A new survey in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala, has confirmed what is already - academic pressure is making life miserable for our school children.
They also seem to think fathers are not of much help and prefer to confide their problems to their mothers only. Of course drug abuse is becoming a serious problem on the campus.
School students covered by a survey conducted by the Thrani Counselling Centre said an overdose of studies made them exhausted. Mental stress, not being able to take food on time and physical exertion were also cited as reasons for such exhaustion.
Twenty two per cent of students surveyed said they could not have breakfast at home. More than half who had food from home said they took breakfast in a hurry. Nine per cent of those who could not have breakfast from home said they ate on the way to school.
The survey was conducted recently among students in standards 10, 11 and 12 in four schools in the city.
The questionnaire used for the survey was designed to track the daily activities of the participating students, Thrani coordinator Mary Hazel Thomas said at a press conference here on Saturday.
A majority of students surveyed said they had to wake up before 5.30 a.m. and could go to bed only after 10.30 p.m. Only 35 per cent said they felt energetic when they got up.
The survey found that 83 per cent students did not raise doubts in class.
Of these 43 per cent, were unsure about the level of their own knowledge, 24 per cent were not confident enough and 20 percent, said they were afraid of adverse reactions from their classmates.
Very few students said they approached their parents with doubts. More than a quarter of the sample population said they hated or were afraid of one or more teachers.
Only 17.6 per cent of students said they had no problem in remembering lessons taught in class. Only 16.8 per cent said they had no problems concentrating while studying. The survey found that only 0.2 per cent of students could concentrate for more than 30 minutes on any one activity. For 23 per cent of students, this period was less than 10 minutes, Mary Thomas said.
Nearly 75 per cent of students said they were stressed as a result of class assignments. For most students the stress was caused as a result of insufficient time to complete the assignments. 71.6 per cent of students said they were not systematic in studies.
While 51 per cent of students said they discussed intimate matters with their mother, only 11 per cent said the same about fathers.
This is despite the fact that 75 per cent of students said they had a " good equation" with their fathers.
On the drug abuse front, the survey revealed that 1.13 per cent of students polled used heroin, ganja or brown sugar. While 20 percent of such students used it once and stopped, 40 per cent used it occasionally and an equal percentage, regularly.
The use of pan masala (a cheap Indian tobacco product) was detected among 1.29 per cent of children. Half these students used two packets a day while 30 per cent used more than three packets a day. Of the 2 per cent students who smoked, 26 per cent said they smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day. Six per cent of the students polled said they used alcoholic drinks.
Perhaps the only bright side of the coin is that none of them reported sexual abuse.