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A test of exam nerves

The suicide of a CBSE examinee in Bokaro district’s Balidih on Wednesday evening has turned the spotlight on exam-related stress that appears to be the prime reason behind most teen deaths around this time every year.

With matriculation and intermediate exams starting from Friday and the CBSE and the ICSE due from March 1 and March 3, respectively, schools are worried that the death wish may fell more students who find it difficult to handle the pressure to perform well and end their lives.

The fear is not unfounded considering the fact that till now this year, Bokaro has witnessed 13 suicides, out of which nine were students.

Police records say that of the total number of 59 suicidal deaths across the district since January 2013 till February 20 this year, 42 were school and college students in the age group of 12 to 23 years. Most of these suicides occurred between January and June — just a few weeks before examinations started and after results were declared.

The situation has prompted school authorities to caution both teachers and guardians to be extremely careful and patient while dealing with the children.

“The need of the hour is to mould the young minds and steer them towards the right direction. Children are like warm wax. They will shape up beautifully if put in the right container,” Chinmaya School principal Ashok Singh said.

“As guardians and teachers, we shall train them to brave even the oddest situation. Above all, they should never be compared with their peers and instead left to grow in their own natural way. Parents must encourage their wards rather than scolding them for the smallest of mistakes,” he added, saying that Chinmaya School regularly conducted special spiritual classes.

DPS Bokaro’s director Hemlata S. Mohan agreed. “Parents and teachers play an instrumental role in raising a child and help him or her fight the adversities of life. At DPS, we hold regular counselling sessions, where students are made to unwind and speak out their minds,” Mohan said.

As for beating exam stress, psychiatrist K.N. Thakur suggested that good sleep, proper food and a balanced thought process helped. “Don’t bother about others or waste time thinking that your friends are better prepared than you. Just concentrate on yourself, you will feel much better. Yoga and counselling by parents and teachers also reduce tension.”