Yesterday my mom told me about the death of a second year student at IITK. I was more than shocked to hear this as I knew him personally through a few meetings in Kanpur. Also he was from Nagpur and I had taken some help from him regarding JEE books etc for my brother. It feels sad to see a budding engineer end his life like this. Newspapers carry articles about his suicide due to academic pressure, while his family rubbishes their claim. Whatever caused his death, the fact would remain that we lost a good engineer in the making.
One point that has yet again come to light is the academic burden on a student in IITs. The IITs are the most reverred engineering institutes in India are recognized in the world as well. The entrance exam JEE is supposed to be one of the toughest and most competitive exams in the world (this year 198,000 students appeared for 4,935 seats). Undoubtedly the people who clear this represent the creme la creme of India. Once in IIT they have a rigorous schedule of assignments, night -outs, sessionsals, etc. The competetion within the most competitive brains is all the more intense. All this leads to stress and probably depression amongst people who face failure in IIT, especially so because all of them are generally used to topping in their respective classes until now. This underlines another fact - Is the academic pressure so much that a normal student is not able to cope it ? Do we need to do something about it ? Also do we need more such reverred institutes in India so as to lessen the burden on a student writing the entrance exam ?Have a look at this figures - India's population 1,027,015,247++ and number of students clearing JEE - a few thousand - Dont we need more good engineers ? Dont tell me the number of engineering colleges in India - I know there are lots of footpath institutes but what I am talking about is great engineering institutes like IITs and good ones like NITs. Also after getting into an engineering college, should we do away with written and oral exams and instead evaluate the student throughout the semester only based upon his attendance, classwork, practicals etc ? Help out the weaker students through extra classes, etc and ensure that everybody is able to perform decently. We can even have a very flexible course work schedule and give students a greater degree of freedom in the number of years they take to complete a degree. A counter argument could be that it would result in diluting the high standards of an institute. But isnt it better than losing lives ?