A final year student of Economics at St Stephen’s College, Upasana Sahu, was found hanging by the ceiling fan in her east Delhi residence last Thursday. She was rushed to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, where she was declared brought dead. In a three-page long suicide note she apologized to her parents, and held herself solely responsible for her death.
Upasana had limited eyesight, and had taken admission into the college through the quota for disabled students. Although she was never an outstanding student, she maintained a fairly good academic record and participated in other department activities as well. In fact, she had already been placed at Infosys by the College’s placement cell.
However, failure in the university examinations came as a rude shock to her, following which she ended her life. Her distraught parents regretted that she didn’t speak to them before taking this drastic step, for that would have perhaps saved her.
That Upasana was reduced to such a miserable situation is a grave reflection on the kind of premium our society places on a single system of evaluation.
What is even more appalling is the near absence of efforts to deal with the problem. Even though there are a fair number of counselors at colleges and otherwise, little is being done to address the causative agent of the problem. Much needs to be done to make education a more engaging experience, and not one that is exclusively result-oriented. Internal assessment is a step in this direction, but clearly not enough.
Further, the government needs to invest in expansion of infrastructure, in order to ease the pressure off students and make education a more enjoyable affair.