For the last couple of days, the rising cases of suicide among Kota students have hit headlines that have resulted in being the topic of discussion for counselors, parents, teachers, and many others. Everyone is trying to analyze it, and speak about it. There is an element of surprise, scare, and curiosity, and tense minds can be sensed. We need to reassess the role of many things. I want to focus especially on education as a system.
Institutionalized education has been an essential feature of our social life, even before all the shades of foreign rules. In the post-independence era, we are striving to evolve it in coherence with the challenges of modern society. Technology has a great role to play, and fortunately, we have the best talents available in our country to support our system. Corona phase too pushed us to become technology friendly. It made our quest for a wide reach of education a little easy. Still there is a long way to go, many hurdles to overcome, many talents to tap, and many eager minds to offer facilities to. Somewhere something is not going the way we expect it to.
Education is viewed as the most essential component of any recipe for success, and money defines success and empirical achievement. One aspires to have quality education which few institutions make available. Their finished products get the mark of good packages and many things follow it. Obviously many want to get the stamp of these institutions. Of course, the hunger for education cannot be totally ignored.
But somehow the race to get enrolled in an institution that has a mark, has become fierce. A city like Kota has many institutions that are known for preparing students for admission in prestigious organizations. Some model is evolved in Kota for this and often cases of suicide are also reported from the city.
Somewhere the children lose hope or reach the point of no return. Dreaming high is no crime but thinking that there cannot be anything else if some goal is not achieved, is not correct. Whenever I read such news, it brings the faces of two young students alive in my mind.
I am really amazed at their will to conquer, their faith in education, their conviction that education can change the picture, and their willingness to work hard to equip themselves. A boy whom I met at a small hotel on Aurangabad - Ajanta road. He was serving food to all at a remarkable speed, his face radiated confidence. When I asked him about his education, he happily said that he earns money to help his family and pay fees. He wanted to equip himself to work and change the picture.
The next day met a girl from a small village, rather a basti near Fardapur. We had been for a morning walk. We saw her sitting with the neighboring children and helping them with their homework. The girl with a small stature was in the tenth standard. Every day before going to school she helped everyone with the school work as it was almost the first generation of school-going children. When I tried to communicate, most of the time she answered in smiles. Every day she walked a few kilometers to school as the village only had a primary school.
Both of these were not discouraged by the adverse situation, the girl wanted to get an education that would help her to earn.
What keeps these children optimistic about the future who fight so many detrimental conditions? What makes this girl keep helping the children around her home daily?
In our cities, the children when appearing for the board exams have just one thing to focus on, their studies. Besides their schools, children need to spend an equal amount of time for additional academic support. I met a girl after her admission to a professional college, the change she liked was, the additional academic support was not necessary as her teachers were good and were always ready to help.
Something is definitely amiss.
Our education system is unable to take the essential responsibility of academic objectives.
Sometimes, as a teacher, I feel the challenge is to motivate children to self-study and self-practice. How to explain the importance of perseverance to children. Breakthroughs are very few, but to reach that stage one has to keep going for a long time. There are very few exciting opportunities, the rest is spent mastering various skills to be able to make the best of the special opportunities.
Words definitely don't help, maybe the actions do. Parents and teachers should have joint efforts. One more point is to be considered. Children ought to be exposed to the real nature of our society. They need to be exposed to inequalities, scarcities, and unjust situations, that also exist in our society. Maybe they would learn to respect the efforts put in by parents, teachers, (representatives of the education system), and society too. This would help them understand the value of the opportunities made available to them, and (the sacrifice of all including many factors unknown ) to make the situation good for them. They might think twice before taking the drastic step of ending their life.