Exam Stress and Student Suicides: A Crisis Unfolding in Telangana

    Analyzing the rise in student suicides in Telangana post-exam results and the measures required to curb this disturbing trend.

    In the wake of the intermediate exam results in Telangana, a wave of student suicides has emerged as a troubling crisis. Eight students, including four girls, have taken their own lives, and two other girls have attempted suicide. This grim reality has brought the conversation surrounding academic stress, mental health, and the education system in Telangana to the forefront.

    The Heartbreaking Statistics

    According to reports, five out of the eight suicides occurred in Hyderabad, the state capital, while the remaining ones were reported from Nizambad, Wanaparthy, and Jagtial. It is noteworthy that Telangana has a history of student suicides following the declaration of intermediate exam results.

    Total Suicides Attempted Suicides
    Hyderabad 5 0
    Nizambad, Wanaparthy, Jagtial 3 2

    The Toll on Mental Health

    Students’ mental health has been under severe strain due to the relentless pressure to succeed academically. This situation escalated after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the educational landscape, with many students declared provisionally promoted to the intermediate second year. The exams, which were held in October, resulted in a staggering failure rate of 51 percent.

    The Tragic Case of Gugoloth Krishna

    One notable case is that of Gugoloth Krishna, a tribal student studying at a government-run residential school in the Mahbubabad district. Despite scoring an impressive 892 out of 1,000 marks in his Intermediate exams, Krishna feared that he wouldn’t secure an MBBS seat and, tragically, took his own life in April.

    Government Measures: Are They Enough?

    In the face of this crisis, the government has initiated measures like a 24/7 helpline (14416) for counseling students and a dedicated cell to help students deal with stress and anxiety. Furthermore, following the suicide of six students in December 2021, the government declared everyone as “passed” to reduce stress so they could appear in the intermediate final-year exams.

    Yet, despite these efforts, student suicides haven’t abated, raising serious questions about the effectiveness of these initiatives and the need for more comprehensive measures.

    The Road Ahead: Recommendations and Measures

    1. Enhanced Psychological Support: Enhance the availability and accessibility of psychological support for students, especially during the exam season.
    2. Holistic Education: Shift the focus from rote learning and scores to a more holistic education system that encourages creativity, problem-solving, and the overall development of students.
    3. Parental and Teacher Sensitization: Conduct workshops for parents and teachers to help them understand the pressures faced by students and guide them on how to handle these issues sensitively.

    “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” This quote by W.B. Yeats underscores the need to reimagine the education system, shifting it from a results-oriented approach to one that nurtures the overall development and well-being of students.

    It’s time we take collective responsibility and work towards a future where no student feels so overwhelmed by academic pressure that they view suicide as their only option.

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