An alarming number of students in India have taken their lives following the release of exam results deemed questionable due to an alleged IT glitch.
According to NDTV, 25 students have committed suicide since the intermediate results were released in India’s Telangana state on April 18.
Conducted by private agency Globarena Technologies Pvt Ltd, the grading of the exam reportedly resulted in an error that failed many students who should have passed.
Over 300,000 pupils out of the 1 million exam takers in the state were found to have failed. Students who had previously done well in exams were among those who failed overall this year.
Authorities have since claimed that only a small percentage of those who failed were affected by the errors. However, they admitted that the failure rate increased significantly from last year’s results.
While admitting that there were “major failings” with the new software used to grade the papers, local officials acknowledged that “human error” was also to blame, MailOnline reports.
Officials have since cautioned students against harming themselves, especially if they believe their result has been affected by the glitch.
The Board of Intermediate, which declared results of Intermediate examination, suspended a teacher and imposed a fine on another for giving a student ‘0’ marks instead of ’99’ after an investigative committee submitted its report to the state government.
While remarking of the exams has been offered “free of charge” for the affected students, many were still concerned about the outcome since it will still be handled by the same private firm that marked the original test.
Local news reported that at least one boy threw himself in front of an oncoming train, while a girl burned herself to death.
“In the first year, my son topped the exams, but now his marks are in single digits. I don’t know what to do,” one parent was quoted as saying.
“I have assured him that everything will be sorted out. But what if he too harms himself?”
The deaths have sparked massive outrage in the state, with parents, students and opposition parties in Telangana launching a protest against Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao on Monday.
In a statement to the press, CM Rao urged the students to not give all their hopes up after failing the exams.
“Failing in examination does not amount to failing in life,” Rao said. “Life is precious. Even if one fails in the examination, there will be plenty of opportunities.”
Featured image via Pixabay/ F1 Digitals