HRD sets up task force to look into students suicides in JNVshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/hrd-takes-cognizance-of-indian-express-investigation-sets-up-task-force-to-look-into-students-suicides-in-jnvs-5522250/

HRD sets up task force to look into students suicides in JNVs

Known for producing the best results in board examinations, the JNVs, which were started in 1985-86, have become a gateway out of poverty for thousands of underprivileged children.

HRD takes cognizance of Indian Express investigation, sets up task force to look into students suicides in JNVs
Jawahar Navodaya Vidyakayas have had close to 50 suicides on campus in just five years (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Taking cognizance of an Indian Express investigation detailing the suicide rate of students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) during 2013-17, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) Thursday set up a task force to look into the matter and suggest ways and means to arrest the disturbing trend.

The task force, to be headed by psychiatrist Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, has been constituted to look into the “circumstances leading to the suicidal deaths of students residing in the hostels of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas residential schools” and “to suggest ways and means to arrest the trend of suicides by students of JNVs”, the press release read.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had on Tuesday sent a notice to the HRD ministry regarding the matter and sought a reply within six weeks.

Known for producing the best results in board examinations, the JNVs, which were started in 1985-86, have become a gateway out of poverty for thousands of underprivileged children. Since 2012, these schools have consistently recorded a pass percentage of over 99 per cent in Class 10 and over 95 per cent in Class 12, which is far better than private schools and CBSE’s national average.

But the central government’s pace-setting residential schools for talented rural children, have had close to 50 suicides on campus in just five years, an investigation by The Indian Express has revealed. Of the 49 suicides, half were by Dalit and tribal students, and a majority of them were boys. For every one lakh students studying in these schools, almost six students committed suicide in 2017. This is slightly higher than the national suicide rate for a similar age group in 2015 — roughly 3 suicides per lakh population aged 6 to 17 years.

The NHRC had expressed concern regarding the proportion of suicides from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. The commission has sought information on whether trained counsellors were available on campuses to whom adolescent students can open up and talk about their feelings.