The escalating issue of student suicides in India’s premier institutions necessitates immediate and effective interventions. As these incidents continue to rise, the core message remains clear: every life is invaluable, and the “left-behind syndrome” needs to be curtailed.
- Reported Data: Ministry of Education presented alarming statistics on student suicides in the Lok Sabha on July 26.
- IITs: 31 suicides (17 from SC, ST, OBC, and minority communities)
- NITs: 22 suicides (13 from marginalized groups)
- AIIMS: 13 suicides (7 from marginalized sections)
- IIMs: 3 suicides (1 from marginalized backgrounds)
- IIITs, IISERs, SPAs: 2 suicides each (varying numbers from marginalized backgrounds)
Recent Tragic Incidents
- Case Studies:
- Faizan Ahmad (Kharagpur): Third-year student; reported ragging, currently under investigation.
- Mahesh Sai Raj (Guwahati): Faced termination in his third year; hesitated to confront parents.
- Darshan Solanki (Bombay): Encountered academic challenges in his first year.
- Ayush Ashna and Anil Kumar (Delhi): Suffered from academic backlogs.
Current Efforts & Their Limitations
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Even with the presence of complaint handling, academic probation, and counselling, suicides continue to indicate insufficiencies in these systems.
- IITs’ Interventions:
- No branch change policy
- Curricular and exam reforms
- Informal faculty-student interactions
- Parental engagement initiatives
- Penal actions for caste-based discrimination inquiries
- UGC’s Grievance Redressal Regulation: Updated to include a representative from a marginalized background. copyright©iasexpress.net
- IIT Delhi’s SC/ST Cell: Established in March 2023, but despite no registered complaints, two SC students ended their lives.
- President’s Call: President Droupadi Murmu urges a humanitarian approach following the death of a student in July 2023.
- Supreme Court’s Directive: Calls for innovative solutions to tackle the persistent issue, emphasizing:
- Reducing Academic Stress
- Combating Caste-based Discrimination
Addressing Academic Stress
- Trade-offs: Balancing stress alleviation and maintaining global competitiveness.
- Flexible Assessment System Proposal:
- Tailor assessment according to student’s capability and interest.
- Facilitate early identification of struggling students.
- Requires investment in terms of time, attention, and resources.
- Successful application by the author in premier institutes.
Addressing Caste-based Discrimination
- Flawed Complaints System:
- Might lead to inaction or counterproductive punitive measures.
- Victims, fearing repercussions, might hesitate to report.
- Evident in Faizan’s silent endurance.
- Fewer complaints at IIT Delhi’s SC/ST cell.
- Recognition of Alienation Patterns: Understand the underlying reasons behind the rising number of suicides.
- Prioritising Inclusion and Support: Foster a system where students don’t feel alienated, stigmatized, or fearful.
- Promoting Integration: Students should feel a sense of belonging and should be aware that their concerns are valued.
The rising tide of student suicides in India’s premier institutions is a grim reminder of the need for comprehensive, empathetic, and student-centric interventions. It is crucial to prioritize inclusion, adaptability, and understanding to ensure that no student feels left behind. copyright©iasexpress.net
Practice Question for Mains
Discuss the issue of student suicides in India. What can be done to address this alarming trend? (250 words)