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Friday, April 28, 2017

After nearly 6 years, IIT Council to discuss rising student suicides - Indian Express


According to sources, directors of 23 IITs will be urged to undertake a number of new initiatives, in addition to the existing measures, to stem this unsettling trend.


Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: April 27, 2017 9:18 am

Unable to stem student suicides, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are expected to come under the government scanner at the forthcoming meeting of the IIT Council on Friday.  Campus suicides were included in the agenda of the Council meeting at the last minute after a final-year aerospace engineering student of IIT-Kharagpur, Nidhin, killed himself in his hostel room last week.

According to sources, directors of 23 IITs will be urged to undertake a number of new initiatives, in addition to the existing measures, to stem this unsettling trend. These include steps such as compulsory induction programme for all students to teach them ways of coping with stress, early identification of vulnerable and academically weak students and referring them to counsellors on campus and sensitisation of faculty members to needs of students with different learning abilities.

That apart, directors will be asked to encourage students to pursue extra-curricular activities. The IIT administration will also be asked to use hostels to promote healthy peer group interaction by having students from different departments as roommates.

The issue of student suicides will be taken up at the Council meeting after almost six years. In 2011, under the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, the Council had decided to set up a task force. In 2010 and 2011, there were 12 student suicides across IITs. That panel had recommended dedicated system for students’ mental health needs.

Earlier this week, the HRD Ministry had assured Congress MP K C Venugopal that it would probe the circumstances that led to the Nidhin’s death and the spate of suicides at IIT-Kharagpur.

“The official assured me that  a team headed by a director of the ministry will be appointed to probe the cases of alleged suicides happening in IIT-Kharagpur,” Venugopal had told reporters this week.

This is the third IIT Kharagpur student to commit suicide this year. In March a final year M.Tech student was found hanging in his hostel room on campus. On January 16, a third-year student left the institute campus and killed himself by jumping in front of a moving train.

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First Published on: April 27, 2017 5:32 am