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Bid to check IIT suicides

New Delhi, Nov. 15: A committee has suggested mandatory counselling in central educational institutions to check suicides after it found that failed relationships, poor academic performance, inferiority complex and drug habits were some of the reasons why students ended their lives.

The committee suggested that every institute must be mandated to have a well structured system to counsel students. Parents, students and faculty should be part of the counselling process.

The panel today submitted its report on Suicides in Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) to HRD minister M.M. Pallam Raju. The committee had studied the counselling practices in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras before preparing a model for the nearly hundred CFTIs and suggested that it should be extended to central universities as well.

“We identified several factors that prompted students to take the extreme step. The main factors are (failed) relationships, personality problems leading to inferiority complex, being unable to cope with the academic pressure and drug habits,” IIT Kanpur chairman M. Anandakrishnan, who heads the committee, said.

He said there should be an empowered committee to act as an apex forum, which will monitor the implementation of the counselling system in the institutes.

The committee had studied cases of suicide in 26 institutes. In the past two years, 12 students from these institutes had ended their lives. According to IIT Guwahati director Gautam Barua, all the IITs have in place their own counselling systems. But identification of students suffering from depression is a challenge. “Those students do not express their problems on their own,” he said.

The counselling cells monitor the attendance of students and their performance in examinations to find out if they are in trouble. “But this approach is not enough,” he said.

Anandakrishnan said the minister appeared positive about the recommendations.

“Now the ministry will take the recommendations to the IIT Council and NIT Council for approval for implementation,” he said.