In view of a high number of student suicides in the state, the Andhra Pradesh government today warned educational institutions against putting undue pressure on them and "playing with their lives".
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said students are "being turned into machines and robots".
The House had a short discussion on the issue today.
"There are various reasons that are driving students to suicide, the prime cause being mounting stress and pressure. Even parents are exerting pressure on kids for high score. Performance grading of students in colleges, health (problems), family problems, love failure, depression...Are some of the reasons," the chief minister said.
"Some students are ending their lives (because they are) not willing to stay in hostels. Some are unable to cope with the high standards set by their institutes," Naidu added.
There is no "physical literacy" among students as they are forced to do nothing else but study from 5 am to 10.30 pm, the CM said.
"Even on Sundays and holidays students are forced to appear for tests. No sports or games, no extra-curricular activity, no television or newspapers and no social responsibility. Students are being turned into machines and robots. This is very disturbing," Naidu said.
Edcuational institutes have no grievance redressal mechanism and hapless students can't open up about their woes even to the parents, the CM said.
"Educational institutes should adopt new techniques and not resort to long hours of teaching. They should infuse new skills in students and enhance their creativity. For this, creative teachers are required," said Naidu.
Education should be fun and students should enjoy it, he said, adding, "It's not right to turn students into machines and robots. We will severely punish such managements."
His government was incorporating social responsibility in education and involving students in activities such as traffic management, campaign against open defecation and other social programs, Naidu said.
Human Resources Development Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao said that 37 students of intermediate (std XI,XII) classes committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh between 2012 and 2017, including 29 from three major corporate (private) colleges.
The state government had set up two committees to study the reasons for student suicides, he said.
"We have initiated a series of steps to ensure compliance of all norms by the managements of educational institutions. We have imposed heavy penalties ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh on some managements and de-recognised 237 colleges this year. We also issued notices to 194 colleges for running hostels illegally," Rao said.
A toll-free number is receiving on average 41 complaints every day against college managements for conducting extra classes and operating on holidays, he said.
"We are sending inspection teams to colleges to ensure that they strictly comply with norms. We are taking serious measuress to relieve the students of stress," the minister added.