Hyderabad: In the aftermath of the suicide of E. Murali, students are demanding the appointment of counsellors in educational institutions.
Murali, who performed exceptionally well in the PG entrance exam, purportedly wrote in his suicide note about his fear of failing the upcoming exams scheduled to begin on December 14. His death came as a shock to teachers who said that they never expected him to take such a step.
Student Annie Joseph says, “The fact that it was unexpected shows that many people actually need professional help. Often, students who come from rural areas find it difficult to cope with pressure. Murali was a first-generation learner. It is sad that he had to give up because he could not speak to anyone about his fears.”
Despite the University Grants Commission (UGC) issuing strict instructions to educational institutions asking them to set up student counselling systems to “bridge formal and as well as communicative gaps”, its implementation remains a distant dream.
Gopal Reddy, the Registrar of OU, says, “We don’t have an official counsellor, but students can always approach the heads of their respective departments for a talk. We have also asked the deans of schools to be approachable, in case there are any problems.”
Adeep Hussain, a professor, says, “Sometimes, no matter how much we push students, they are unwilling to talk to us. There is more anonymity with a counsellor. Therefore it is important for universities to set up counselling cells with qualified counsellors whom students can approach. Waiting for students to succumb to academic pressure and not lending them a helping hand is cruel.”
Medical experts say that regular talks can help divert a student’s mind off academic pressures. Counsellors can help students create timetables and come up with other solutions to put them at ease so that they do not make any impulsive decisions. Students say that a counsellor can help them deal with worries such as financial instability and the lack of job opportunities....