March 9, 2016

Need for a law to deal with student suicides in India

Students committing suicide due to pressures of examinations is common in India. But the governments in state & centre haven’t enacted a legislation to fight the menace as if they have accepted it as unavoidable accidents. The burden of failure in exams can’t be put on the students alone. Success & failure of students in examinations have several stake holders such as teachers, parents, education system and students. My heart broke on hearing about the news of suicide by three students of ten plus two class yesterday in Madhya Pardesh India.

This post doesn’t discuss the politics of culture war in India that drove a dalit research scholar Rohit Vimula to reject India by refusing to continue to live here. Rohit Vemula could not wage a sustained war against institutional inequality in Hinduism, as practiced in India, which was fought and won by Sikhs of Guru Nanak Dev ji in Punjab longtime ago. This post deals with another monster that devours the youth of India.

Wonder why the students who fail in exams are told that it’s the end of road to a happy successful life in India? Look at likes of Narendra Modi, Smriti Irani etc who have made it big despite frugal education attainments. Besides the formal education system in India has many flaws and has been criticized often for its focus on producing scholars who are good for clerical work alone sans critical professional skills. Youth could focus on acquiring traditional economically valuable skills of carpenter, blacksmith, tailor, cook etc and make it big in their chosen profession. A carpenter is more critical to life on earth than a clerk as the later doesn’t add any economic value with his work. A driver in Canada, India too, earns much more than most clerks.

There is extreme dearth of trained teachers who understand the process of how students learn a subject. It’s not enough for teachers to master a subject without being able to understand the process of helping students learn better on their own. Most of the teachers don’t know the difference between pedagogy and andragogy. An effective teacher works with students and explain them the process of learning before taking them on the path of learning.

India needs to enact a law to deal with the menace of student suicides. Each case must be investigated and responsibility must be fixed on parents, teachers and the governments. No society can survive for long if it continues to ignore its youth and their problems. We must take care of our students now to have a better future.

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