Almost 53 years ago, when I was expecting my school-leaving exam result, my elder brother, who had neither been to school nor knew how I was at my studies, put his hand on my shoulder while we were walking and told me, “Do not worry in case you don’t do well. There are many opportunities even if you fail in exams.”
Examination stress is not new. It existed ever since the practice of grading started. There were good and dedicated teachers then and there still are. Curriculums have undergone a sea change. Eleventh standard students in Indian schools don’t have have as much stress as 10th and XIIth graders do. So why the XIth grader took such a drastic action may not be understood by all those who commened on the death. One cannot read the human mind, and especially that of a teenager.
It is said that one per cent of the population is schizophrenic, 10 per cent attempt suicide and another 10 per cent succeed in killing themselves. Most families are unaware of this. In most cases parents do not come to know the thought exists in their child’s mind until it is too late. It is also said that talented people, especially artistic minds, succumb to this. So before we blame anyone, we must know the facts. The teen may have felt guilt of some kind, disorder in the thought process, paranoia or chemical imbalances, which are not necessarily caused by the parents.
Almost 90 per cent of parents, teachers and schools expect good results and exhort students to achieve it but they are not necessarily driving students to suicide. But yes, at all levels counselling is absolutely necessary.