Action sought against teachers who ‘victimise students’

In the wake of the many suicides on college campuses and in homes by students, the police urged college managements, parents and peers, to show restraint in handling emotional / neurotic behaviour among those exhibiting these symptoms.

Colleges are organising sessions to motivate students to develop a positive attitude towards life, while the Coimbatore City Police Commissioner recently called for a meeting of academic heads to impress upon them to avoid ‘moral policing’ but rather approach students and their problems in a friendly way.

But certain instances that students are bringing to light in the aftermath of these incidents suggest that the college managements could have used a more “humane approach” that could have averted these suicides.

The ones relating to love failures were not blamed on the teachers and managements because in many cases there was no disclosure by the deceased. But students say that the ones relating to lack of proficiency in language and adjustment problems could have been dealt more maturely by the teachers concerned.

Sometimes, students from English medium schools were not allowed to mingle with those from Tamil medium schools, they say.

In some cases, like the one in the case of a student of Christ the King Engineering College in Karamadai who was given Transfer Certificate on Thursday, there are conflicting issues. The student S. Praveen Kumar, a third year mechanical engineering student claims that he was given a TC under duress after having been on suspension for more than a month, for “no valid reason”. He attempted suicide on Thursday night.

However, S.V. Saravanan, principal of the college, says that the student was involved in a lot of trouble and was repeatedly warned. The parents, who were called many times, failed to turn up to learn about their “ward’s behaviour”.

“When the father finally came on Thursday and learnt about his son’s actions, he voluntarily agreed to take the TC,” Mr. Saravanan said.

A hunger protest was held in Coimbatore on Friday by students from city colleges urging action against teachers of colleges who “victimise students and push them to take extreme decisions”.

They made a special reference to a suicide of girl at a college in Tiruchengode, and of another at an engineering college in Coimbatore.

E. Balagurusamy, former Member of the State Planning Commission, said that it was true that students in the first year were very vulnerable.

“Senior teachers are needed to handle first year students because they are at a very crucial stage of transition and hence need mentoring. It is disturbing that so many suicides have occurred in such a short span of time. Managements have to do something fast. This becomes even more vital because the Government is inactive. Even when someone dies in an accident, the Government pays compensation, but when so many students die, there are no steps taken to look into these cases,” he said.

He urged parents and students to make representations to the Committee constituted under the chairmanship of former controller of examinations of Anna University D.V. Jayabalan, which is in-charge of looking into all problems relating to students in higher educational institutions.