IITs Record Highest Student Suicides Among Top Tech Institutes | All You Need to Know

The highest number of student suicides was recorded at the premier IITs over the past five years, followed by NITs and IIMs, the union education ministry told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

According to data shared by minister of state Subhas Sarkar in response to a question in the upper house of parliament, 61 such deaths were reported from these three institutes across India between 2018 and 2023. Of these, 33 students died by suicide at various Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), followed by 24 at National Institutes of Technology (NIT) and four at Indian Institutes of Management, as per government data.

In 2019 and 2022, 16 suicides each were reported, which is the highest recorded in these five years. In 2018, 11 such incidents were reported, while there were five in 2020 and seven in 2021 when institutes were closed or classes were being conducted online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, so far, six suicides have been reported, as per the data.

The latest incident was reported on Tuesday, as a third-year student died by suicide at IIT Madras – this was the second such death on the campus in just over a month. In February, two students died by suicide one after the other on the IIT Bombay and IIT Madras campuses.

The family of the first-year Dalit student from IIT Bombay had alleged caste discrimination against him as a cause, which was denied by the institute in an official statement. The student who died by suicide on the Madras campus was a research scholar.

“Academic stress, family reasons, personal reasons, mental health issues etc, are some of the reasons for such cases of suicide,” Sarkar said in his reply.

On February 18, News18 had reported that among students dying by suicide in these institutes, those from reserved categories was the highest. Over 70 percent seats across IITs are for reserved categories, which also include a quota for economically weaker section (EWS) and minority communities.

According to government data shared in parliament in 2021, a total of 122 students from centrally-funded higher education institutions – IITs, NITs, central universities, IIMs among others died by suicide during 2014-21. Of these, 58 percent students were from reserved categories (SC/ST/OBC) as well as from minority communities.

In his response, Sarkar further said the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has provisions such as counselling systems for handling stress and emotional adjustments at educational institutions.

“Further, in alignment with the NEP, to eradicate language barrier for students for an improved understanding and improved teaching learning outcome, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has initiated the work of translating technical books into 12 scheduled regional languages,” the minister said.

The ministry has also advised educational institutions to make the system more robust, which would include prevention, detection and remedial measures for addressing the possible reasons behind such deaths, the reply stated.

On January 6, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had circulated the National Suicide Prevention Strategy formulated by the ministry of health and family welfare. Listing steps taken by institutions to prevent such incidents, Sarkar said students, wardens and caretakers were sensitised to bring to notice signs of depression in students to the authorities so that timely clinical consultation could be provided.

Disclaimer:This news piece may be triggering. If you or someone you know needs help, call any of these helplines: Aasra (Mumbai) 022-27546669, Sneha (Chennai) 044-24640050, Sumaitri (Delhi) 011-23389090, Cooj (Goa) 0832- 2252525, Jeevan (Jamshedpur) 065-76453841, Pratheeksha (Kochi) 048-42448830, Maithri (Kochi) 0484-2540530, Roshni (Hyderabad) 040-66202000, Lifeline 033-64643267 (Kolkata)

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