Communication and Learning

Project by

Prof. Raja Mohanty
Prof. Alka Hingorani

This project will be exhibited at Design Degree Show 2015, 13th to 17th June.

Last page of notebook

Photo-documentation of the lives of students at Kota- the coaching capital of India


In 2013, more than a million students appeared for engineering and medical entrance examinations in India – a number that exceeds the population of several small nations. There seems to be a deep need – an urge – both for pride and standing in society and for financial security, which has led to this tremendous competition. This urge, combined with a flawed educational system, has given rise to the coaching capital of India – Kota! Every year more than 200,000 students go to Kota, Rajasthan, to be trained for these entrance exams. Not unexpectedly, one quarter of the intake in IITs is that of students coached in Kota.

These students flounder between expectations from family and the demands of coaching classes, peer pressure and their own dreams, even as they deal with the emotional and physical transformations of teenage life. And in that life, dictated as it is by the dreams of their parents, the unspoken aspirations of society, and the business of coaching institutes, they try to create some small space for themselves. This is the space of scribbles and timetables and quotes written in a notebook, of prayers as graffiti on the walls of a temple or of their own rooms. It is a space that gives them an identity, a unique voice in the wilderness, a brief pause in the rat-race that is their life in Kota. This is “the last page of the notebook.”