Two suicides in Tamil Nadu raise concerns over the conduction of NEET and JEE exams amidst pandemic

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Tamil Nadu: The death of a 17-year-old student from Tamil Nadu over not having received her NEET exam hall ticket has raised concerns on the virtual model of teaching and examinations. The girl from Pudhukottai district died by suicide. She had completed her class 12th and was waiting to take the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) Exam to pursue a degree in the medical vertical. In a sad turn of events, she received the hall ticket for the exam one day before she passed away in the ICU. Another student died by suicide over concerns of the academic session on the virtual mode due to lack of his access.

Both the stories and numerous other similar cases from across the country has raised fears over the NEET/JEE examinations that are being conducted this month as well as the online mode of teaching amidst the pandemic.

The NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) data states that 10,159 students died by suicide in 2018 with approximately 28 lives being lost on an average each day. This is expected to be the highest count of student suicides in ten years in India. The current COVID situation has added to the woes of the students. A study by GOQii concluded that 43 per cent of Indians are suffering from depression during coronavirus lockdown.

Students and various political parties across India are protesting vigorously against the conduction of NEET and JEE exams during the pandemic, requesting for its postponement, however, no one has come to their rescue, not even the Supreme Court of India. 17-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg had also tweeted in support of students tweeting, “It’s deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the Covid-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods.”