At least 20 students in India have committed suicide after receiving failing grades in national exams.
A 17-year-old girl reportedly immolated herself In the Narayanpet district after failing the zoology exam, according to the Khaleej Times. Another student committed suicide in Telangana on Saturday.
The suicides come after the Board of Intermediate Education announced test results last week, showing that more than one-third of almost one million students failed. Parents, students and politicians contested, the newspaper reported, saying the test was marred and the results in error.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao ordered that tests deemed failures be rexamined and rescored. A government-formed panel looked into the exam system administered by Globarena Technologies, and a reexamination of the examinations is underway, Khaleej Times wrote.
"These kinds of errors happen every year, but this year it got politicized," Globarena Technologies CEO VSN Raju told News Minute. "This is just the first year of its operation," he said about his company's test administration software that earned Globarena a three-year contract in 2018.
Raju attributed the mistakes to human error in reading the test bubbles filled in by pencil. Raju told News Minute there was "nothing extraordinary about them. The students approach the board for revaluation and get these mistakes rectified," he added. Test results on a website "had the outdated results and the issue was blown out of proportion," said Raju.
Fifty-thousand other students who passed, but were not satisfied with their results have applied for re-verification.
Families of the suicide victims are asking for financial compensation.
In 2016, 230,314 people committed suicide in India.
"India accounts for a large proportion of all suicide deaths globally," reported the British medical journal The Lancet, in October 2018. "With 18 percent of the world's population living in India and 42 percent of the population aged 15 to 39 years, addressing suicides in India is imperative to making a global difference."
According to Indian government statistics, pressure from parents to do well in school was the number one cause for suicide.
India's contribution to global suicide deaths, The Lancet wrote, increased among young women to 36.6 percent in 2016, up from 25.3 percent in 1990. Among young men, the rate increased to 24.3 percent from 18.7 percent during the same time.
Nearly two-thirds of India's population is younger than 35.