Recent cases of suicide by students aspiring for career in Medicine or Engineering in Kota (Rajasthan) – the coaching hub of the country – may have triggered debates over the tough competition and the unending pressure, but, these are not isolated incidents.
There are numerous instances from across the country where young students, having desire to excel in their academic career, have succumbed for different reasons and decided to end their lives.
Centralised data on suicide released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed that the number of students’ deaths by suicide has increased in the recent years.
With a total of 13,089 cases of suicide by students, the latest data shows that compared to 2020, the number increased by nearly 4.5 per cent in 2021. Nearly half of them were reported from the five states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha.
According to the data, of total suicides committed by students, 14.0 per cent were reported in Maharashtra (1,834) followed by 10.0 per cent in Madhya Pradesh (1,308), 9.5 per cent in Tamil Nadu (1,246) and 6.5 per cent in Karnataka (855).
While the report doesn’t mention any specific reasons behind suicides, it said that ‘failure in examination’ was one of the reasons.
On September 8, a 22-year-old medical aspirant ended her life by jumping from the nineteenth floor of a tower in her society as she could not clear the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET)-UG examination. The incident was reported from at Greater Noida’s JP Aman Society in Sector 151. As per reports, an initial investigation revealed that the girl was unhappy after the declaration of her NEET result.
In a similar incident, a 19-year-old Chennai girl allegedly died by suicide in Tamil Nadu’s Ambattur after she failed to clear the NEET exam. The girl took the extreme step just hours after the results were declared.
On June 30, a medical aspirant allegedly died by suicide over the fear of NEET. The 19-year-old from Choolaimedu (Tamil Nadu) was preparing for the medical entrance examination.
Similarly, on April 30, two 17-year-old girls allegedly committed suicide in separate incidents after failing to clear Class 12 board examination in Balaghat and Tikamgarh districts of Madhya Pradesh.
As per the Union Ministry of Education, the government and the UGC have taken several initiatives to check the incidents of harassment and discrimination of students. University Grants Commission (Redressal of Grievances of Students) Regulations, 2019 have been formulated to safeguard the interests of the students.
The UGC has also notified ‘UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009’ and issued circular for strict compliance of the Regulations.
Further, the ministry has undertaken various steps such as peer assisted learning, introduction of technical education in regional languages for students in order to ease the academic stress. The government’s Manodarpan initiative, covers a wide range of activities to provide psychological support to students, teachers and families for mental and emotional well-being during the Covid outbreak and beyond.
In addition, institutions conduct workshops/seminars on Happiness and Wellness, regular sessions on Yoga, induction programmes, extracurricular activities including sports and cultural activities and appointment of Student Counsellors for overall personality development and de-stressing students.
Further, students, wardens and caretakers are sensitised to bring to notice the signs of depression in fellow students to the authorities so that timely clinical consultation may be provided.