From Hindustan Times : June 30, 2008
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It’s not the tough syllabus or academic pressure that is responsible for students committing suicide, according to authorities at IIT Kanpur. Suicides occur because students are not as insulated from their families back home as they used to be earlier, they said in response to questions raised under the Right to Information Act.
Excessive use of mobile phone — which even 10 years ago were hardly seen — to stay in touch with family and friends is the real culprit. Mobile phones connect the students 24x7 with their family and make them a part of every problem arising at home. There are also constant exhortations from parents to do well, which create tremendous pressure.
"Earlier, students had the facility of only landline phone; they had little interaction with the family and were more focused on their studies,” said the reply received by the Bharat Punarnirman Dal, a national association of IIT alumni, which had raised questions under the RTI following the suicide of a student, Toya Chatterjee, on June 2. There have been six suicides in the past three years at IIT Kanpur.
Another culprit was Internet use by students at odd hours, authorities said in the reply. It left them unsettled.
Director of IIT Delhi, Surendra Prasad, however, told HT that mobile phones and internet cannot be linked to suicides. "To reach such a conclusion you need to sociologically study past history and data and do a detailed survey. At IIT Delhi we have not done any such thing," Prasad said, when asked for his reaction.
IIT, Delhi recently limited the amount of data that students could download on their hostel computers during the wee hours (1 am to 5 am). But this was done to ensure that students did not stay up late night. "The faculty was of the opinion that late usage of internet leads to neglect of studies and other consequences," said Prasad.
Professor Prakash Gopalan, Dean, Students' Welfare, IIT-Bombay, said: "Some families do pressurise their kids, but there are also families who don't do that. We can't really say that the Internet and mobile phones drive students to suicide as there are many parents who act as support systems via Internet and cellphones."