In the coaching centres of Kota, the 14-hour days, with tests even on Sundays, relentless pressure to ace a tough curriculum, shame and guilt of experiencing the very human need for a break, fierce competition, and the fear of failure — not to mention the loneliness of being far away from home — have taken a toll on many young lives over the years.


What is the issue?

  • But this is a larger problem that goes beyond Kota and the pressure cooker atmosphere created in coaching centres.
  • The combination of a large population of young people with rising aspirations and an economy with shrinking opportunities has created a public health crisis that requires urgent attention.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau’s Accidental Deaths and Suicide in India report 2021, released in August this year, shows that the number of students’ deaths by suicide rose by 4.5 per cent in 2021, with Maharashtra bearing the highest toll with 1,834 deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 1,308, and Tamil Nadu with 1,246. According to the report, student suicides have been rising steadily for the last five years.


Ludicrous solutions

  • Various solutions have been proposed — some bordering on the ludicrous, like the Indian Institute of Science’s reported move last year to replace ceiling fans in hostel rooms with those that are wall-mounted.
  • Others have addressed only part of the problem, like the guidelines issued by the Board of Intermediate Education in Andhra Pradesh in 2017 to ease the pressure on students, including yoga and physical exercise classes and maintaining a healthy student-teacher ratio.
  • It is painfully evident that the failure to address the larger issue of a punishing education system that is simply not designed to support young minds or prepare them for today’s economic realities continues.


What should be done?

The vision contained in the New Education Policy 2020, offering greater academic flexibility to reduce the pressure on students, will take time to be fully realised. The need of the hour is to learn from past failures to address the growing crisis and take urgent steps that involve all stakeholders — students, parents, teachers, institutes and policy makers.


SourceThe Indian Express


QUESTION – The issue of student suicide is a blemish on Indian educational system. Discuss the issue in brief and suggest a way forward.