The Union Education Ministry told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that premier IITs have recorded the highest number of student suicides in the last five years, followed by NITs and IIMs.
According to data shared by Minister of State Subhash Sarkar in response to a question in the Upper House of Parliament, 61 such deaths were reported from these three institutions across India between 2018 and 2023. Of these, 33 students committed suicide in various Indian institutions. Of technology (IITs), followed by 24 in National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and four in Indian Institutes of Management, according to government data.
In 2019 and 2022, 16 suicides were recorded each, which is the highest recorded in these five years. In 2018, 11 such incidents were recorded, while five in 2020 and seven in 2021 occurred when institutions were closed or classes were being conducted online. According to statistics, there have been six suicides so far this year.
The latest incident was reported on Tuesday as a third-year student at IIT Madras died by suicide – the second such death on the campus in just over a month. Two students committed suicide one after the other in IIT Bombay and IIT Madras campuses in February.
The family of a first-year Dalit student of IIT Bombay had alleged caste discrimination against him, which was rejected by the institute in an official statement. The student who died by suicide on the Madras campus was a research scholar.
In its reply, the government said, “Academic stress, family reasons, personal reasons, mental health issues etc are some of the reasons for such cases of suicide.”
On February 18, News18 had reported that reserved category students had the highest number of students who died by suicide in these institutions. More than 70 per cent seats in IITs are for reserved categories, which also includes a quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS) and minority communities.
According to government data shared in Parliament in 2021, a total of 122 students died by suicide during 2014-21 in centrally funded higher education institutions – including IITs, NITs, central universities, IIMs. Of these, 58 per cent students belonged to the reserved category (SC/ST/OBC) as well as minority communities.
In response to this, the government further called the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has provisions like counseling system to deal with stress and emotional adjustment in educational institutions.
“Furthermore, in alignment with NEP, to remove the language barrier for students for better understanding and better teaching-learning outcome, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has initiated translation of technical books in 12 scheduled regional languages. have started the work,” the minister said.
The reply states that the ministry has also advised educational institutions to further strengthen systems, which would include prevention, detection and remedial measures to address possible causes behind such deaths.
On January 6, the University Grants Commission (UGC) circulated the National Suicide Prevention Strategy prepared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Listing the steps taken by the institutions to prevent such incidents, the government said that students, wardens and caregivers were sensitized to bring out signs of depression in students to the authorities so that timely diagnostic measures can be taken. Consultation can be provided.
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