Students Suicides!—rising aspirations, shrinking opportunities

In the space of 12 hours, three students killed themselves in Kota, Rajasthan, which is known as India’s centre for coaching and education. Kota, which is well-known for producing IITians, physicians, and engineers, has been in the news for the past few years due to the number of student suicides and depression cases.


  • Suicide is the deliberate act of bringing about one’s own death.
  • Risk factors include mental and physical illnesses, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.
  • Some suicides are impulsive acts brought on by stress, such as pressures from work or school, relationship issues, such as breakups or divorces, or bullying and harassment.
  • Despite being completely avoidable, suicide is claiming more lives in India.

Accidental Deaths and Suicide in India: A National Crime Records Bureau Report, 2021

  • According to the statistics issued this year, the number of student suicide deaths increased by 4.5% in 2021.
  • With 1,834 fatalities, Maharashtra had the greatest death toll, followed by Madhya Pradesh (1,308) and Tamil Nadu (1,246).
  • The survey claims that over the past five years, student suicides have been progressively increasing.
  • Young people aged 15 to 29 in India have the greatest suicide rates, according to a 2012 Lancet investigation.
  • The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) estimates that in 2020, one student committed suicide every 42 minutes, or more than 34 students committed suicide per day.

What are the causes of these concerning student suicide statistics in India?

  • Education in India has always been seen as a path to job and a means of subsistence rather than as a means of acquiring knowledge.
  • Pressure to enter the highly-paid private sector or the government: Many students and their families long for the desired “sarkari naukri” (government job), which would free them from the precarious social, caste, and class situations they currently face.
  • Limited educational infrastructure: Because the Union government was unable to upgrade the nation’s educational infrastructure, exam-focused coaching had grown to be the standard.
  • For many students, coaching facilities serve as prisons: Coaching centres became one of the leading industries in the education sector by capitalising on people’s “desire for a brighter future.” For the numerous children who enrol in them, these centres are now being viewed as prisons where their bodies, souls, and dreams are subdued.
  • There are several things that exclude pupils who are already vulnerable: The lack of English-medium education, expensive private schools, subpar instruction at government-run schools and institutions, rising economic inequality, graduates lacking the necessary skills to find employment, and caste discrimination are just a few of the factors that further isolate students from marginalised groups.
  • Neoliberalism’s emergence as a dominant economic and social philosophy has led young people to place the burden for not landing their “dream job” squarely on their own shoulders, while the government continues to abdicate its fundamental duties.
  • Neoliberal strategy for failure and success is flawed because it maintains promoting the idea that success can be found if one works hard enough, normalising the idea that young people should take responsibility for their own “failures.”

What different options have been put forth?

  • It’s also important to dispel the misconception that Indian families are nurturing since, as the main societal institution, families determine young people’s goals and dreams. Families should truly support one another.
  • In order to replace temporary fixes, more in-depth reflection is required: The necessity of the hour is for deeper reflection on structural elements of the educational system. Instead, we take satisfaction in creating Jugaad (improvised solutions) to handle matters peripherally without addressing the core issue.
  • Reducing the students’ stress: Others have made recommendations similar to those made by the Andhra Pradesh Board of Intermediate Education in 2017 to lessen the burden on pupils, including yoga and physical education sessions and maintaining a healthy student-teacher ratio.
  • Recognising current conditions and implementing improvements It is painfully obvious that the bigger problem of a punitive educational system that is just not meant to support young brains or equip them for today’s economic realities is still not being addressed.
  • Individual accountability: Family is not the only important factor in a student’s life; society also has a considerable impact. As a culture, we should recognise the genuine meaning of life and stop classifying students as successful or unsuccessful. Instead, assist them in reaching their full potential by being sympathetic.


It’s time for civil society to start seeing student suicides as a sign of a serious crisis in the nation’s educational system, including the institutional structure, curriculum, and other factors. Scholars have long connected farmer suicides to India’s agrarian crisis. An economic environment with fewer prospects and a sizable population of young people have combined to create a public health issue that needs to be addressed right away.

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