A student, Muzamil, committed suicide in Bhakkar, a remote district of Southern Punjab, after securing poor grades in the Higher Secondary School Certificate exams. According to local media reports, Muzamil went missing two days ago and his dead body was found from a nearby canal. The sudden death of a young student shocked many in the area.
Muzamil wrote a note for his parents before taking his life. “Dear Parents: Please forgive me for this act. I could not secure good grades, therefore, I have lost all my respect. I tried my level best to get good grades. Please forgive me. Allah Hafiz,” he wrote.
One of his classmates at Government College told GVS that he [Muzamil] was a hardworking student. “But he was very upset after we received the result. He wanted not to face his parents who were expecting too much from him. He was a student who did not take an interest in sports or other things because of his studies. He was afraid all the time that whether he will be able to please his parents or not,” he said.
In Pakistan, every year many students commit suicide when they do not get results as per the expectations of their parents. Dr. Nabila Ajmal who is Assistant Professor at a Government College believes that “it’s the failure of our education system that doesn’t give an understanding of knowledge to confidently cope with ordinary challenges one has to face. Failure is to be considered a part of success. But students are not acquainted with such basic concepts in schools or colleges”.
She also thinks that cut-throat competition is dominating the lives of students, parents, and teachers. “Everyone is,” she regretted, “in the race to be declared a winner.” When students do not perform well for any reason, they look for refuge to avoid social pressure and criticism. It often leads them to find out permanent solutions to temporary challenges.
Syeda Aminah Gilani who teaches Politics and International Relations at Kinnaird College, Lahore believes that “more than the system it is the parents and teachers, in short guardians who are responsible for such devastating end of precious lives. The parents need to give breathing space to their children by not making them the center of their life’s unfulfilled expectations. While the teachers need to make the evaluation system about more than just rote learning”.
— Pakistan News (@pakistaninews) September 8, 2019
She explained how this system of expectations causes heavy losses to families and loved ones of those who commit suicide. “Though the parents and families in our society try to pressurize students either to choose education path of their own choice or draw highly ambitious achievements milestones for their children hyphenating it with their children’s future well-being.
In both cases the socio-cultural dynamics based upon the glorification of family name coupled with face-saving and honor-building for parents within the family circle and outside remains a strong alibi,” she said. To counter prevailing culture, Ms. Gilani suggests that ”thee socio-cultural dynamics require activism on the part of civil society in order to sensitize the parents over the matter of fatal anxiety and depression caused by these factors”.
Ms. Gilani who teaches in one of the prestigious institutions in Lahore lamented that in Pakistan the teaching system is obsolete and needs overall revision to be reformed. “In my opinion, teacher-student relationship and the obsolete teaching methodologies are equally responsible for leading the students towards the pit of extreme dissatisfaction. Teaching system based upon the redundant one-sided information delivery and evaluation criteria for students that require them to simply cram words needs to be addressed,” she highlighted.
Authorities in Pakistan are expected to look into the causes behind such tragic incidents and ensure a well-thought policy to counter it. Young students are the assets of this country, therefore, their lives must be protected by the state.