A view of an entrance to Delhi University on the day the first cut off list for admissions was released, at North Campus in New Delhi.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
A view of an entrance to Delhi University on the day the first cut off list for admissions was released, at North Campus in New Delhi.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Colleges weighed down by dearth of trained student counsellors

While most top colleges, during the online orientation this year, took pains to stress that they have counsellors on call, several students said they weren’t told in detail about them or the facility.
By Kainat Sarfaraz | Hindustan Times, New Delhi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2020 10:05 AM IST

The death by suicide of a 19-year-old undergraduate student at Delhi University’s Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) has exposed the fault lines in online education and points to how psychological counselling initiatives in colleges are not reaching students effectively, stakeholders and experts said.

According to the 19-year-old girl’s parents, she was under immense academic and financial stress -- her parents were out of work and they could not afford to buy her a laptop. She had to follow her online classes on her phone. The college had also asked all second-year undergraduate students to vacate the hotel, which had added to her stress, her parents said.

While most top colleges, during the online orientation this year, took pains to stress that they have counsellors on call, several students said they weren’t told in detail about them or the facility.

Also Read | LSR teachers raise Rs 2.5 lakh to help dead student’s family

For instance, Prateek Chandera, a first-year student at Deshbandhu College, said, “During our college orientation, we were told about the yoga and meditation facilities on the campus. I can’t recall anything being said on counsellors but they did tell us that students having queries could approach certain teachers.”

Manoj Sinha, general secretary of DU Principals Association (DUPA) and principal of Aryabhatta College, said, “As administrators, we know the importance of mental health issues and consistent efforts are made in this regard. There are mentors who can be approached when students need help, at least one-third of all DU colleges have trained psychologists as counsellors.”

Through several advisories during the Covid-19 pandemic, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had asked higher educational institutes to take measures to address mental health and well-being of students including setting up helplines, regular monitoring by counsellors,mentoring by teachers, and formation of student help-groups.

The ministry of education has also set up a toll-free helpline (8445440632) to provide tele counselling to students with mental health or stress issues.

Neelima VP, 18, a first-year student pursuing BA Programme in Miranda House, said, “Student and teacher counsellors shared their contacts during the online orientation, asking us to reach out if we needed help. I think a more effective thing to do would be to organise more group counselling initiatives. In our school, we had such sessions every one or two months and it helped us.”

Parents, teachers and students have emphasised on the need for counsellors, therapists and administrators of universities and colleges to step forward and reach out to more students instead of waiting for troubled students to reach out to them.

Sanjeev Sahni, principal director of Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, said,There need to be group therapies sessions and trust building sessions on the subject to spread awareness.

He also recommended a third-party arrangement to ensure that therapists are not on the college’s payrolls. “Trust building exercises are a crucial component since students might often be scared of approaching trained counsellors if they were employed by the college or university.”

Jahnvi Kshitij, a final-year UG student of applied psychology at Gargi College, agreed. “Students are often apprehensive to approach a college counsellor with issues related to the college. In our college, our department organises multiple mental health awareness programmes. But we don’t know who the counsellor is. In order to reach out to somebody, you have to know that the person exists,” she said.

Dr Satendra Singh, a disability rights activist and a teacher at DU’s University College of Medical Sciences, said, “Despite guidelines and directives, not enough is being done to help students with their mental health problems. Following the 2009 Aman Kachroo death-by-ragging case, the Supreme Court had made it mandatory for colleges to have counsellors. Even the 2017 Mental Healthcare Act cites that suicide reduction programmes must be planned by the government and more people should be employed for mental health services.”

Dr Rajesh Sagar, professor of psychiatry at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said,Work has to be done on the social integration of all students and to de-stigmatise of mental health initiatives so that any barriers to seeking help are eliminated.”

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Farmers vandalise a Police vehicle following clashes with Delhi Police during the tractor march from Tikri border, at Nangloi Crossing, in New Delhi. (Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times)
Farmers vandalise a Police vehicle following clashes with Delhi Police during the tractor march from Tikri border, at Nangloi Crossing, in New Delhi. (Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times)

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PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:23 AM IST
  • Sporadic clashes continued between till late in the evening, even as the vast majority of the protestors continued their parade without incidence.
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Google, through its counsel, had submitted that since no relief was claimed or made-out against it, it should not be made a party in the matter.(Reuters)
Google, through its counsel, had submitted that since no relief was claimed or made-out against it, it should not be made a party in the matter.(Reuters)

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While protesters alleged that the deceased lost control of the tractor after a tear gas shell hit him, police said the incident happened when the driver hit the barricade.(Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
While protesters alleged that the deceased lost control of the tractor after a tear gas shell hit him, police said the incident happened when the driver hit the barricade.(Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)

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UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 02:50 AM IST
  • The scenes of farmers charging at police with their tractors were caught on camera.
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SKM, an umbrella collective of over 40 farmer groups, called off the tractor parade on Tuesday evening.(Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)
SKM, an umbrella collective of over 40 farmer groups, called off the tractor parade on Tuesday evening.(Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)

