The Big StoryNovember 17, 2020
00:12:4611.74 MB

LSR Student’s Suicide A Glimpse Into Deep Digital & Social Divide in Education

On 2nd November, Aishwarya Reddy — a second year BSc Mathematics student from Lady Shri Ram College for Women hanged herself at her residence in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district. What forced the 19-year-old meritorious student from a prestigious college in Delhi to take her own life?

She left an apologetic note behind in Telugu saying “Because of me, my family is facing many financial problems. I am a burden for my family. My education is a burden. If I can’t study, I can’t live."

As this prompted a demand for justice outside the college gate, and fundraising initiatives from students to help their lesser privileged peers, this also perhaps is a moment of reckoning for the educational system to acknowledge how the pandemic has widened an already existing deep divide in the education sector.

There have been many more cases of student suicides in the pandemic months that directly resulted from the same circumstances that Aishwarya had to face — a lack of access to digital devices even as digital education gets an ardent push, or from the lack of a state-funded support for students who come from lesser privileged backgrounds.

Yet, as thousands and thousands of students in India face extreme difficulties in keeping up with their education currently, have the state and educational institutions treated the right to education as a matter of urgency in the pandemic? While the concerned administrations now try to evade responsibility for the circumstances that led to Aishwarya's suicide, where does the buck stop? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Ambarish Rai, National Convener, Right to Education Forum
Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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