SCERT appoints mobile counselling psychologists in schools

Everything seemed to be falling in place for a 17-year-old girl from the city who was about to take her Plus-Two public examinations in a couple of weeks.

Teachers always had high regard for her and she was good at her studies. Her father had already secured her a seat in a private medical college by paying a huge capitation fee. She had no reasons to worry. Yet she decided to quit school and apply as a private candidate through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

The reason- she could not stand the pressure from her parents to perform well and fell into a depression. The incident came to light when officials of School Education Department - whose nod was mandatory for issuing Transfer Certificates – made an enquiry with her parents. A senior official here says that this is the second such instance in the past few weeks. Earlier if it was schools, which put pressure on students to keep up its name, now the role of parents in pressurising students is on the rise.

State Nodal Officer for District Mental Health Programme, C. Ramasubramanian, says there is a steep rise in psychological problems among school students. Children were becoming victims to imaginative desires of parents. “For most parents now, the only goal is to earn money and indirectly they perceive their children as a money making machine. Parents disregard other merits like emotional intelligence which includes compassion, sharing and problem solving,” the doctor says.Dr. Ramasubramanian, who has been in the field of psychiatry for over four decades, cautions parents against providing both “reckless freedom and restricted freedom” to children and advocates the need for “reasonable freedom.” Parents must invest quality time in children and just not money, he adds.

S. Arulvadivu, the SCERT psychologist for Coimbatore, Tirupur and the Nilgiris districts, says she comes across students who forget all answers on just seeing the question paper. Some had complained of feeling drowsy while many were just plain scared at the prospect of taking the public examinations.

In many cases, students find out that they do not know the answer for the first question, then become nervous and waste nearly an hour trying to recall the answer before moving on to other questions. She advises students to thoroughly go over the question paper at least twice before starting the answers.

She counsels around 300 Government school students per day and comes across students in fragile mental state and some even with suicidal tendencies. In such cases, she says that the teachers are instructed to continue motivating the student.

In a bid to tackle this issue, State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has appointed mobile counselling psychologists across the state to help students improve academic performance and handle stress.

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