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Campus Unity To Save Lives

Context

  • In this context, it should be noted that 61 students graduated during the 2018–23 quinquennial, including 33 from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), 24 from National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and 4 from Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
  • There were 122 cases in various higher education institutions during the septennial 2014–21.
    • In both cohorts, the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Castes (OBC), and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) comprised the majority of the students.
    • As a result, there is an urgent need to resolve these problems in a thorough and efficient manner.

Relevance:

GS Paper-2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources; Stress Management

Mains Question

What are the causes of the stress in India’s higher education system? Offer some solutions to those problems. (150 Words)


Highlights

The three largest higher education systems in the world in terms of student enrollment are China, the United States, and India. The Indian Constitution lists education as a concurrent subject.

Reason of stress in Higher Education

  • Lack of family support is a major cause of stress in higher education, as more nuclear families now have working parents who are unable to provide the same level of parenting and guidance that joint families can.
  • Growing Individualism: Individualism is pervasive in today’s society.
  • As a result, early indications of emotional distress are missed, misunderstood, and left unattended.
  • Lack of Attention from the Institution’s Side: Institutions typically operate in denial and prefer to keep things quiet in the hopes that the parents will handle the situation.
  • It has occasionally been suggested that students experiencing emotional distress spend time with their families.
  • Lack of communication in the midst of a busy schedule: o The system in place at higher education institutions makes it difficult for students, their elders, teachers, and the administration to have open and honest conversations.
    • Interactions in the classroom are limited to academics, with repeated exhortations to be committed, dedicated, and hard workers, adding to the pressure already placed on emotionally troubled students.
    • Teachers may lack the time, the motivation, or even the knowledge to identify and address any troubling characteristics in their students.
  • As a result, students are denied access to crucial preventative measures.
    • Remedial and preventive actions are only prescribed after a tragedy has occurred, after which there is an investigation.

Cause of Campus Suicide

  • The majority of campus suicides are attributed to stress from academics, family issues, personal issues, various types of stress, financial hardship, caste-based discrimination, and a variety of forms of harassment.
  • Many of the sources of distress originate in larger economic and societal contexts, which are outside the purview of institutions of higher education.
  • Therefore, the government, society, institutions, parents, and families must address each of these causes at its root.

Measures Taken

  • There are formal mechanisms in place to offer students individualised, culturally relevant, and psychological counselling.
    • The majority of IITs, NITs, and institutions of a similar nature have put in place online and offline mechanisms to access private counselling and therapies in a private setting.
  • Most of these institutions also host awareness and sensitization programmes for students.
  • Apps like Dost, Saathi, and Mitr have also been released to access their services anonymously.

Unresolved Issues:

  • These counselling facilities seem to be lacking in many ways.
    • Students who are “in need” of assistance are responsible for making an appointment.
    • They work primarily during regular business hours and on weekdays, which makes it difficult for them to respond quickly.
  • A few of them have agreements with outside organisations to offer mental health counselling.
    • Based on the scant information that is available, it appears that they frequently delegate the responsibility of counselling to faculty members and have not yet come around to the idea of hiring counsellors with formal training.

Contract with USA

  • In contrast, American universities have specialised counselling centres that offer a variety of psychological services, including evaluation, counselling, consultation, and individual and group therapies.
  • They are accredited by the International Accreditation of Counselling Services (IACS) and staffed by social workers, clinical therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are all duly licenced.
  • The ratio of counsellors to students is carefully determined by combining empirical analysis and the opinions of seasoned counselling directors.In contrast, the availability of psychological counselling services on Indian campuses is restricted to a small amount of physical space in a building’s corner and a small number of psychologists and psychotherapists with formal training.

Need of the Hour:

  • Institutions’ approval and accreditation processes should give this aspect of student life the same weight as they do other factors like floor space, faculty, resources for learning, and even computers.
    • Many students require a well-functioning life support system.
  • It may be simple to strengthen and streamline counselling and therapies as preventative measures.
    • Conditions that foster respect for academic and socioeconomic diversity and an assimilative culture of cohesion are urgently needed.
    • Institutions are required to prevent and suppress all forms of discrimination.
  • A few outlaws on campus might be unfavourable towards admission restrictions and fee differentials.
  • As a result, it is necessary to develop a code of campus ethics that establishes guidelines for what can and cannot be discussed, even in casual settings.

Conclusion:

  • Social, economic, and cultural diversity on campuses is valuable for improving the quality of life for students.
    • As a result, it is important to establish an efficient and all-encompassing support system, particularly for the higher education sector.

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