Education burden | The Express Tribune

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Three studen­ts from differ­ent parts of Chitra­l fell prey to the educat­ion burden and commit­ted suicid­e

When education starts becoming a burden than enlightenment then there is a cause for concern. Three students from different parts of Chitral fell prey to the education burden and committed suicide, stemming from the examination pressure.

These incidents are not the first of its kind. Nor are they limited to a city or a province. The Karachi-based Madadgar police helpline national database shows that in the first six months of 2015, around 1,061 suicide attempts were reported. National media reports and anecdotal evidence also indicate a rise in suicide rates in the 14-to 30-year-old age group.

In fact, over time, an increase in student suicides has been witnessed not just in Pakistan but across South Asia. In India alone, around 20 students kill themselves everyday due to stress related to exams and competition for admission to educational institutions of repute, according to a 2012 National Crime Bureau Report.

Considering the stigma attached to mental health itself, let alone having an open discussion on suicides in Pakistan, it is safe to assume that many suicides go unreported. There is something very wrong in an education system that puts grading and results before a student’s mental health.

What is worse is that students who face such pressures have no one to turn to. Most educational institutions across Pakistan rarely have counseling centres or professionals equipped to deal with the issue. Our family system too is ill-equipped to emotionally support our youth as parents focus on high grades than their child’s capacity to learn.

Our vulnerable youth needs an environment where they can open up about their grievances. Educational institutions need to ensure that not only is there professional help available on campuses but more contemporary way of learning is taught than the age-old cut-throat competition to secure better grades in exams.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2018.

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