New Delhi: Ninety-eight students died by suicide in the past five years in higher education institutions, including central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs and IISERs, according to the Union Ministry of Education.
Twenty cases of student suicides have already been reported in higher education institutions (HEIs) in 2023 so far. These include nine cases from central universities and seven from IITs.
The data was shared by Union Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar in response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.
The minister informed that the majority of the suicide cases being reported in the last four years were from engineering institutions.
According to the data, of the 98 students who died by suicide, the maximum cases were from IITs (39), followed by NITs (25), central universities (25), IIMs (4), IISERs (3) and IIITs (2).
In terms of year-wise breakup, the government data shows that 20 student suicides were reported in these institutions in 2023 so far, 24 in 2022, seven each in 2021 and 2020, 19 in 2019 and 21 in 2018.
In a separate question on category-wise suicides, the data revealed that of the seven cases in IITs this year, two students were from SC and one from OBC categories. Of the nine cases in central universities, six were from SC, ST, OBC and the minority communities.
No suicides were reported from IIMs, SPAs and IISERs from these categories in the past two years.
The minister noted that according to the National Crime Records Bureau, there are various causes of suicides such as professional problems, sense of isolation, violence, family problems and mental disorders, among others.
Sarkar said that to address the issue of mental health and wellbeing during and after COVID-19, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has taken various steps and issued advisories to higher education institutions.
"The UGC has also issued guidelines for promotion of physical fitness, sports, students' health, welfare, psychological and emotional wellbeing at HEIs," he said.
"The ministry has undertaken various steps such as peer-assisted learning, introduction of technical education in regional languages for students in order to ease the academic stress.
"The Government of India initiative, named MANODARPAN, covers a wide range of activities to provide psychological support to students, teachers and families for mental and emotional well-being during the Covid outbreak and beyond. The ministry has also advised the institutions to make the system more robust that would include prevention, detection and remedial measures for addressing possible cause of suicides," the minister added.