Twenty students in India reportedly committed suicide in the past week after a state agency announced their exam scores. Some parents believe the bevy of failed exams is due to an electronic glitch.
In the latest incident, a 19-year-old woman, Akrapu Mithi, hanged herself at Naginenipally village in Telangana state, according to the Gulf News. She went to a private college in nearby Bibinagar town and was apparently depressed after the results were announced on April 18.
About 1 million students took the exams in February and March. About 350,000 failed their exams, causing protests from parents, students, and political parties, Fox News reported.
In one extreme case, a student called Sirisha set herself on fire in Narayanpet district, also in Telangana state, over the weekend, reported the Khaleej Times.
“Nearly 25 students are reported to have committed suicide due to the faulty results published by the TSBIE. Now, who should be made responsible for the deaths of 30 odd students? And who will compensate the agony caused to thousands of parents?” a letter from India’s Congress said, as reported by Latestly.com.
— Hadi Partovi (@hadip) April 28, 2019
On April 25, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao said recounting and reverification would be done on students who failed their exams, according to the Times. He urged them not to kill themselves, saying that failing the test isn’t the end of life
Parents have claimed that failing exam results were caused by an error on the part of a software company, Globarena Technologies Private Limited, which developed software to process the tests, FirstPost reported.
19 Telangana students commit suicide in a week after ‘goof-ups’ in intermediate exam results; parents blame software firm. Did u hear in outrage from the Lutyens gang against KCR & co? https://t.co/yYEM6ZPxyq
— prafulla ketkar 🇮🇳 (@prafullaketkar) April 26, 2019
The report noted that there were instances of students who passed but were absent during the exams.
“A student identified as Naveena, who topped in her first-year exam, failed in Telugu in the final year. After re-verification, she got 93 percent in the particular subject,” said S Ramesh, who is a student leader.
In 2016, about 230,300 Indians died of suicide, which is about a 40 percent increase from the levels in 1990, NPR reported.
“Typically, in India, the suicide death focus has only been on Indian farmers,” said Rakhi Dandona, a public health expert at the Public Health Foundation of India and the University of Washington, according to the report. “We found that 15 out of every 100,000 Indian women died because of suicide in 2016 and this rate was double the world average for women. Twenty-one out of every 100,000 Indian men died because of suicide, too, and the rate is higher than that of the women. And while it is true that more Indian men die from suicide every year, one has to keep in mind the more women attempt suicide than men. Men adopt more lethal measures.”
India accounted for 37 percent of all suicides reported globally for women and 26 percent for men in 2016.
If you are in an emergency in India, call Befrienders India – National Association at +91 33 2474 4704.
In Australia, the suicide prevention telephone hotline at Lifeline is 13 11 14. You can also visit the Lifeline website at lifeline.org.au. Youth can contact the Kids Helpline by phoning 1800 551 800 or visiting headspace.org.au/yarn-safe
If you are in an emergency in the U.S. or Canada, please call 911. You can phone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1 800 273 8255. Youth can call the Kids Help Phone on 1800 668 6868.