Kota’s student suicides: A mismatch between rising aspirations, shrinking opportunities

Source: The post is based on the article “Kota’s student suicides: A mismatch between rising aspirations, shrinking opportunities” published in the Indian Express on 16th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.

Relevance: About student suicides in India.

News: Recently, three students, in separate incidents, in Kota, Rajasthan had committed suicide. This highlights 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.

About students suicides in India

The National Crime Records Bureau’s Accidental Deaths and Suicide in India report 2021 show that the number of students deaths by suicide rose by 4.5% in 2021. Students from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu committed more suicides. The report also mentioned that student suicides have been rising steadily for the last five years.

About short-sighted recommendations to prevent student suicides in India

Indian Institute of Science’s reported replacing ceiling fans in hostel rooms with wall-mounted ones to prevent suicides.

The guidelines issued by the Board of Intermediate Education in Andhra Pradesh in 2017 to ease the pressure on students recommended including yoga and physical exercise classes and maintaining a healthy student-teacher ratio.

What can be done to reduce student suicides in India?

India should address the larger issue of a punishing education system. India should accept that the education system of today is simply not designed to support young minds or prepare them for today’s economic realities.

India should learn from past failures to address the growing crisis and take urgent steps that involve all stakeholders — students, parents, teachers, institutes and policy makers.

India should fully realise the vision contained in the New Education Policy 2020, offering greater academic flexibility to reduce the pressure on students.

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