Psychologists blame pressure to perform well as the culprit

Mental toll of exam failure sees 18 dead, 2 critical, say experts.

Hyderabad: Eighteen students have ended their lives after the release of the Intermediate results on April 18, two are in a critical condition and Umesh Chandra from Warangal, a first year student, is missing.

Some of these students were those who expected to fare well but found that they had been given low marks, or were declared failed or, in some cases, told they were ‘absent’.

As the government scrambles to undo the damage, the families of these students are now ruing over what could have been.

There are other students too who ended their lives, those who did not perform well in the exams. All the students did not get any institutional help to tide over the crisis in their young lives.

Psychologists said that the pressure to perform well was the main culprit, be it from society, the college or their peer groups. “Under pressure due to the requirement of high marks for admission in sought-after colleges, several educational institutions have destroyed the fabric of a meaningful education. It has become a rat race for marks and the students lead a completely imbalanced life in order to cope. This destroys their physical and mental well-being,” said psychological counsellor Parveez Chinoy. “The pressure exerted by parents and teachers to perform is often so unrealistically high that some children buckle under and take their own lives. It is time something drastically changes and a well-rounded education is provided to create healthy and balanced individuals,” Chinoy said.

Dad was sure, son wasn’t Bhanu Kiran, 19, Kazipet
When we saw a fail mark on our son’s marks list, I thought that something must have gone wrong with the paper correction and not with his performance. But my son decided to end his life as his cousin had passed the exam. We knew he was sensitive, but did not think that he would take the extreme step as he was a bright student,” said Mr Modem Sarangapani, father of Bhanu Kiran. Kiran jumped out of a running train two days after the results were declared. He had gone to meet his cousin.

Qualified for JEE Advanced Dharma Ram, 17, Hyderabad
A bright student, he was very confident of his performance but the low score in maths left him shattered. The results were declared at 5.30 pm on April 18. Two hours later, he jumped from the seventh floor of a building in Srinagar Colony, Hyderabad.

His sister Mahitha said, “He was an excellent student and had qualified for JEE Advanced. When he saw that he got 75 per cent, he was so depressed that he took the step. He was a topper in his class and these marks just broke him from inside. He could not come to terms with it. All these colleges which judge students on the basis of marks must be banned. There is such a terrible atmosphere that they are just studying all the time with no physical activity. There is also a strong need to counsel students and make them strong when they get low marks. Even the best and brightest of students must learn that they too can get less marks or fail.”

Did not blame results goof-up Banoth Naveen, 17, Nekkonda, Warangal Rural
He jumped in front of a running train on April 23 after his father refused to pay the fee for the supplementary examination. Naveen had failed in all subjects in the Intermediate first year exams. His father Venkanna, a farmer in Redlawada, said Naveen was slow in studies and got through Class 10 with minimum marks. Since he failed, his father asked him to come to the fields and work with him. This upset Naveen.

“I reacted sternly after he told me that he had failed in all the subjects. I never expected that he would take such an extreme step. He argued with me but I asked him to go to work in our field. He left the house and did not return. I expected he would come home and I would have given him the money after getting an assurance that he would concentrate on his studies.” He recognised Naveen’s body from the dress he wore that day.

Mr Venkanna added, “My wife and I are illiterates and work in our farm. We wanted our sons to study well, earn good jobs and be in a respectable position in society. That is why I joined him in a private college in Nekkonda so that he would feel encouraged but he neglected his studies.” Asked if Naveen blamed the results goof-up for his poor marks, Mr Venkanna said his son did not use it as an excuse.

Two subjects made the difference T. Vennela, 18, ARP Camp, Yedappally
She consumed rat poison and killed herself after learning that she had failed in two subjects in the first year. Her father said, “She was an average student in her studies. We didn’t expect her to take this extreme step.

Marks didn’t match expectations Ruchitha, 17, Kamareddy district
She killed herself by hanging after she failed in two subjects. Mr Chandraiah, her father, said that Ruchitha had got good marks in the Intermediate first year. She was expecting equally good marks. Seeing that she had failed in two subjects she could not handle the fact and killed herself, he said.

She thought 874/100 was not enough Arepally Shylaja, 18, Balkonda mandal
The Kakatiya Junior College, Nizamabad, student got 847 marks against 1000 in MPC. She had expected more. She was highly depressed that despite working hard she could not meet her target. Her mother Laxmi said, “She went into severe depression and hanged herself.”

Family loses an only child K. Lasya, 18, West Marredpally, Secunderabad
Lasya, the only child of her parents, hanged herself after failing in two subjects. The family is very distraught after the incident and not willing to talk to the media.

80% in SSC, 20 marks in Inter Arutla Anamika, 16, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad She secured 80 per cent in Telugu in Class 10 but got 20 marks Intermediate first year. She committed suicide at her grandmother’s home in Bansilalpet. Ms Arutla Udaya, her sister, said, “She was confident all the while. After the results, we told her that we will apply for revaluation if she has doubts. She agreed. She scored well in the other subjects and her overall percentage was above 75.”

Could not withstand low marks S. Jyothi, 17, Shabad wandal, Warangal
Jyothi set herself on fire. Jyothi’s mother Lavanya said, “She could not take the low marks. She was very confident that she would top. I do odd jobs but wanted her to study.”

Average student, didn’t expect to fail Devasoth Neeraja, 17, Macha-reddy, Kamareddy district
A tribal from a mandal headquarters twon, Neeraja failed in Botany in the first year. Pangi Rupla, her mother, said she had sent Neeraja to study hoping that she would do well in life. Her lecturer said, “Neeraja was an average student. Her marks in Class 10 were very average. The fact that she failed hurt her the most and she could not come to terms with that.”

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