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FIITJEE slammed for print ad belittling ex-student, using suicides to one-up rival coaching institute


FIITJEE's latest print advertisement has garnered heavy criticism for belittling a student by using her image to suggest that her performance had 'declined' because she had left one of their institutes for another one. FIITJEE is a coaching institute for JEE and other competitive exams with a pan-India network.

Their ad which appeared on the front page of a newspaper said that their former student could have secured a 100 NTA score in the JEE-Mains 2024 and not 99.99 if she had remained with them and not shifted to an “EVIL Institute from Kota (now in Delhi) with a history of suicides”.

Calling it a "new low in advertisements", Katyayani Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner - Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) posted the ad on X (formerly Twitter) and slammed FITJEE: "You are posting the picture of a child saying that she performed badly because she left your institute!" 

She added, "I have blurred the picture because I don't believe in this disgusting way of claiming your superiority by belittling a girl child."

The officer also condemned the coaching institute for using a serious concern like student suicides to one-up their competition. "They are claiming about their superiority by talking about the institute with a 'history of suicides'. Shameful. Suicides in Kota are an issue that concerns us all above petty competition but claiming in this manner is cheap."

She went on to request Education Ministry and Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani to take note of this matter saying, "...Such advertising malpractices need to be checked-no institute has the right to shame students to claim it's superiority..."

Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho, reshared Bhatia's tweet and criticised the undue pressure placed on children and young adults. "India has to get out of this ultra-competitive exam pressure on children and young adults...", he wrote on X.

"Intense pressure at a young age all too often destroys talent and creates zombified adults. It is the rat race to extinction. Intense competition is for companies serving a market and for sports, not for children in education," he added.

Vembu claimed that his company has pledged to not consider academic credentials. "We are also investing in educational alternatives that are inspired by Finland," he wrote, praising Finland for it's state-funded educational system "that serves every child without such competitive insanity."

Several social media users called FIITJEE out for their ad.

Soumitra Pathare, Director, Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, wrote on X, "It's such rubbish promoted by coaching institutes like @fiitjee that leads to student suicides. Don't newspapers have a responsibility to refuse such ads? What about the ad agency - any ethics at all? Are authorities sleeping? And we outrage when a student dies by #suicide."

Another user wrote, "I truly believe that coaching centres have provided absolutely zero contribution to Indian education. In fact it is very real that most of them contributed to rise in suicides and their entire system monetises fear and desperation of students and parents. They should be banned."

The full ad
A closeup of a portion of the ad