Neerada Reddy Committee report gathers dust

Recommendations to be followed by corporate colleges are still to be implemented

It’s been over a decade since the suicides of Intermediate students in corporate colleges stirred the collective conscience of Telugu people forcing the government to constitute a committee headed by M. Neerada Reddy, the then Vice-Chairperson of Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE), to study, in depth, the reasons for the unfortunate deaths and suggest remedies.

In the last ten years, there has been a spike in the number of suicides by students. The Neerada Reddy Committee report, in all these years, looked at these suicides haplessly, gathering dust in some remote corner of a government office.

The successive governments just let the suicides continue ignoring the recommendations made by the committee, while the corporate colleges spiralled with media blitzkrieg laying a dragnet that continues to suck not just students but the middle-class parents by selling a dream.

‘Concentration camps’ and ‘Hijacked students’ were the words used by the committee to describe the pathetic conditions in which the students were forced to live in. Classroom conditions were dismal, while the academic schedules stretched to 16 hours and such atmosphere would tire out the teenagers both mentally and physically which their bodies were unable to accept.

Meeting parents or siblings was discouraged in the name of discipline and disturbance to academics. The evaluation process was intense and unscientific that the Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) never authorised the colleges to follow.

The study listed out an important social aspect from the suicides that most of them belonged to lower middle-class families from rural or semi-urban backgrounds of all castes and creed who were never exposed to such intense competition.

The report suggested that setting up of a grievance box in each college would help students express their views while those grievances be examined by prominent social activists of the city. Ban on advertisements, scrapping the weekly tests and leisure time for all students to play some sports or relax in the evening hours was suggested. It also wanted ban on advertisements in the media as claims were half-baked and misleading.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 8:26:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/neerada-reddy-committee-report-gathers-dust/article19898403.ece

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