Activists say that the students are just herded into class like animals, and put under tremendous stress.

Price of academic pressure Hyds Narayana junior colleges sees its 3rd suicide in a monthImage for representation: PTI
news Education Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 15:24

The suicide of a 19-year-old second-year intermediate student at Narayana Junior College in Hyderabad on Tuesday has sparked anger from student groups, who plan to protest across Telangana. 

A native of Nizamabad, Naga Sai Kiran was studying BiPC (Biology, Physics, and Chemistry) at the junior college’s Pragati Nagar branch in Bachupally, and was residing in the institute's hostel.  

Sai Kiran had just returned to the college after a break for Ganesh Chaturthi, when the institute asked him to call his parents on Tuesdaymorning to report his unruly behaviour.

When everyone left for breakfast on Tuesday, Kiran locked his room and killed himself. He was rushed to a hospital, and was declared brought dead.

Blaming the institute's management, his father has since lodged a police complaint. 

"This is the third suicide of a student this month in this institute alone. The junior college is torturing children in the name of education," says Ayyappa, state secretary of the ABVP.

The college witnessed the suicide of 17-year old Shravya on August 9. Shravya, who was dropped at the Narayana Junior College in Bandlaguda by her father after a week-long vacation, told him that she did not want to return as she was being harassed over payment of fees. 

Before Shravya's father could even leave the premises of the hostel, he received news that his daughter had hung herself from the ceiling fan in her hostel room. 

Last week, 18-year-old Y Aruna used her shawl to hang herself on the campus of the Narayana Coaching Centre in Madhapur, after she was unable to bear academic pressure. 

“According to the AP Educational Act 1982, educational institutions have to function as a not-for-profit society. However, these junior colleges purely focus on the money, and function as a profit-making business,” said Ayyappa.

“Take Aruna’s case itself. She came to Hyderabad to take coaching for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).  She was constantly sidelined, and was frustrated that she was not getting better, as the institute only focuses on toppers, and ignores a large number of students after they pay the fees,” he added.

Ayyappa also claims that there have been 4,000 student suicides over the past 20 years in this institute alone.

“All that they care about is that the students get a good rank. They don’t care about the stress on the student, and are willing to go to any extent,” says Ayyappa.

“In Telangana, there is the concept of open jails, where prisoners are given space to walk around in the premises. This is even worse than that, as they are torturing students inside a single building from early in the morning, till late in the evening,” he adds.

The ABVP is now demanding de-recognition of the Narayana Group of Colleges for abetting the suicide of three students.

Earlier this month, citing Shravya’s suicide, Hyderabad-based activist Achyuta Rao moved the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to take note of the rising number of student suicides in Telangana.

Following this, the SHRC has issued a notice to Telangana's Principal Secretary (Education). 

Speaking to TNM, Achyuta said, “The main reason for the suicides is pressure. The colleges control every second of the student’s hostel life. These junior colleges lack professional teachers and employ unprofessional junior lecturers and floor monitors who have barely passed intermediate themselves. Over and above that, the children are not even treated like human beings. None of their concerns are addressed, and they are just herded into class every single day, like animals,” he adds.

Achyuta says that besides the stress in college, the students also have a great amount of stress from their parents.

“Nobody asks the child what they are interested in. They always stress them out, saying that they have invested a lot of time and money on the child’s education. This greatly dissuades them, and some of them even go to the extent of killing themselves,” he says.

He also stresses on the need for creating awareness among the students.

“They are not even allowed to read newspapers, forget forming opinions. They are just fed technical knowledge and subject matter, but nobody is concerned about inculcating curiosity in their minds. They don’t learn to question the society we live in,” he says.

“Education should be useful to society and create aware citizens who will participate in the democratic process. Because of the pressure, many young lives are lost and families are shattered. Is it really worth it?” he asks.

While the initial SHRC notice asked for a report on the matter on August 26, the case was later postponed to the first week of November.