MNA Feature Desk: During the last few months, reports of suicides of students have become very common and we might have ignored looking into the reasons behind. Going with the trend, a very depressing news came into the media on last Tuesday (Dec 3). A student of Viquarunnisa Noon School & College – country’s one of the most renowned educational institutions committed suicide. Her name was Aritri Adhikari, only 16 years of age and a student of class 9. The news came as a great shock as nothing can justify the waste of such a promising life. She gave away her life and though we can do many things now, she cannot be brought back. But we all need to think deeply what actually caused her to die as we need to save our next generation.
Reportedly, Aritri was caught red-handed while she was copying through her mobile phone during an exam. She was not allowed to attend the exam anymore and was advised to bring along her parents. As the parents met the principal, the teachers and the principal ruthlessly insulted them in front of Aritri and also threatened to cast her away from the school. She could not tolerate the insult of her loving parents and as soon as she reached home, she went inside her room and locked the door. As she was not responding for some time, the parents with some other relatives broke the door to found their loving daughter hanging from the ceiling fan – swinging as flat dead. It is impossible to bear the loss – a bright life, as we all know Viquarunnisa Noon School only gets the brightest, destroyed due to the insensitivity of some people.
Suicide is becoming viral among the students of Bangladesh at all levels. After failing in HSC exam this year, at least five students committed suicides. Four SSC examinees did same after their results were published. Not only the general school students but also madrasa students are also committing similar acts. Just few days ago, a madrasa student committed suicide in Feni. Suicide has become very common among the Dhaka University students also. Several incidents of suicides of Dhaka University students were reported during the last few months. There is no way we can rationalize such incidents which are nothing but useless waste of lives. Most importantly, most of these are talented students with a bright future ahead and also from prominent institutions. Hence, we need to find out the cause of such acts.
Undoubtedly, several reasons lie behind this vulnerable mentality of the young people and we should consider the mental state of today’s children. Young generation today is much more sensitive than that of few decades back. This sensitivity is not in positive term – they are not sensitive towards their parents, relatives, elders, subordinates or even to their duties. This sensitivity refers to their ego and sense of pride. They are almost unknown to the fact of ‘denial’.
Parents today rarely denies to any demand of their children. It does not have anything with their solvency rather is due to their lack of time and tolerance. With rigorous urbanization, the parents have lost their tolerance. In urban areas, joint families are almost extinct. Commonly both father and mother are often found involved with their jobs. If single parent is earning, then the other parent is much more engaged with their own societies. Mothers are often found tangled with parties or shopping with the mothers of her children’s friends which keeps them busy all the time. Along with several citizen hazards, they are becoming vulnerable and intolerant.
With very little time for their children, the parents often comply with unjustified demands of their kids to keep them busy or silent. They very easily provide mobile phones, tablets, computers, televisions even to their toddlers to keep them engaged so that the parents can remain busy with their own works. This slowly makes the children arrogant which allows them to form ego. Hence, whenever their demands are not fulfilled irrespective of its significance like; for a chocolate, a pack of chips, a particular cloth, a toy, an outing, a bike or even unlimited freedom, they reacts. Denial actually hurts their ego and simultaneously they learn to become very reactive to words or acts if found slightly demeaning to them.
We are not discussing something very hypothetical. We all actually know these facts. But our system is not adapting to these changes. The mentality of the young generation of Bangladesh is not being considered in the families, schools or professional atmosphere. Especially the conducts of the schools have degraded to such low that it has brought our whole education system under severe questions. Everyday thousands of students are being tortured by their teachers at schools. Only a few of them reaches the media. The total system around a child is actually contributing to such degradation and none of us can avoid the responsibility.
The life of a child becomes hell from his very childhood. When he turns only 4 or 5, he feels tremendous pressure from his parents regarding admission in top schools. The parents become ‘wild’ in the fight of their child’s admission. Though we do not question their love for their child but the competition becomes so ruthless that they often forget about the mental pressure that their kids endure during that period.
The parents even get tangled in corruption during this ill competition. In the name of donation, they bribe the school and often directly bribe the school committee members, governing body members or respective government officials. They never think if they adopt corruption at the very early stage of their children, then it cannot be expected to have a child with strong moral. The parents are teaching their children that we can achieve something with corruption which will ensure our position as one of the most corrupt countries of the world in future also. When a child is supposed to enjoy the beauty of his surroundings, his emotions are often oppressed and the innocence is taken away.
The schools today have become like a mafia. On several instances, corrupt acts of schools appeared in the media. The teachers are not at all ready to teach anything at schools and force the students to avail personal coaching. If a student does not go for coaching, the teacher does not hesitate to fail that student. It is unbelievable but true that the future of our next generation has become a business. Few upper class families might easily comply with the demands of these greedy teachers but for the middle income families, it has become a great burden let alone the lower income families.
Few guardians complained that if the parents cannot send their children to coaching due to financial constraint, the teachers even insult and torture the students in the class in front of all fellow classmates. Not only in urban areas but also at rural areas, this has become a common scenario. The teachers and school administration have become so ruthless that the ego or pride of a student is completely neglected. They may be the teachers of some reputed schools but they are not human. Even 20 years back, this situation was unbelievable but today it has become the reality of our education system.
It is true that Aritri was not right to copy in an exam using her cell phone but it is the failure of the school as well as the parents in providing moral lessons to her. Her crime was not extreme enough to throw her out of the school or to insult her parents brutally. No teacher thought of the stress on that child and offered no chance to learn from her mistakes. But being a student of Viquarunnisa Noon School, she was definitely talented and the school failed to educate her enough to restrain her from taking a wrong step.
This increasing suicide game cannot continue and requires some steps. The government must immediately ban all sorts of coaching of the school teachers. If any weak student requires help, they can avail tutor at home and those tutors cannot be teachers of any educational institutions. This will also open employment opportunities for thousands of students of reputed institutions.
Moreover, a law should be passed that if more than 20 per cent student of an institution fails in any public exam, then the MPO facility of that institution will be eliminated. This law will force the teachers to teach at class as well as to become caring to their students. Additionally the government should act hard against any allegations throughout the country against a school or a teacher and must ensure punishment.
Lastly, a cell should be opened at every upazila or thana to register and monitor complaints of the children and students. Government should make proper campaign about that cell to the target group. Most Importantly, the parents should familiarize the children with ‘no’ and must take the responsibility to give them moral education.
Not a single life is worthy of committing suicide, particularly not lives like Aritri’s. We hope the government thinks a bit about our education system as it cannot take any more corruption and ill practices. We always talk about development but we cannot sustain that with a corrupt and lame future generation. We expect someone take some steps soon to save another parent from ill-fate.
The writer is Associate Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA) and Kishore Bangla