98 students of IITs, IIMs, NiTs, IISERS, others end life in 5 years: Centre

The data was shared by Union Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar in response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  27 July 2023 4:37 AM GMT
98 students of IITs, IIMs, NiTs, IISERS, others end life in 5 years: Centre

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New Delhi: Union Ministry of Education has revealed that 98 students died by suicide in higher education institutions including central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs, and IISERs, in the past five years.

Twenty cases of student suicides have already been reported in higher education institutions (HEIs) in 2023 so far. These include nine cases from central universities and seven from IITs.

The data was shared by Union Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar in response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister informed that the majority of the suicide cases being reported in the last four years were from engineering institutions.

According to the data, of the 98 students who died by suicide, the maximum cases were from IITs (39), followed by NITs (25), central universities (25), IIMs (4), IISERs (3) and IIITs (2).

In terms of the year-wise breakup, the government data shows that 20 student suicides were reported in these institutions in 2023 so far, 24 in 2022, seven each in 2021 and 2020, 19 in 2019, and 21 in 2018.

In a separate question on category-wise suicides, the data revealed that of the seven cases in IITs this year, two students were from SC and one from OBC categories. Of the nine cases in central universities, six were from SC, ST, OBC, and minority communities.

No suicides were reported from IIMs, SPAs, and IISERs from these categories in the past two years.

The minister noted that according to the National Crime Records Bureau, there are various causes of suicides such as professional problems, sense of isolation, violence, family problems, and mental disorders, among others.

Sarkar said that to address the issue of mental health and well-being during and after COVID-19, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has taken various steps and issued advisories to higher education institutions.

"The UGC has also issued guidelines for the promotion of physical fitness, sports, students' health, welfare, psychological and emotional wellbeing at HEIs," he said.

"The ministry has undertaken various steps such as peer-assisted learning, and introduction of technical education in regional languages for students to ease the academic stress.

"The Government of India initiative, named MANODARPAN, 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. The ministry has also advised the institutions to make the system more robust that would include prevention, detection, and remedial measures for addressing possible causes of suicides," the minister added.

Speaking to News Meter, a professor from IIT on condition of anonymity said, "There are multiple reasons for student suicides. In many cases, students face competitive pressure and few are home sick. Coming from totally different backgrounds, some of the students cannot adjust to their surroundings. Every college offers to counsel the students who are under stress."

Experts’ opinion

According to Dr. Pragya Rashmi, a consultant psychologist based in Hyderabad, the presence of a mental health expert does not guarantee the prevention of crises or indicate incompetence, just as a cardiologist cannot prevent heart attacks.

Discussing the complex issue of suicide, Dr. Pragya stressed that it cannot be attributed to a single cause. “Suicide is a complex issue with multiple factors involved, and it is not possible to attribute it to a single cause. Many tend to oversimplify suicide, but each case is unique, and different triggers may affect individuals differently,” she said.

“It is important to understand that while some individuals may resort to suicide, others may find alternative coping mechanisms or seek support. Therefore, suicide cannot be attributed to a single cause like a breakup or unemployment.”

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