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  • Baldev Singh, a member of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), said they marched on the agreed upon route because they wanted the protests to remain peaceful.
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When the farmers reached Nangloi at 11 am, the cheer and celebration turned into clashes within 45 minutes, as some farmer groups breached their route agreement and tried to move on roads they did not have permission for.( Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times)
When the farmers reached Nangloi at 11 am, the cheer and celebration turned into clashes within 45 minutes, as some farmer groups breached their route agreement and tried to move on roads they did not have permission for.( Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times)

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  • At many places, local residents showered flower petals on the rally.
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Smoke billows from a tear gas shell during a tractor rally by farmers to protest against farm laws on Republic Day at Ghazipur border near Delhi(Reuters)
Smoke billows from a tear gas shell during a tractor rally by farmers to protest against farm laws on Republic Day at Ghazipur border near Delhi(Reuters)

From farm to fist: March to ITO began at Ghazipur

By karn pratap singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 02:21 AM IST
  • By 9.30am, a group of farmers started the march; they also used trolleys attached to the tractors, despite agreeing not to use them in their previous discussions with the police.
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Farmers breaking the barricades as they head towards Delhi during a tractor rally to protest against farm laws at Singhu border in New Delhi. (Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)
Farmers breaking the barricades as they head towards Delhi during a tractor rally to protest against farm laws at Singhu border in New Delhi. (Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)

From farm to fist: Violence started at Singhu, one barrier at a time

By shiv sunny, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 02:44 AM IST
  • Singhu Border has been the most prominent protest site for the farmers at Delhi’s border for the last two months.
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As sales dominate online and shops in the city, denizens share about the discounts they have been availing! (Photo: Getty Images/iStock (For representational purposes only))

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The Republic Day special offers, both offline and online, made many denizens go crazy and indulge in shopping.
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A motorist passes by a mural of frontline workers against coronavirus at RK Puram in New Delhi on July 25. Delhi’s Covid-19 recoveries have outstripped new cases on almost all days this month barring a few exceptions, after ramped-up containment and testing efforts over the past month or so. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)
A motorist passes by a mural of frontline workers against coronavirus at RK Puram in New Delhi on July 25. Delhi’s Covid-19 recoveries have outstripped new cases on almost all days this month barring a few exceptions, after ramped-up containment and testing efforts over the past month or so. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

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By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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Protesting farmers clash with the police during their tractor march on Republic Day, in New Delhi. (PTI)
Protesting farmers clash with the police during their tractor march on Republic Day, in New Delhi. (PTI)

AAP says violence has weakened the farmers’ movement, condemns attack

PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 05:42 PM IST
It is regrettable that the Central government allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent. The movement has been peaceful for the last two months, AAP said in a statement
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Farmers participate in tractor rally, during their ongoing protest against Centre's farm reform laws, near Nangloi in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)
Farmers participate in tractor rally, during their ongoing protest against Centre's farm reform laws, near Nangloi in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)

Farmers in Nangloi break police barricades, march towards Red Fort

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 05:28 PM IST
Some police personnel had to sit on the road in Nangloi to block the movement of farmers' tractor rally.
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Farmers' tractor rally reaches Red Fort to protest against farm laws on 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)
Farmers' tractor rally reaches Red Fort to protest against farm laws on 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)

DMRC closes several metro stations in Delhi farmers’ tractor rally turns violent

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Srivatsan K C
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 05:10 PM IST
Multiple closures were announced by DMRC through its social media handles as a security measure.
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Farmers at NH-24 Akshardham Ring Road in New Delhi on Tuesday, January 26. (ANI)
Farmers at NH-24 Akshardham Ring Road in New Delhi on Tuesday, January 26. (ANI)

Tractor rally: Mobile internet suspended for 12 hrs at 5 protest sites in Delhi

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2021 04:23 PM IST
The order stated that even the areas adjoining Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi areas of Delhi will witness temporary suspension of internet services
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A protesting farmer hurls back a tear gas shell towards police as they march to the capital breaking police barricades during Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, on Tuesday.(AP Photo)
A protesting farmer hurls back a tear gas shell towards police as they march to the capital breaking police barricades during Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, on Tuesday.(AP Photo)

Clashes, vandalism, tractors on roads: How farmers' march turned violent

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2021 04:07 PM IST
Tens of thousands of protesting farmers drove long lines of tractors on roads in central Delhi (ITO and Minto Road) on Tuesday, breaking through police barricades and defying tear gas.
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Police gather as farmers protest during a tractor rally at the Inner Ring Road in New Delhi, India, on January 26, 2021. (Bloomberg)
Police gather as farmers protest during a tractor rally at the Inner Ring Road in New Delhi, India, on January 26, 2021. (Bloomberg)

Tractor rally violence: Internet services snapped in parts of Delhi-NCR

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Harshit Sabarwal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2021 04:48 PM IST
An official statement issued by the Union home ministry (MHA) said that internet was suspended in Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi and adjoining areas.
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