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Thursday, June 16, 2011

102 - 27th Feb 2011 - Suicide at IIT sparks debate over stress-Deccan Chronicle

Feb. 26: The suicide of Anup Valaparla of Hyderabad in his hostel room on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, Wednesday night has once again triggered a heated debate among academicians, psychiatrists and the student community on whether the higher education system in the country is putting too much pressure on students driving some of them to end their lives.

According to IIT-M deputy director Prof V.G.Idichandy, the percentage of dejected students has come down and no case of student suicide was reported last year. “We have a full-fledged counselling centre where several students are counselled by a professionals on a daily basis. It is not like all students want to commit suicide. Some of them approach the counsellors for advice,” Prof. Idichandy said.

Speaking about Valaparla, the deputy director pointed out he had withdrawn his project thesis twice which shows he was not confident about his studies. “We allowed him to complete his 5-year course in seven years but he failed to do so. He did not approach us for help,” he said.

Some students in the IIT hostel told this correspondent that Valaparla had no friends in the institute as all his batch-mates had graduated two years ago. “He does not speak to us as he thought we will make fun of him. We could have helped him overcome his problems if he interacted with us,” a BTech student from the same hostel said on condition of anonymity.

IIT and other educational institutions also have counselling centres manned by trained personnel who help students with problems. Prof. Santhakumar of aerospace engineering in IIT-M pointed out it was impossible for the institute to monitor each of the over 6,000 students on the