Kota: Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India, Nirmala Sitharaman visited India’s premier coaching hub of Kota and interacted with students at Yuva Shakti Samvad.
One statement from Sitharaman which stood out was the fact that she urged students not to study on Sundays.
“Do not study on Sundays,” said Sitharaman, which elicited laughs from the JEE and NEET hopefuls.
‘Do well, you are going to be the leaders later.’
— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) January 8, 2023
Can competitive exam aspirants in Kota take Sitharaman’s advice?
While the Minister’s comment symbolises a growing culture of easing pressure on students, the ones who have been or are going through the process of pursuing engineering and medicine don’t see it being applicable in the real world.
Kota’s notoriety for student suicides each year, with three of them dying in two separate incidents, sent shockwaves across a city that thrives on competition not only among students but coaching classes. Such a scenario doesn’t reflect Sitharaman’s thinking according to Kota’s student residents.
“Weekends are meant for daily problem practice (DPP) in Kota. Since you have classes for long hours in Kota during the weekdays, you usually do DPP during the weekend. If you are not able to do it by then, it adds up week on week,” stated Harshit Singh, a JEE Advanced aspirant who added that there’s no scope of a ‘break’ in the Kota or entrance exam lifestyle.
JEE, NEET, ICAI toppers react to Sitharaman’s comment
Toppers across JEE, ICAI, NEET, etc, who studied day and night to get the coveted positions of being number one in the country, believe Sithraman’s statement is something they can’t or will not resonate within the near future.
“I do not agree with this (Sitharaman’s comment). The truth is I would’ve never cracked the ICAI exams if I took the liberty of a day off each week. I had to dedicate 13-14 hours each day to get through my exams, there’s no other option,” stated Harsh Choudhary, ICAI CA Finals AIR 1.
India’s engineering and medical candidates who comprise the majority of the Kota population believe resting up on Sundays was and are impossible as it’s contradictory to their goals.
“I can’t imagine taking Sundays off while studying for JEE. I used to wake up at 4 am, exercise, eat and study by myself for a while. By 8 am I headed toward my coaching classes where I spent the next twelve hours. On Sundays we either had a practice test or an off, that’s when I got much more time to study by myself,” stated Sneha Pareek, Assam topper who secured AIR 2 in JEE Mains examination and is studying at IIT Delhi, who added that when preparing for a national entrance test, offs are taken when a student is exhausted.
“Sundays were reserved to go through everything that was taught to me throughout the week. I cannot remember resting for a single day in 12th grade. Whenever things get overwhelming, I would talk to my parents, and mentors, or have some laughs with my school friends. But never a break,” stated Tanishka Yadav, NEET UG 2022 topper who is currently enrolled at AIIMS Delhi.
Follow a daily schedule, say teachers
With the onus being on teachers to prepare and help students in their journey, their opinions on Sundays are a mixed bag of sorts.
“You should study on Sunday but not for the entire day. You can plan a timetable, wherein most of your schedule is covered up between Monday to Saturday with a focus on anything that was missed being pushed to Sundays,” said Sunanda Nair, a Science and English teacher at a Dombivli school.
Sithraman’s visit to Kota allowed her to have a question-and-answer session with young minds on ease of doing business, India’s growth, and much more.
“It is so invigorating. I am so touched by the presence of such young brains. It does give a lot of motivation when you have such energy. It is that energy that keeps India going forward,” she said during the event while wishing the students on their upcoming entrance tests.