The recent death of
Dana Sangma, the
niece of Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, who allegedly committed suicide in her hostel room on April 24 after being reportedly humiliated by an invigilator has served as an eye opener for parents when it comes to sending their children to study outside the state.
In the past there have been several cases where students studying outside the state were ill-treated on account of their belonging to a particular ethnic community.
There were varied reactions to the incident which rocked the state with many questioning the lack of institutes providing professional courses in the city.
“Students are forced to go out of the state in search of better institutes. There are not enough seats available to accommodate the sizeable number of students looking to enrol themselves in one professional course or the other,” said a student from the Zoology Department of NEHU.
“It is time the government looks to invest in higher education within the state,” she added.
Talking about the rising number of suicides among the students many believed that excessive pressure from parents, society etc contributed to it.
“Such incidents can happen in Shillong too. The need of the hour could be to try and introduce grading system where more attention is given to developing a strong concept rather than focusing simply on numbers (percentage of marks),” said a student from a city college.
Adolescents are often more susceptible to suicidal tendencies usually due to lack of self confidence. “This could possibly be traced to the kind of childhood they have spent”, said a professor of St Edmund’s college.
The problem though is not limited to the lack of self esteem among the youngsters. Undue harassment and humiliation by teachers and peers also forms a part of the problem. Clinical Psychologist I Shadap observed that adolescence is a period of ‘storm and stress’, full of mixed messages from all sides including oneself.
“Developmental change, family, self, peer and academic pressures cause a lot of stress in a youth,” she said.
“A better understanding of teen psyche on part of the teachers and parents can go a long way in curbing the innumerable number of suicide cases every year,” she added. Shadap further said that the North East, of which Meghalaya is a part, is witness to several conflicts. Hence youth here are subjected to stress due to conflicts, sense of loss, broken homes and culture which at times embeds a sense of insecurity in them.
On the same note, MLCU Vice Chancellor, Dr GC Kharkongor said that in 2010 alone, about 11,000 suicide cases were reported in the country.
“These suicides were outcome of poor remarks in their report cards especially after the declaration of the 10+2 examination leading to depression,” he said.
Education Minister Prof RC Laloo stressed on the role of parents in tackling this problem. “Parents should understand the ability and capability of their children and refrain from pressurizing their kids in achieving something which is beyond their ability.” Whatever the reasons may be, it is high time the society wakes up to this menace. The state and central government can also play a pro-active role in finding a long term solution to the menace. (By Ibankyntiew Mawrie)