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Time to talk about what schools in Calcutta can do: Heads

More than 100 principals from schools across the city attended the session

By Subhankar Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 23.06.19, 1:04 AM
  • Updated 23.06.19, 1:04 AM
  • a min read
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Institutional obsession with “phenomenally high scores and super achievers” might have created a culture where many children feel suffocated, student counsellors and psychiatrists said during a session on mental health of schoolchildren, titled Lead The Way, at a city hotel. (Shutterstock)

It is time to discuss what schools can do to take pressure off children, several school heads said on Saturday.

Institutional obsession with “phenomenally high scores and super achievers” might have created a culture where many children feel suffocated, student counsellors and psychiatrists said during a session on mental health of schoolchildren, titled Lead The Way, at a city hotel.

“Honestly, I don’t have an answer on what can be done,” Mittra Sinha Roy, the principal of Adamas International School, said. “What has happened at the school in Regent Park can happen to any school. As school heads, we need to find out what we can do to identify such children who are outwardly normal but can be easily driven to desperation. We are perplexed. We need to brainstorm.”

Psychologist Parveen Shaikh said there was a need to develop a closer interaction among parents and schools. If a child shows any signs of aberration such as sleep disorder, parents need to contact the schools immediately, she said.

“We have a tendency to ignore such problems. Parents have to change the attitude. Schools, too, need to behave responsibly once alerted.”

Seema Sapru of The Heritage School said: “Parents need to be counselled. They must be told that it is fine if their children score even 70 in the examination.”

She suggested “sharing of experience among schools on mental health issues”. “The scale of the problem is touching a high,” she said.

Every year, after the board exams for example, schools are obsessed with students scoring 99 per cent or thereabouts. Those who do not score that high often do not matter. “The fear of not making it there can dog even the brightest child,” psychiatrist Ishita Sanyal said.

Schools showcase their performance with examples of high scores while admitting students, psychiatrist Sanjay Garg said. “Nothing else matters. Schools perhaps don’t realise the pitfalls. Students tend to think that marks are the be-all-and-end-all of life.”

More than 100 principals from schools across the city attended the session.

The session began a minute’s silence in memory of Krittika Paul, the student of GD Birla Centre for Education who was found dead in the school’s washroom on Friday.