New Delhi: The Minister of State for Education Dr. Subhash Sarkar on Wednesday (March 16), replied to a question on the concerning rise in student suicides at premier institutes such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) in the last five years. During a Rajya Sabha session, the minister was asked about the total number of suicide cases of students in IITs, NITs, and IIMs, whether the government has been able to identify the reasons behind the suicide cases, and what steps is the government taking to address the root cause of suicides in universities.
Dr. Sarkar provided the student suicide data from the past six years. In 2018, the total number of student suicides were 11, with 7 at IIT, 3 at NIT, and 1 at IIM. In 2019, the total number was 16, whereas, in 2020, it was 5. In 2021, it was 7 and then in 2022, it was 16 and in 2023, 6 suicides were reported at the mentioned institutes.
The minister said academic stress, family reasons, personal reasons, and mental health issues are some of the main causes behind the suicides.
Speaking about the government’s plan to tackle the suicides, he said, there is a counseling system in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for this purpose. In addition, opportunities have been carved for students’ extra-curricular activities such as participating in clubs, community service projects, sports, etc.
He said that the Ministry aims to provide psychological help to those in need at institutes. Workshops and seminars on happiness and health are also part of the plan to improve students’ mental well-being. In case of any behavioural change in the student, faculty at universities must inform the authorities about the same so that parents and caregivers are aware of the student’s health.