50 suicides in 60 days: Students from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been consistently among the toppers securing seats in IITs and other national institutes. But this success story hides another reality — the trauma and silent suffering of thousands of youth who are forced into a system.The recent number of suicides by students enrolled with corporate colleges and coaching centres has evoked widespread outrage across the two states, with educational experts, child rights activists and mental health professionals calling for changes in the system.Unable to cope with academic pressure, more than 50 students have committed suicide in the last two months alone. Most of them were enrolled with private colleges preparing students for national-level competitive examinations. In which one student Samyuktha had scored 95 per cent in class 12 exams and joined a leading coaching institute in Hyderabad three months ago to get through the national medical exam. She wanted to be a doctor.On Monday, she killed herself, leaving behind a note that talked about her inability to cope with her studies. In the last two months alone, more than 50 students have reportedly committed suicide across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. “There is no doubt that Telugu students have been bagging the maximum number of seats in IITs and NITs, but at what cost? Are we not putting them through torture chambers?” asks education expert S Ramakrishna.New rules have been framed, stipulating that the classes should not be held for more than eight hours a day and strict action be taken against teachers in case of “verbal or physical assault”. The Education Ministers in both states have called for fresh guidelines to run these institutes, most of which are owned by influential politicians. Telangana is thinking of introducing the grading system for Classes XI and XII to lessen the pressure on students, according to its Special Chief Secretary (Education) Ranjeev Acharya.
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