Chandra Prabha Pandey
Assistant Professor, School of Education
Central University of South Bihar
In the society, where we are living, an explicit assumption is moving from generation to generation that marks of students in 10th and 12th board examination determine their career and life.
High scorer students can get admission in their choice of university and college and can be engineers or Doctors. The marks add extra inches in so-called nose of the reputation of parents in society too. In many cities and towns, special programmes are organized to award and admire the parents of high scorer students too. In the chase of getting more and more enhanced status, students of Science stream get further stressed by giving various competitive exams. Many times the stress turns fatal. A bright adolescent who can be a brighter citizen turns into a guinea pig for the experiments of the whims of parents and society.
Suicides of 12 students after Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE) results are saying us again that we are not willing to learn. Every year more than 1000 students commit suicide either during the exam or after results. According to a report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) published in 2015, every hour one student committed suicide in India. India has one of the world highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29. The famous coaching hub of India, Kota now comes in news more for the suicides of students. More than 50 students have committed suicide in Kota in last 5 years.
When I was reading news about suicides of 12 students in MPBSE result, I came to know that a student commits suicide because he was expecting 90% but got 74.4% only. A brother and sister took the extreme step because they could not pass the exams. The boy studied in class 10 and his sister was a student of class 12. But what is so traumatic that students are deciding to end their life?
The story is not new
The expectation of parents has become the cause of mental pain of students in many cases. And the story is not new. I am reminding my school age. I passed my 10th exam with good score. As I said above we are living in a society where marks of students are the status symbol of parents. My parents get admired too. But that admiration increased the expectations of my parents, teachers, and relatives. They were expecting that I would do better in 12th and in future, I would be able to crack competitive exam like IIT too.
When I took admission in 11th in a government school with mathematics and science subjects I found it tough. The syllabus was comparatively much bigger than 10th class. That was the early years of the new century and coaching centers were spreading like the epidemic in small towns too. In government school teachers used to cover the half syllabus in school and remaining in their coaching centres. So taking coaching classes was a compulsion. Those classes started from 6.30 to 8 30 in morning and 5.30 to 8.30 in evening. The situation was more painful for me as these coaching classes were 5 to 8 Km far from my home. I used to start for coaching at 5.30 in the morning and return back my home at 7.30 in the evening.
Now, the journey of my stress started. I was not taking proper food at a proper time. Coaching fee was comparatively high for my father’s earning. Regularly I ride 25 to 30 Km by bicycle. I was not allowed to watch TV and other entertainment. I never attended any function. I had no scope for co-curricular activities. I spent most of the time in school and hardly got time for self-study.
Being a student of age 15, I started to struggle with these social, emotional and academic pressures. Consequently, I failed to manage and could not get first class in my 12th exams. I remember everyone was asking about my score and that was embarrassing for my parents. This was not only my story but many of my friends too. Now I can understand the traumatic impact of those days but it is necessary that society should understand it.
Now I am here as a teacher and want to give some suggestions for parents, teachers, and policymakers to handle the situation.
When I thoroughly overview the issue I found various reasons. The basic reason behind this is Indian education system. Examination system itself has lots of loopholes. There is no balance among co-curricular and curricular activities. Students get very little time for co-curricular activities and socialization which is also an essential part of their future development. Here examination is given more importance which inclines towards memorization and needs long hour’s systematic study.
Performance in 10th, 12th examination determines the choice of their college and university and future career also. Application Criteria for IIT and Medical exams is 12th pass out but the pattern of entrances exam is too high.
A major cause of student’s pressure is parent’s expectations. In Indian society, parent’s status is determined by their children scores. Parents get more recognition that children score better and get admission in the top university. Parents also want to fulfill their dream by their children. That’s become the cause of emotional pressure many times.
Students also get more ambitious because of their peer. Some students compare themselves with other friends and dream to become like.
Less time for self-study:
Students spends more than 12 hours in attending schools, private tuition, and coaching classes. They hardly get time for self-study. Sometimes they are not able to make a balance between school’s homework and tuition’s homework. Instead of making students better, these pressure erodes their ability to learn.
The decision to end the life is an extreme step. Psychologist suggests the students take these decisions out of traumatic disorder, high level of depression, anxiety sleeplessness and persistent headache and loneliness. Here are some suggestions to save our students-
Teachers and parents have the key role in shaping students personality.
Teacher’s behaviours and attitude matter more for students. There should be a proper in-service training for teachers to understand student’s depression.
There are so many emotional and hormonal imbalances occur within students at adolescence which affect their behavior. Teacher and parents should ask some caring questions and provoke them to share their feelings.
Psychologists suggest some common symptoms of depression like Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, loneliness, worthlessness, low self-esteem, Loss of interest in friends, hobbies, or activities previously enjoyed, Aggressive behaviour, Bullying or being a bully at school or in social settings, Disruptive behaviour etc. There should be a collaborative association between parents and teacher while dealing with these issues.
Teacher should provide some academic support to students who are going through emotional turmoil. They can work with students to come up with more flexible plans that allow them to get their work done.
Teacher and parents should understand the capability of students and never expect more than their capability.
Try to create a healthy environment in home and school which inspire students to do their best.
There should be a counselling centre in every school so that students can get guidance for their problems and future career.
Parents should never compare their children with others. They should not impose their dream upon their children.
If you are expecting your children to study more, give proper guidance and time to them.