Student stress: Prioritise a process of continuous engagement - The Tribune India

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Student stress

Prioritise a process of continuous engagement

Student stress

Photo for representational purpose only. - iStock file photo



AN 18-year-old girl’s death by suicide in Rajasthan’s Kota came on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his annual interaction with students preparing for board exams. His message to them was to ‘compete with yourself and not with peers’, while he urged parents not to treat children’s report cards as their own visiting card. The reality can be shattering, exemplified by the alleged death by suicide of a Class XII boy at a government meritorious school in Punjab’s Sangrur after his parents were notified about his poor performance. In Kota, the teen’s heartbreaking last words expose an ecosystem that has no qualms about ignoring the vulnerabilities and emotional needs of children. They also convey a sense of hopelessness and guilt, a pointer to a society that does not seem to care.

An exacting examination system, parental expectations, an individual’s limitations and the debilitating fear of loss can take a heavy toll. The failure to recognise these factors and then to reduce the tragedy of a young person to mental health challenges amount to shying away from harsh truths. Suicide is the number one cause of death amongst those aged between 15 and 30 years. That it does not get registered in the national consciousness needs introspection. Worth encouraging is a continuous process of engagement, where students, parents and educators can open up to support groups.

The Kota coaching industry is estimated to be worth Rs 12,000 crore. Student welfare is low on the priority list. After a spate of suicides last year, institutes were asked to conduct fun activities. The District Collector plans to have a weekly dinner at hostels and discuss issues the engineering and medical aspirants may be facing. A good initiative, but accepting children for who they are is the change parents should aspire for. 

#Narendra Modi #Rajasthan


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