A few days ago, reports about students committing suicides because of failure in exams, got published in various dailies across Pakistan e.g. three students in Chitral committed suicides this week on the day of their Intermediate result was announced. These reports should not be taken for granted because they illustrate a general scourge from which our society at large and our education system in particular is suffering from. These instances refer to “Darwinism” that our education system has developed with respect to human intelligence. In other words, it is a narrow criteria of gauging human intelligence developed by our education system and society at large to which when students do not catch up, they feel alienated and because of finding no one around them who can understand them in their sense of alienation they prefer the option of suicide instead of living on with their pent-up stress.
Unfortunately, education system of our country at large is in shambolic state. It hardly gets a major chunk of the budget on the part of the state which has made it reeling both with respect to infrastructure and quality.
Moreover, education is not something which everybody can afford in Pakistan although the state has made it a part of fundamental rights; however, a lot needs to be done to achieve this milestone. Major chunk of the population give up on pursuing it because of scathing poverty and their disbelief in getting a solution to their day to day problems by investing in academic pursuits. Also, there is a huge disparity with respect to gender when it comes to education.
However, the lot that makes its way in pursuit of education has its own nagging problems. Prominent among them and that need critical attention on the part of the society at large is the way education is catered in a mechanical way without it being receptive to students’ aptitude which sometimes make them alienated as their aptitude does not jibe with what is being taught to them. They are intelligent in different ways but because there is no scope for recognition of their intelligence both among teachers and parents so they, because of their urge to fit in, are pushed towards what the folks do and are expected to prove themselves in the way folks prove which make them demotivated and rob them of their energy.
This is what happens to a lot of students navigating through academia especially after Matric when they take admission in colleges. A major chunk of brilliant students go for either pre-medical or pre-engineering because of the bandwagon set by the society at large that the best lot is supposed to be in these two fields. Not all of them make their way to medical or engineering universities and might not feel motivated for these fields but because they are socially privileged fields, they bet on them at the cost of what they are good at.
Such a selective approach in the education system with respect to excellence and career give birth to a sense of alienation among students. Because of being unable to fit in the fields to which their aptitude does not match and their inability to fulfill their parents’ expectations, a lot of them stop believing in themselves and feel demotivated. Some develop psychological disorders because of their inability to express what they want in their lives and their failure to prove themselves in the fields with which they are not emotionally engaged.
The rising number of suicides among students can be attributed to the fact that stakeholders in the education system as a whole including parents are quite oblivious to how to take the best out of students by helping them in what they are good at. The essence of education lies in helping students to explore their potential and use it for the greater good. This can only happen if education system is made organic in nature in which every student can thrive based upon inclusive receptive approach to his/her potential instead of getting pushed to follow the folks’ academic pursuits. There is a dire need that education system is customized to help students explore their potential in the fields of their choice. To make it possible, an inclusive effort is required on the part of teachers and parents.