Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Ex-Kota IITian recalls the pain - TNN
Anahita Mukherji | TNN | Jan 3, 2016, 00:00 IST
Dhruv Arora recently revisited Kota, the dusty town where he had spent two of the most painful years of his life a decade ago, preparing for IIT.
Arora, an alumnus of IIT-Bombay, feels Kota has become progressively worse, with coaching factories growing in size - what was once a three-storey building with 5,000 students has turned into a 10-storey building with 30,000 students.
Back in his student days at Kota, he, too, would ask himself if the life he lived there was "normal." Even though the town drew a diverse mix of students from across India, there was virtually no cultural exchange between them. There were no entertainment options or extra-curricular activities either.
"It was so competitive that if you missed a class and asked fellow students what the class was about, they'd dismiss it as unimportant and not tell you the content of the lecture," says Arora, adding that there was less competition on the IIT-Bombay campus than there was in Kota.
If IITIANS are so smart, shouldn't they develop a smarter way of selection?
One that is more holistic, not dependent on the performance of the person in those few hours of his life but overall, and one that Kota like factories cannot build empires on?
He says he was lucky because his family in Mumbai did not pressure him to make it to IIT. "My parents are liberal and well-travelled. They constantly reminded me that it was only an entrance exam," says Arora. In fact, he says that had he not made it, there were many other things he could have done in life. He would certainly not have stayed back in Kota and repeated the JEE attempt. "When I was studying in Kota, nearly 30-40% of students there were repeat candidates," says Arora.
He points to the immense family pressure many face to get into the IITs. "This is especially true for boys and girls from smaller towns, who have seen the extent to which an IIT degree can change the course of a person's life. When an older sibling has made it to IIT, they want the younger sibling to make it there, too," he says.
He doesn't blame Kota alone for student suicides. He blames the general environment in India, where a few institutions are put on a pedestal.