[Answered] Highlight the reasons behind increasing cases of suicides among students preparing for competitive examinations. What measures can be taken to stop this menace?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Explain some reasons behind increasing cases of suicides among students preparing for competitive examinations. Also write some measures to stop this menace.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The National Crime Records Bureau’s Accidental Deaths and Suicide in India report shows that the number of students’ deaths by suicide rose by 4.5 percent in 2021, with Maharashtra bearing the highest toll with 1,834 deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. According to the report, student suicides have been rising steadily for the last five years.

Reasons behind increasing cases of suicides among students:

  • Unemployment: Unemployment rate in India is very high. In Sikkim, about 27% of the state’s suicides were related to unemployment and found to be most common among those between 21 and 30 years of age.
  • Examination Centric Education: equating academic excellence with marks, pressure of studies and performance are critical factors in students’ suicides in India.
  • Forced career choices: Many students succumb to very high amount of pressure, especially from their family and teachers in terms of their career choices and studies.
  • Lack of support from Educational Institutions: not equipped with tackling mental health issues of children and adolescents and lack centres and trained human resource for guidance and counselling.
  • Financial stress:The steep cost of preparatory courses and tertiary education acts as a burden on the students and put tremendous pressure on them.

Measures:

  • The ‘Happiness Curriculum’ launched by the Delhi government focuses on holistic education by including meditation, value education, and mental exercises in conventional education curriculum. It should be adopted by other states also.
  • It is important to revamp the exam-centric education system in India. The curriculum should be designed in ways that stress the importance of mental exercises and meditation.
  • Training teachers as gatekeepers and innovative methods of examination should be adopted to mitigate risk factors of suicides.
  • Students need to be appreciated and it is important to change how Indian society perceives education. It should be a celebration of efforts and not marks.
  • Effective counselling centresshould be set up in all schools/colleges/coaching centers to address student’s anxieties, depression and other mental health issues

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.

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