Every year the top institute of technical education, Indian Institute of Technology (Abbreviated as IIT) conducts an entrance test. This test is taken up by more than 8 lakh students every year. To crack this examination students start preparation generally from 11th class but today parents are making their children prepare for the IIT entrance exam from 10th class or 9th class. Students join coaching institutes in which the level of teaching is higher than the school teaching. Kota in Rajasthan is the hub of the coaching institute for the preparation for the IIT entrance exam. Students from different states reach Kota to prepare for the exam. For most people, this seems all right as they can see many success stories from Kota every year.
But this result is followed by a grim reaper.
According to the India Today article dated December 26, 2018 there had been more than 15 suicides in Kota from January 2018. Kota is regarded as the suicide capital of Rajasthan. Here is a clipping of the article from the Hindustan Times.
As you look into various case studies of the suicides in Kota two reasons are very common. First is that the student wanted to become something else but was forced to prepare for the exam to become an engineer and others who were preparing for the exam willingly were unable to cope with the pressure, inculcating the fear of failure, unable to fulfill parents expectation and so on.
According to 2015 data from the National Crime Records Bureau, 8934 (6.7% of all suicides) students are committing suicide every year. That’s one student every hour.
Various studies shows that the reason behind the suicide is unnecessary academic pressure which children face from school, peers, parents, and themselves.
Various professors have conducted research in this field finding the main cause of stress in the students.
According to the research paper ‘Academic Stress, Parental Pressure, Anxiety and Mental Health among Indian High School Students’ in which 190 students of class 11th and 12th of three government-aided schools and three private aided schools were surveyed. It showed a shocking result.
Here is the direct quote from the research paper.
“Nearly two-thirds (63.5%) of the students reported stress due to academic pressure – with no significant differences across gender, age, grade, and several other personal factors. About two-thirds (66%) of the students reported feeling pressure from their parents for better academic performance. The degree of parental pressure experienced differed significantly across the educational levels of the parents, mother’s occupation, number of private tutors, and academic performance. In particular, children of fathers possessing a lower education level (non-graduates) were found to be more likely to perceive pressure for better academic performance. About one-thirds (32.6%) of the students were symptomatic of psychiatric caseness and 81.6% reported examination-related anxiety.” 
66% of the students reported feeling pressure from their parents for better academic performance.
So the question arises, why parents pressurizing their children. Is it that they are not well-wishers of their children?
The answer is No.
Parents are pressurizing their children because they do not find any other way of survival in this modern way of life. They themselves are suffering from this stress and they are working day and night for their children to make them get a good education. Why there is so much struggle?
The struggle is due to this propaganda of competition and survival in the market.
What is the meaning of education? Is education is associated with only survival in this world? If that is the case then animals don’t take any form of formal education as we take in schools, college, but still, nature provides them everything and they are able to survive easily. Even we say that we have achieved this and that, still we are getting diseased, there is death, war, natural disaster, man-made disaster example Chernobyl nuclear explosion which one of worst man-made disaster.
Srila Prabhupada says in one lecture, “If one does not understand what is God, his education is useless; it has no meaning. What is that education? Will that education save him from death? Then what is the value of this education? Your real problem is birth, death, old age and disease. Can this material education stop it? Is the scientist able to stop one’s old age? And does anyone, man, any man, wants to become old? No, nobody wants. Everyone wants to keep himself youthful. But can the science stop this, that he will not become old? He must become old. Then where is the education value? You cannot solve your problem, so what is the meaning of education? Education, knowledge, means you have solved your problems. They are trying to do that, temporary problem. But ultimate problem they cannot solve. Therefore the value of this education is useless. śrama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8]. It is simply laboring after something, that’s all.”(Morning walk conversation 23rd May, 1975)
If human beings are so much smart than animals then, survival of existence should be easy for us, not difficult. Then why the teachers in coaching institute, colleges etc. teaching us to work like asses.
The answer lies behind the walls of the market. Big- Big industrialists, businessmen, are simply earning by fulfilling the bodily desires of the common man. Our senses are always agitated, and we want everything new, so these industries produce newer and newer technology to do sense gratification. To create new things, the industrialists need donkey-like workforce which are lured by huge yearly packages, apartment, car, etc. The whole concept of Total Quality management is based on customer satisfaction.
So to get a donkey-like workforce they changed the education pattern.
This is not the purpose of the education system.
Education is to understand the purpose of life and get out of the material world which is full of miseries.
lābho jīveta yāvatā
nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ
Translation- Life’s desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s works.
By the mercy of Krishna, we have got everything we require for survival from the nature. The social system given by Krishna, Varnashram system is based on work and quality not birth.
In the varnashram system, it is easy for a child to do work according to his own quality without any compulsion.
catur-varnyam maya srstam
catur-varnyam—the four divisions of human society; maya—by Me; srstam—created; guna—quality; karma—work; vibhagasah—in terms of division.
Within Varnashram system, every person works according to his qualities and contributes to society which automatically fulfills all the necessary requirements for a healthy society. Whether it be economics, education, military, etc. And all the goal of this Varnashram system is saṁsiddhir Hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13), to please the Personality of Godhead, which is the ultimate goal of life.
Srila Prabhupada writes in Teachings of Lord Chaitanya” That work which pleases the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the highest work, and that science or knowledge which places one in full Krsna consciousness is the highest knowledge.”
Srila Prabhupada farm community project gives students a perfect environment for inculcating spiritual knowledge without this so-called modern struggle of survival. Students in the farm community project are healthy as they are eating everything pure which is offered to Krishna and they are peaceful as they are totally away from this city life and involved in service of Krishna, which is the ultimate of goal of life.
Student at Nandgram farm community, Gujarat, India.
I have seen devotees in cities who are so much obsessed with IIT and other institutes, making their children work hard to get admission in these colleges. For this they have even compromised the devotion of their child.
(Disciple of H.H. Bhakti Vikas Swami(Disciple of Srila Prabhupada))
- Varma PK. The great Indian middle class. New Delhi. Penguin; 1998.
- Academic Stress, Parental Pressure, Anxiety and Mental Health among Indian High School Students