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Rising student suicides in KP go unnoticed

Updated September 07, 2018

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PESHAWAR: Though on the rise, the incidence of students committing suicide over failure to get good marks in examinations for admission to professional colleges has gone unnoticed.

After the declaration of annual results of matriculation and intermediate examinations, the teenagers unable to control their emotions of despair, failing their teachers and parents and committing suicide don’t make headlines but certainly indicate a very complicated issue of almost every home.

Zeeshan of Sheen Gakh village in Parachinar, Kurram tribal district, took his life out of despair.

A student of second year pre-engineering course in Edwards College, Zeeshan committed suicide in a private hostel of Peshawar. The reason was his failure to secure the required marks in an intermediate examination for admission to an engineering college, the locals said.

Psychiatrist suggests counselling, recreational facilities for students

“Zeeshan was our student and he always stood first in his class. He was a quiet boy,” remembers Kohsar Public School principal Mohammad Hidayat Khan.

Neighbour Ibrar Hussain said the entire village was upset at Zeeshan’s suicide as he was a good student and had always secured good marks in exams.

He said the deceased’s father worked in Australia and that he was the oldest among his siblings.

However, Zeeshan, perhaps lacking any comfort and counseling at his life’s crucial times, found it to be unbearable to share his disappointment at not being able to secure good marks in Intermediate examination and took pills to end his life alone in a room of a private hostel far away from his parents and relatives.

This is not the first time that a teenager has committed suicide just because of not being able to secure good marks in examination. Just last month after intermediate examination results were declared, four students in Chitral district, including two girls, reportedly took their lives, while one got injured trying to blow his face with a gun in an effort to end his life due to failure in examination.

With ever-mounting pressure from parents and teachers and tough competition to get good grades to become doctor or engineer, the trend of teenagers committing suicide after failing to secure good marks is on the rise but it goes unnoticed.

“They are young, inexperienced with impulsive actions. The personality is not yet developed so as a reaction to scolding over less percentage or less marks in exam develops a pressure that forces him or her to commit suicide,” said noted psychiatrist Dr Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

He proposed an advisory or counseling facility for such students at schools and colleges saying the counselor or teachers having such training should be able to pick up early symptoms if a student is behaving in a certain manner that could lead to his mental breakdown or ending his life.

Dr Hussain said there were many causes and symptoms of suicide but in these cases where teenagers had committed suicide after failing to secure good marks reason is clear. Teenagers are impulsive and they could not handle failure or disappointment, he said.

“It is an impulsive and emotional reaction to anything from scolding from parents or disappointment in oneself,” he said.

Dr Hussain suggests not only counseling for students aged between 14-21 but also more recreational facilities for them to vent their feelings.

“There is school and then there is tuition class and again religious education in seminary or mosque. Students spend so much time under pressure,” he said asking schools to have trained teachers to pick up students showing anxiety, despair, anger or any unusual behaviour.

“The parents will have to learn to ease pressure on their children and stop forcing them further to take competition of going to either engineering or medical colleges. Parents should let their children look for other fields and interest, too,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018