The cream of civil society which met in Visakhapatnam today felt that there is an urgent need for the establishment of an independent and autonomous Regulatory Authority for corporate colleges. The meeting went in depth into the causes of student suicide cases of corporate colleges, a phenomenon especially found in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Presiding over the meeting, Prof K V Ramana, Chairperson of People For India Forum and Former Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University said, “Suicides by students is a phenomenon not generally found in Govt. Colleges and Degree Colleges. But, of late, this has become a regular feature in Corporate Colleges alone. Therefore, the entire fault lies with the system of education found in the Corporate Colleges. The atmosphere prevailing in corporate colleges is causing serious depression among the young minds. The suicides in corporate colleges are more psychological in nature. Students are made to study for about 17 hours a day. This is nothing short of ‘atrocity’ on the children. The parental pressure adds to their stress. Especially the students belonging to Dalit communities are subject to intangible stress both from teachers and their co-students. It is the time the civil society reacted to this menace which is eating into the vitals of the education system in vogue today. The problem is more particular in the state of Andhra Pradesh since major Corporate colleges are owned by persons ruling the state”.
Dr. C Radhakanth, eminent Psychiatrist in the city felt that a notable feature in corporate colleges is that the students do not have Unions or Associations unlike in Govt. Colleges and Universities. “Study more, learn less” appears to be the slogan reigning in the corporate college culture. The students in corporate colleges are not taught alternative ways of achievement. They are only taught that there is only one way to success – “Read. Read again and read again”, “Repetition and Mugging is a methodology for mentally retarded people. Unfortunately, this approach is inspiring the families also and they are getting carried away by high ranks alone. The locus of control on the minds of the students is now found firmly in the hands of corporate college managements and not anymore with the students. This situation must change urgently”. Said Dr. Radhakanth.
Sri EAS Sarma, IAS, Retired Energy Secretary and President of Forum for Better Visakha, felt that the main reason for this state of affairs and many other maladies in our society is that Education and Health are progressively handed over to corporates which are only profit mongers. Again, many parents are treating their children as capital for their future. Committees like the Chakrapani Committee may come and go. As long as the recommendations contained in such reports are sought to be implemented mechanically and measures initiated are palliative in nature, it is of no use to the community. The approach should be scientific and the measures should touch the basic aspects, Sri Sarma said.
Prof Bala Mohan Das, Former Vice Chancellor, Acharya Nagarjuna University, felt that not only the students of corporate colleges but also their parents need to be imparted counseling. And, counseling should not be done by some routine professionals, but by qualified clinical psychologists. Only then the unfortunate suicides by innocent children can be prevented.
The other intellectuals who participated and expressed their views include Prof M Lakshmipathi Raju, Adjunct Professor, DSN Law University, Prof K Radha Krishna Murthy, Retired Prof. of Sociology, Prof N Venkata Rao, Dept. of Education, Andhra University, Smt. D V U Valli, Dept of Social Work, Sri Y Appala Reddy (IYFS), Sri Lakshmana Rao, Kum G Priyanka (SFI), Sri A V Ramana Rao (VARWA), Sri P Rajesh (NRI), Sri V K Sarma.
Sri B B Ganesh, Convenor, PFI, welcomed the gathering, Sri B L Narayana, Vice Chairperson, PFI, summed up the discussion and proposed vote of Thanks.