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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Suicide epidemic creeping into education system - DNA

Fri, 5 May 2017-08:10am , DNA

Consider the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau: one student commits suicide every hour in India. In 2015, close to 9,000 students took their lives


India’s academic institutions are caught in the throes of a silent epidemic that has barely received the attention it deserves. Both the academia and the government have failed to find redressal for a problem that is increasingly assuming terrifying proportions.

Consider the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau: one student commits suicide every hour in India. In 2015, close to 9,000 students took their lives. Between 2011 and 2015, the suicide figure ballooned to 40,000. Leading the suicide tally is Maharashtra which saw 1,230 students commit suicide in 2015.

Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh followed in at second and third places with 955 and 730 suicides respectively. While there is no official authority maintaining a record on the number of suicides committed in the IITs, a blog run by Ram Krishnaswamy, a former student of IIT-Madras, puts the number of suicides in IITs since 1981 at 83. This is unpardonable given that IITs are India’s premier technology institutes that admit the best and the brightest minds of this country. This alarming state of affair cannot be allowed to continue any longer, and some positive action on this front seems to be materializing finally.

The Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi this week decided to revise its syllabus so that there is a greater emphasis on practicals than on theory. It is expected that a shift of focus in its curriculum will effectively reduce the heavy pressure that often befalls IIT students.


Supplementing this step is another decision of the IIT council- the governing body of the 23 IITs in India- as per which wellness centres will be set up in these colleges. Hyper-competitive environments, pressures of securing a high-paying job, exalted academic expectations, addiction issues- all of these, and more, continue to mar the confidence and self-esteem of students not just in IITs but in institutes across the Indian education spectrum. Small steps are welcome but sans comprehensive policy-based measures, suicides may not end soon.