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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

mArks over life? Dna speak up

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Marks over life?
Published: Wednesday, Mar 2, 2011, 2:41 IST
By Sudhanshu Athalye | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Early Tuesday morning, thousands of SSC students woke up to face the first day of their board exams with a mix of excitement, anticipation and fear.

While taking a bath, 15-year-old Zainab Aslam Shaikh, resident of Jay Vijay Nagar in Mira Road and Std X student of Don Bosco school, must have had only one thought going through her mind — her overall SSC percentage. After finishing her shower, she walked into the bedroom. Her mother thought she was just putting on her clothes. She had no clue what her daughter was about to do.

Zainab is the first case of suicide during the SSC exams this year. According to Sangita Kulshreshtha, her neighbour and a teacher at St Xavier’s school, Zainab was far from a weak student. In fact, she was excellent in her studies and always scored over 90% marks in all her exams. Only a day before, Zainab had told her that having scored more than 90% in prelim exams, she wanted to cross the 95% mark to secure admission in a good college. In retrospect, Sangita admits the young girl looked tense as she said this.

Zainab lived along with her mother and younger brother. Her father had left them about eight years ago. Her mother works as a jari maker to run the household.

Despite being a good student, the pressure of performing well has claimed another young soul.

Mohamed Umar Gafoor, neighbour of the Shaikh family said that Zainab had probably fallen victim to competition pressure precisely because she was such a good student and there were high expectations of her.

With 24 more days to go before the SSC board exams end, Zainab’s story serves as a reminder to parents, teachers and families of Std X students on the importance of being calm and supportive. And for the students themselves, it hopefully brings home the message that nothing, especially an examination, is worth wasting a life over.

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