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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Panel suggestions Still in Cold storage - The Indian Express

By Ram M Sundaram
Published: 23rd September 2015 03:45 AM

CHENNAI: Pro-active suggestions of a special task force appointed by the Human Resource Development (MHRD) ministry to study the increasing incidence of suicides in IITs, NITs and IIMs have still not been implemented even as more and more cases continue to be registered, according to members of the panel.

“We had recommended a counselling system which not only advises students, but also identifies advance indications of people under stress, who are likely to commit suicide. Four years have gone, it has not been implemented,” said chairperson of the task-force professor M Anandakrishnan. This is common among post-graduate students entering IITs and NITs after graduating from ‘lesser’ universities, he said.

The other important recommendation ignored by the institutes was establishing a database of incidents of suicides, Anandakrishnan said. 

A research student in IIT-Madras also pointed out how the institutes want to brush these issues under the carpet, instead of speaking about it in the open. “Fellow students come to know many days later about the death of students. This is the state of affairs,” the student said. The database should not only have numbers, but a comprehensive one providing details of why a student committed suicide in addition to the social, economic and educational background of the victim, Anandakrishnan told Express.

Task force member and psychiatrist Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar said the reason that most PG students commit suicide was either thesis related issues or some problems with their guides or supervisors. “Other reasons include language proficiency and interpersonal problems with their parents who might have wanted them to go for work but they preferred studying further,” said Dr Lakshmi, who also heads the suicide prevention NGO Sneha.

The report also pointed out that these students who might have been toppers in their village or college suddenly feel equal or less in an IIT and end up getting stressed because of this.

“In North India, students are cut off from reality for a year or two at coaching classes and here they are unable to cope with the infinite freedom in the institutes,” Lakshmi reasoned.