Have been thinking about this topic for sometime now. For a number of reasons. Personal experience, those of my near and dear ones, and of course, what I see and hear on media. Almost every day.
I know that I may face flak for choosing this topic but I have to. Am fine with the flak :):).
There has been an increasing number of suicides by students from across the country, and the numbers are on the rise. The pressure to excel in studies to get into engineering or MBBS programs puts enormous burden on the students leading to tremendous stress, and sometimes leads a few of them towards the path of suicide. Gone are those days when education was almost free. Right from admission into the nursery school until completion of a degree program, parents put in enormous amount of their hard earned resources, time, effort and money, for educating their children, hoping against the hope that their children will one day make it big and then reap the benefits. Unfortunately, right from day one, the odds are against them.
There are only a few thousand seats in the best of the best institutions but a few million compete for these seats every time. There is also the question of the child’s aptitude. As parents isn’t our job to ensure that our children pursue education and learning that is connected with their unique gifts and talents? Look at the statistics that have come in as part of several reports – only a fraction of the students who complete their engineering or MBAs are found employable by the industry. The rest languish in third rate jobs that offer them less than Rs. 10000 per month. A very poor return on the investment.
During our ShikshaDaan Yatra, we always make it to a point to interact with parents, students, educators and administrators regularly. One thing that stands out clearly is that most of the students’ choice of the program of study is largely influenced by peer pressure, expectations of and choices made by parents, and market forces. While parents do have a role to play, it is the pressure and sometimes the enforcement of their choice on their children that becomes an unbearable burden for the child. The enforcement of their choice on the child irrespective of the child’s aptitude and interest, is what I call as parental terrorism.
There is only one first rank and there are only so manyopportunities for engineers and MBAs but virtually thousands compete. The pressure of not following ones choice of study and the burden of parents’ expectations and the economics of education today is virtually taking many students to the edge of life, every day. Some just give up and end their life.
Sharing with you the anguish of the district collector of Kota, Rajasthan on the student suicides there. The students in Kota are not even getting a degree, they are just prepping for gaining admission to the premier Engineering institutions in the country – the IITs…. And many of them don’t want to be Engineers !!