Exam season is coming and rather than work towards bringing out the students’ best potential, the stress over failing dominates like an act of survival across the country’s schools and universities.
In an education system where opportunities are limited, competition is tremendous, and a person’s future is determined by mark sheets, students in India face an amazing amount of pressure to simply survive among the top qualifiers in the hopes of getting into higher schools that will determine their future career.
Because of pressures like these, the parents of these students set impossibly grand expectations over their children. They worsen the burden on their shoulders and create an incredible amount of stress even as the balance of their future stands at the mercy of their marks.
And as a result, exam stress on students can cause drastic decisions when they find themselves unable to reach the expectations of others, resulting in an alarming number of suicides rates over the years.
From 2011-2015 alone there were close to 40,000 student suicides in the country, and in a report from 2012, it was revealed that in India, the suicide rate for people between 15-29 years of age is among the highest in the world. It becomes a more troubling fact when suicide is currently an illegal act in the country, with many of these cases being hidden from the public. More effort seems to be taken into prohibiting this desperate act rather than in preventing it.
The inability of performing well in these exams causes an abnormal amount of stress since so many expectations are placed on the student’s success. The family here, instead of providing support for them in succeeding in these exams, go to extremes in pressuring them not to fail instead. From taking away privileges at home to comparing their aptitude with other children. They don’t seek to point out the good qualities of their children and rather infuse stress over failing.
Add anxiety, depression, and desperation, all these things begin to plague the minds of students during examination periods. And with no outlet in which to let out these pressures, suicidal acts continue among them.
Outlets for Stress
Lately, there have been some universities who have talked about changing their curriculum to ease the workload of students. The Prime Minister has urged students to seek help if faced with the pressure, and many public figures have done the same in asking them to seek other ways to deal with the stress rather than relying on such desperate measures.
This points out the need to prioritize mental health in the country, which is already a must. With only 0.06% of the national health budget directed to mental health issues, and a significant number of schools, universities, and institutions lacking a great number of necessary mental-health professionals, students are left alone while suffering from stress over failing these crucial exams, increasing the risk of developing suicidal tendencies.
These alarming facts bring to light yet again the lack of protection given to the students of the country, when all they need is support and nurture to do as best as they can in their exams. Family, professors, and teachers are supposed to provide these necessities for any student’s wellbeing. The fact that this level of stress over failing exams exists, hanging everything at the mercy of the students’ results, points out a missing consciousness over the health and wellbeing of the county’s future, since the focus is rather in reaching an ultimate and unreal success.