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Why are exam result announcements followed by multiple student suicides?

Today, in India, class 10 and 12 board exams results were announced. Not even two hours later, multiple cases of student suicides made the news. While some families were rejoicing over their children's brilliant scores, others were preparing for their children's funerals.

Is the possibility of a prosperous future really worth a child's present?

The irony of our society is that we grieve for the ones lost to suicide, but ignore their calls for help when they are alive. Suicide is an extremely sensitive topic, especially when it comes to children. Yet nothing is being done to support them. Despite the rising number of student suicides, not enough is being done to support these vulnerable individuals. In this article, we will try to understand the severity of academic pressure and its link to student suicide.

According to National Crime Records Bureau data, 31 children died every day due to suicide in 2020. Those numbers have only increased over the past two years. Unfortunately, it is known to everyone that exam results are followed by the news of students dying by suicide every year. It is nothing less than a tragedy. The fact that children as young as fourteen and fifteen would rather end their lives than face society's rejection sends a very loud and clear message that something is obviously very wrong with the Indian education system.

In a country like India, academic success is often viewed as the only route to a prosperous future. From a young age, children are discouraged from participating in extracurricular activities and asked to focus on their academics. The intense pressure to succeed academically can take a significant toll on the mental health of students. If they grow up and do not pursue science, they are labeled as failures. The competitive nature of our education system leaves many students feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. With students finding it difficult to adjust to the virtual classroom and the disruption of their routines, this pandemic has only made matters worse.

The pressure to succeed academically in India starts at a young age and continues throughout a student's academic journey. Parents and society expect nothing less than exceptional performance from students, even if it means sacrificing their mental health and well-being. The education system focuses on rote memorization rather than encouraging realistic critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Although not board exam related, a 15-year-old boy in Kota, Rajasthan, ended his life due to the overwhelming stress of preparing for NEET-UG. Although the ceiling fan in his room had a suicide prevention framework, he used the hook for suicide. The desperation of a fifteen year old wanting to end his life is an incredibly loud wake up call for us as a society. It is a tragedy that young individuals find it easier to end their lives than having to explain their concers to adults who would never understand them. It is also a tragedy that the system would rather place suicide prevention measures in students' room than attempt to understand their concerns.

The tragic news of student suicides following the recent announcement of board exam results in India is a reminder of the unrealistic pressure and expectations we have placed on students. It is the need of the hour to save our students. Individual talents must be encouraged. While it seems far-fetched now, it is still time for us as a society to acknowledge the severity of this issue and take proactive steps towards creating a healthy and supportive academic environment for our children.



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