Saturday, May 19, 2007

[Hindu] "Mixed feelings about life at college"

Aarti Dhar

Raghavan Committee survey report

NEW DELHI: More than half the college students consider the first few days on the campus as a fresher a positive experience, with many of them calling it an opportunity to explore the unknown, making new friends, an experience far different from the school days in terms of excitement, change and similar other feelings.

One in every five respondents of a survey carried out by the Raghavan Committee during the course of preparing its recommendations to check the menace of ragging in educational institutions indicated a mixed feeling, neither too effusive in terms of the significance attached to college life, nor any negative emotion.

However, as many as 28 per cent of the 10,470 responses were outright negative with experiences ranging from loneliness, dullness and fear of the unknown to being overawed and living in anxiety about being ragged and teased by seniors.

While more than half the responses were positive in terms of dealing with the question of early life at college, questions about early days in hostel brought out only 16 per cent positive responses.


A question on expectations from the new institution that they join brought forth an expected response from the freshers with as many as 63 per cent desiring a good academic environment, good infrastructure and good placement opportunities. The second highest number of respondents (15 per cent) worried about discipline and care in the new environment, and 11 per cent voted for freedom.

As many as 44 per cent of the respondents said they expect their seniors to guide and help them in academic matters, the second largest group of respondents (37 per cent) looked forward to friendship and affection from seniors, while 10 per cent wanted to escape ragging and another 3 per cent did not want anything from their seniors.

Asked how they make new friends, the strategy was helping the strangers (33 per cent) and through an affable smiling approach (47 per cent). There were only a few extreme instances of making friends through aggressive behaviour - 4 per cent said they did so by teasing and 1 per cent through scaring off the strangers. These extreme cases, according to the Raghavan Committee, are the potential "raggers".

In reactions to bullying, the largest number (46 per cent) of respondents said they felt angry, and 28 per cent said they felt insulted when bullied.

Strangely, as many as 17 per cent of students said they felt important even though subjected to ragging, while nearly half the respondents (48 per cent) said they enjoyed the experience of being bullied, and 22 per cent said they would stay away from the institution if bullied. Six per cent were even willing to leave studies if subjected to being bullied or teased.

The questionnaire asked whether the respondents would be happy to be friends with someone who hurt them. Even though 55 per cent gave an emphatic no to this suggestion, two in every five respondents (40 per cent) would not mind mending relationships even if they were hurt.

An overwhelming 72 per cent of the respondents said they want well-described procedures and guidelines to regulate the relationship between junior and seniors.

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