Rat Race, Suicides and Availability Heuristics

‘Shut coaching centres, they suck”

-A Kota Classes student in her suicide note

There was advertisement in newspaper which encouraged students to join IIT coaching classes from standard 6th onwards. They want to groom 10 years old kids for IIT! If you think this is insane, then reaction of parents was even worse; many were ready to train their children from class 6th onwards to that they get a “competitive edge”. Rat race can’t get worse than this.

rat race


“It teaches them how to tackle competitive examinations — NTSE maths and science Olympiads. By the time they reach class XII, they would have written so many tests that they will be able to tackle entrance exams with ease,”

-Teacher of coaching class on why students should start preparing for IIT from Std. VI onwards…

A small town in Rajasthan called Kota has many such coaching classes. Hundreds of students pay thousands of rupees to join these coaching classes in hope of getting admission in IIT. Few get admission but most don’t. For those who don’t make it life becomes miserable. They are labelled as failures, constantly reminded of wasting thousands of rupees of their parents and made to feel like pariah. Parents are not interested in knowing what interests their child.


“You manipulated me as a kid to like science… I took science to make you happy…I had interest in astrophysics and quantum physics and would have done a BSc… I still love writing; english, history … and they are capable of exciting me in the darkest times…”

-Suicide note by IIT aspirant to her mother

Not all students can bear this humiliation, some end up committing suicide.


In psychology there is term called availability heuristic. In case of availability heuristics people make judgments about the likelihood of an event based on how easily an example, instance, or case comes to mind.

ava heuristics

Marketing departments of coaching classes spends lakhs of rupees on advertisements, this creates an impression that anyone can clear IIT entrance exam. Availability heuristics forces parents to conclude that their child can get admission in IIT, forcing child to join the rat race. Advertisement talks about few who make it, but don’t talk of thousands who don’t make it and few who commit suicide.


After all what is so attractive about IIT? Availability heuristic tells parents that if child goes to IIT, then he will get job offer of lakhs of rupees and chance to settle down in US.

If ultimate objective is to earn lakhs and settle down in US, than even non engineers can do it. Why sacrifice life just to settle in US?





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