The incident of committing suicide of a first year meritorious student of Anna University, Chennai, allegedly because of difficulties in dealing with studies despite obtaining 92 per cent score in Plus Two, has left her parents in a stupefying situation.
This Tamil medium background brilliant student belonged to a poor farmer family & was continuing her study with the financial assistance by a bank loan.
This is not an exceptional case in well known educational institutions. There are several thousand students who experience the same fate as her due to unfriendly nature of higher educational system.
V. Rhymend Uthariaraj, secretary, Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions puts the blame on rote learning system of schools to obtain higher marks in the examinations. Students of practical knowledge oriented courses like engineering are the worst victims of this situation on account of inadequacy of their learning in the school.
“Also, students are made to believe while at school that once they pass out with good marks, the going will be easy in higher education. In an environment of freedom in higher education system, students tend to get distracted due to peer pressure and lose concentration in the first semester. And scoring in second semester becomes tough. The first year being a transition period is indeed critical for students.”
Mr . Rhymend opines that students should employ the time between Plus Two & engineering admission by going through the higher secondary books again slowly but steadily for better apprehension of the concepts.
S. Sunfarrajan, Director, National Institute of Technology – Tiruchi explains another attribute of such situation: some bright students who get admission in prominent institutions as top-rankers in their respective schools cannot cope with the pressure of competition with peer groups possessing similar or better capabilities. It makes them disoriented easily. Professional counseling is needed in higher educational institutions to guide such students.
M. Ponnavaikko, Vice Chancellor, SRM University is of the opinion that counseling session by teachers must be resurrected. Students should possess clear idea about the right person who can provide proper guidance whenever they face problems on academic or personal front. For each group of students, there must be a teacher counselor. For this, the misconception that only mental patients go for counseling, should be removed, said Dr. Ponnavaikko.