Exam Stress Leads to Too Many Suicides in India

According to an article in the Times of India, there were more than 16 suicides a day during a peak exam period in the 2006-2007 school year. “The sense of failure comes from the perception that success in exams is the key to success in life,” says a counselor and family therapist. “The burden of expectations — their own and their parents — makes them feel that only coming first is good enough.” The therapist continues, “One should always strive for excellence but failure isn’t a catastrophe.”

Indeed, as the article notes, failure

can even spur success. Thomas Edison famously told a reporter who asked him how it felt to have failed 700 times to invent the electric light. “I have not failed 700 times…I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.”

2 thoughts on “Exam Stress Leads to Too Many Suicides in India

  1. How the elite class does education in India, China, Singapore (Student mentioned Japan), South Korea, run so contrary to how I believe young people learn, that I find myself no longer able to stomach these articles. The scary part is that we are trying to import these same tactics here.

    I read a New York Times piece last year on two elite schools in South Korea. It describes a student’s day. She stirs herself awake at five, long commute, is in class from 8 to six, studies at school until eleven and then heads home for the round trip arduous commute. Once home, she then begins to cram. Cram is a big word in Asia. Cram schools, they call them over there.. My daughter studies Japanese and her teacher talks about the cram schools. You know what happens when the kids finally get a coveted university slot? They start partying like mad!

    Back to this beleaguered student. When asked how she feels about her long day, she replied, I am proud of myself that I endured yet another day.

    Yes, these kids beat the heck out of ours in standardized math scores. But studies are showing that many of these young people lack initiative. I caught an article the other day about how young Japanese no longer wish to be promoted. Too many never saw their fathers. We read how professional women in Japan don’t want to get married because they feel they will just be serving their office drone husband. A cartoon about office drones has hit an all time popularity high in Japan. And let’s not forge the refusers, a new trend whereby disaffected young Japanese won’t come out of their rooms.

    Our country was built on initiative. A bunch of rebels who told England where she could go. A bunch of rebels and renegades. Not very compliant, men with a dream. Are our educational institutions cultivating that today? Sometimes you just have to say no. Brilliance, initiative, creativity and imagination are built on seeing the world through a different lens.


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