Who would worry about his son getting beaten to death in the most prestigious academic institution of the country? No one would; however, this is the fear engulfing most parents in Bangladesh now. The horrific killing of the engineering student at the Buet dormitory has brought back the topic of ragging or hazing in higher educational institutions in Bangladesh.
Many Buet students anonymously have talked to different media outlets about the gruesome incidents of ragging that happen every week at Buet dormitories. Victims are saying that bullying, verbal abuse, and physical torture are frequent in the dorms. The country is shocked and saddened by the harrowing incident – some brightest students of the country killed their fellow student. And the killers' political affiliation almost put a cherry on the top. We are in denial to address the issue of ragging in our universities in any case – be it is linked with politics or other motives.
Education Minister Dipu Moni on Thursday urged all to launch social movements to curb ragging. The problem of ragging has become prevalent in higher education institutes, especially in professional universities like medical or engineering. The practice of humiliation is passed down from batch to batch in some of the institutions for years. It has become mandatory to create awareness on raging and its long-lasting effects on students. To save our children from the harm, we have to start anti-ragging movements in academic institutions.
We have just observed the World Mental Health Day. Stress is one of the most critical consequences of ragging that leads a person towards psychological, physiological, cognitive, and behavioural problems. Students go through severe mental stress; some suffer psychological disorders while others embrace physical disabilities after ragging. Different findings suggest that the physical discomfort of ragging follows by the drastic change in their attitude and behaviour. Sometimes, the humiliation is as intense as leading to suicide.
Ragging is an age-old worldwide phenomenon. Similar lynching incidents took place in India, Philippines, Indonesia, and the USA several times. In the US, 47 percent of students are ragged before they even enter higher studies. It has frequently caused a broad spectrum of physical, emotional, behavioural, and social problems among the victims for many years. In India, this has been called a public health issue for more than a decade.
India has put together strict anti-ragging laws. There are at least three central legislations that check the practice of ragging in India. Indian Penal Court, University Grants Commission regulations, and some institutional specific regulations mark it an offence and punishable crime.
In 1998, Sri Lanka made an explicit law prohibiting ragging and other forms of violent, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in educational institutions. In the USA, national organisations such as HazingPrevention.org and Stophazing.org are providing educational programmes. India's national anti-ragging helpline was introduced in June 2009. Anti-ragging nonprofit organisations like Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE) is working to eliminate ragging and promote more positive ways of interaction between students in Indian universities.
We can learn from these examples and modify as per our needs for awareness. Fear, confusion, anxiety, or stress should not be the things that students need to deal in the prime period of their academic life.
The primary responsibility should be on the educational institutions for curbing ragging. Parents, teachers, student organisations, and media can play a vital role. If our young generation gains a respect for human rights, this lousy practice will genuinely disappear.
The primary responsibility should be on the educational institutions for curbing ragging. Parents, teachers, student organisations, and media can play a vital role.