Hyderabad: For years, Sri Chaitanya and Narayana educational institutes (together popularly referred to as ChaiNa) have been “coming together to advertise” to showcase ‘shared toppers’.
For a change, about 100 former students from both these institutes have joined to give back to the two institutions a taste of their own medicine. They have come together to seek a ‘ban on these institutes’, after starting an online petition against them, calling them ‘breeding ground for student deaths’.
The online petition is jointly addressed to President of India Ram Nath Kovind, Governors of the two Telugu states, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, education minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, Chief Justice of the High Court, and secretaries of intermediate boa-rds of both states, among others. In their representation, the former ChaiNa students said, “students have to go through mental trauma and psychological unrest that pushes them towards suicides.”
The online petition all-eges that recommendations made by the M. Neer-ada Committee in the integrated Andhra Pradesh over student deaths still remains unimplemented even after nearly two decades.
The committee, in describing conditions of such corporate institutes, had said, “...(they) hijacked students” and clustered them into “concentration camps”.
K. Ashok Reddy, one of the petitioners and former student, who studied at the Boduppal branch of Sri Chaitanya campus till 2018, recalled that he was not even sent home when he was suffering from stomach pain caused due to ‘bad breakfast’ served in the hostel.
He said, “We had very long schedules of study without getting any proper breaks. Our classes would start at around 5 am and would end only by 7 or 8 pm, with very short breaks in between. Most students used to feel suffocated with such schedules and started developing suicidal tendencies. Students were not believed even when they had real health issues. We were just asked to read and write, no matter what.”
Students of Sri Chaitanya and Narayana educational institutes slammed the rot learning methods still in vogue at the colleges.
“The rot learning methods that we had to practice back then are still affecting us. We are unable to understand concepts after we entered engineering,” said K. Ashok Reddy, one of the petitioners and former student, who studied at the Boduppal branch of Sri Chaitanya campus.
The situation has not changed for current batch students as well. A present day-scholar from Narayana institute from Adibatla branch said that students are still given corporal punishments if work does not get completed.
“Being a day scholar, I have to go to college at around 6 am. We have study hours till 9 or 10 pm. How can anyone expect us to study for so long? We are even given work to finish after these study hours – how is this humanly possible? If we cannot finish work, we are given corporal punishment,” he said on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal if his identity is revealed.
He admitted that all they most of the time do is to memorise information for tests.
Students and parents are reminded about fee through frequent messages and calls. When students are unable to pay, they are not allowed to take examinations, further stressing them, the online petitioning former students said.
Are not the parents at fault? For parents, these institutes have become an inevitable phase of an “inescapable rat race” for their children’s betterment.
One parent, on condition of anonymity, said, “It is a competitive world. There is a rat race for such institutes. We tend to enrol our children thinking they would achieve good marks, and consequently, have a good future. We invest in high amounts of fee at these institutes because we love our children and have high aspirations and expectations for our kids. We have become helpless.”
An educational analyst said, “it has become an easy and lazy intellectual exercise to blame corporate institutions. Just because of the name – corporate. If they are so bad let the parents not send their children. Let the children seek action against their parents who sent them to concentration camps in the name of love? What about the government? All this training is eventually to get through Eamcet and such other government-conducted exams only, right? Why can’t they seek a ban on Eamcet and such other exams?”
Explaining that competition was a consequence of high population, the analyst said, “we have lakhs of children who wish to get one of the few thousands of seats each year. The pipe has to have a filter and it will hurt not only those who can’t make it but also those make it through after such mindless struggle. But what should we ban – population, exams, government, or parents from having dreams for a better tomorrow for their kids?”
The parents, expectedly, try to shift all responsibility to the government, saying “it should come up with quality institutes, with affordable fee structures, and a stress-free environment.”
When contacted for their comments, Narayana Institute said that they have a helpline number that students can call to avail counselling anytime. The institute said that they have counselors, who frequently interact with students to learn about their problems.
But representatives of Sri Chaitanya were not available for a comment today....