50 student deaths on IIT campus in five years
CHENNAI: Fifty students have died on the IIT campuses in the last five years, most were suicides registered by the police as death in suspicious circumstances. IIT Guwahati tops the list with 14 deaths, while IIT Madras and IIT Bombay each saw seven deaths each, Union HRD Minister Nishank told Parliament in response to a question from NK Premachandran.
The deputy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) had asked about the number of suspicious deaths in major institutes in relation to the suicide of Fathima Latheef, a first-year master's student at IIT Madras, on November 8. The minister also stated that the MHRD had received representations from several MPS for a suicide investigation.
After an increase in suicides at IIT six years ago, the MHRD formed a committee headed by former IIT President Kanpur, M Anandakrishnan, to investigate the causes of the deaths. The committee found that many students cannot cope with academic pressure on IITs. Anandakrishnan told TOI that one of the important recommendations of the committee was to strengthen advisory services for students.
“Students with early warning signs should be identified and advised. Students from vulnerable groups need to be protected, ”he said. The committee also suggested that the relative grade be replaced with absolute grades to reduce academic stress.
“In our study, we found that most suicides occurred in the first 18 months. After being appreciated everywhere for their academic achievements, they found it difficult to deal with the fact that their academic performance is not good enough, says Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder of Sneha, a suicide prevention organization and also part of the committee formed by MHRD. She said that students from rural areas, those with poor language skills and poor social skills are the most vulnerable.