When the coaching institutes came into the business, they figured out they were indeed fortune’s children. They knew that there are millions of young minds waiting to get captured once their parents succumb to the social pressures.

The irony is that everyone talks of allowing children to follow their dreams but have a different viewpoint for their own children.

While a supposed mecca of coaching for IITs,IIMs,medical colleges,engineering institutes and civil services, has witnessed more than 40 suicides, the scenario is not much different in other cities where the coaching center boom is on. Although there is no data on suicides available, the children continue to live miserably to realize their parents' dreams.

This is a finding of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR). Ruffled by the suicides and reports about children living under high stress, the Commission has taken it upon itself to visit the mushrooming coaching centers and help formulate a policy to deal with this problem.

NCPCR member Priyank Kanoongo during his Chandigarh visit pointed,”There are more than 150 students studying in classes meant to accommodate just 30 students. The institutes do not have their faculty verified by the police. Neither do they have complete record of where the children are staying and their antecedents.” Chandigarh has students from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and even western Uttar Pradesh thronging to enroll in such institutes by thousands.

He further elaborated,”The institutes are required to have several counselors but in practice there is only one per institute. The child suffers psychologically since he or she is no longer a part of a school, is living all alone in paying guest accommodations with unknown roommates and has no source of entertainment.”

He held the education department officials responsible for not being able to check the phenomenon of dummy schools where students are registered and take their formal exams while actually studying in coaching institutes.

This reporter is a witness to students furnishing wrong information about their antecedents to the institutes which do not bother to cross check.

It is not only the students but the faculty at the coaching institutes as well that is under tremendous stress. With no organized employment norms, the teachers work without any off amid high insecurity.

“We stand to lose our jobs even if two students complain of not understanding what we have taught. We can also lose our jobs if the institute owner comes across someone willing to do it at a lesser price,” revealed a teacher at a premier coaching institute.

He pointed that it is painful to see parents humiliating their children right before the teachers. ”Parents thrash them for scoring poorly in mock tests, use abusive language and recount how much they are spending on them making which makes the child guilty,” he added.

Another interesting aspect is the manner in which institutes scout for potential enrolments.

“Those organizing quiz competitions and maths olympiads across schools often sell data on students to such institutes,”disclosed Kanoongo.

The actual culprits are perhaps the parents who mount unrealistic goals on their children to feed their own egos.

Sonal is a mother of a teenager who takes pride in the portfolios that her boy clicks and small films that he makes. She points out,” It is a trend to appreciate children for doing something out of the league. But people do not apply this to their own child who is forced to follow the herd.”

Kultaaj, a Punjab university student who cleared the civil services exams only to be unable to make it to the final list, told The Citizen, “I took coaching for PMT a few years back. The experience left me shattered. That day I had pledged that I will defeat the myth that success has its way only through the coaching institutes. They provide us with the guidance but success depends on our own efforts. It is important to be responsible for your own life than to blame anybody for the pressure. To go wrong in one’s own way is better than going right in someone else's.”

This is the plight of many students and parents pursuing elusive dreams. It is the end of the world said the caterpillar. It is just the beginning said the butterfly.