No fewer than 19 students in India’s Telangana state have committed suicide, after failing school final examinations, officials and news reports said on Thursday.
Parents and students have been protesting across the state since the results of the Intermediate Examination for students of the two senior most grades were announced on April 18.
Out of the 974,000 students, who appeared for the Intermediate Exam, a total of 328,000 failed, Telenga Chief Minister, Chandrasekhar Rao, said in a statement.
He has set up a three-member panel to probe conduct and assessment of answer papers.
“There have been a spate of suicides which, on preliminary investigations, are linked to the examination results,’’ Senior Police Official, Shika Goel, said.
The number of students, who appeared for the exam and had committed suicide since the results were announced, clocked 19 on Thursday with two more deaths, the Times of India newspaper reported.
Voicing his concern over the suicides, the Chief Minister appealed to the students to desist from taking the extreme step. KCR, as Rao is popularly known, told the students that failure in Intermediate exams is not the end of life.
“I felt extremely unhappy and deeply hurt over such incidents. Suicides of students is most unfortunate. Intermediate education is not the whole life. Failing in examination does not amount to failing in the life. Life is precious. There will be plenty of opportunities,” he said.
He advised the students to stand up in the life and be courageous. “If you commit suicide, you will be leaving behind lot of sorrow to the parents. I appeal to every student not to commit suicide,” he said.
Activists say there is intense pressure on students, especially in the southern Indian states, to secure high marks in board examinations and entrance tests to engineering and medical colleges.
“Counselling should be made mandatory before the examinations and after results are declared,’’ Rajendra Prasad, Chief Coordinator of the Hyderabad-based non-profit MV Foundation, said.