have used a toxic substance in his hostel late Sunday night, police said.
The initial inquiry revealed that Anand and Kumar were experiencing study delays in their coaching centre.
Read all the latest education news here