It’s not just exams and admissions that stress out city’s students. These days, relationships and how one looks too are a constant thorn in their side.
At least this is what an analysis of calls received by a helpline run by the Delhi government’s education department and SCERT shows. The helpline Yuva has received more than 20,000 calls in 10 months, a sizeable chunk of which pertains to personal problems.
In fact so overburdened is the helpline with all these calls that the education department has decided to double the number of counsellors from two to four.
“It is natural to get calls related to exam stress and admissions. But over a period of time, calls regarding how one looks, relationships with other students and emotional issues are increasing manifold,” said a senior Delhi government official.
According to officials, a number of student callers also want to learn to make big bucks fast so that they can buy the latest gadgets their friends possess.
“Even issues such as parents restricting the use of social networking sites are raised. Sometimes they talk for hours. In cases where we feel the stress levels are high, we call the students for face-to-face counselling,” added the official.
One question that is on the minds of many youngsters is whether getting into a relationship at this stage is the right thing. “A boy called us to know how he could earn extra money to spend on his girlfriend,” said a senior official.
Given the onslaught of emotional problems, school authorities claim that counsellors are providing unstinting support to students.
“There are lots of relationship issues as well as those pertaining to professional aspirations. Students need a neutral perspective on a particular issue from an adult, so they come to us. Though parents claim to be friendly to their children, yet kids are unable to discuss such issues with them,” said Aparna Singh, counsellor, Carmel Convent School.
This trend has also prompted schools to introduce counselling activities beyond what they normally extend to students."Counsellors are also inundated with problems related to adolescence. We have separate programmes for boys and girls in school, which are conducted by outside experts. Even the school’s counsellor and teachers aren’t privy to these sessions. The experts come twice or thrice a year and discuss the students’ problems — from their academic woes to sexual problems," said Usha Ram, principal, Laxman Public School.