Stop those suicides

Gayathri G | Updated on March 08, 2018

Unfair pressure and poor self-esteem are killing our kids

The year 2017 has thrown up many cases of student suicides across the country. One student died because she was caught cheating in an exam; four students jumped into a well because they had scored poorly and were afraid of asking their parents to meet the teacher in this regard. The incident concerning the death of a student after she found she had not cleared NEET was widely publicised.

In 2015, the number of student suicides stood at 8,934, according to statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau. In the same year, Maharashtra reported the most number of student suicides: 1,230 of the 8,934 (14 per cent), followed by Tamil Nadu (955), and Chhattisgarh (625). What then is the purpose of education if it fails to equip students with self-esteem and a sense ofself-reliance?

Instances of student suicide are frequent in Kota (Rajasthan) and Namakkal (Tamil Nadu) — the so-called shadow educational belts replete with institutions churning out candidates for various entrance exams. This ‘broiler’ system of education imposes excessive expectations on students; this combined with peer pressure spirals into depression. Attempting suicide is the next step.

The unsettling frequency of student suicides even led to the Prime Minister (in a Mann ki baat programme broadcase in March 2017) urging them to seek help if they are suffering from depression. Unfortunately, none of the prestigious universities or academic institutions have trained counsellors or psychologists to offer help or guidance to the students. A minuscule 0.06 per cent of the health budget is dedicated to mental health welfare, which shows the seriousness of the issue. Now is the time for policymakers to review the education system and reform it by including sexuality, life skills education, and mental health and welfare in the curriculum.

Chief Sub-Editor

Published on November 28, 2017

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