Unable to afford a smartphone for online classes, amid the coronavirus lockdown, a 17-year-old student in the Indian state of Punjab committed suicide, on Friday. Twitter users expressed shock at the incident and criticised India’s education system for not taking into consideration, the economic condition of students from poor families.
Reportedly, the grade 11 student hung herself in her house in the state's Mansa district. The victim was the daughter of a farm labourer and had been asking for a smartphone for the past few weeks. However, her family could not afford one, due to their poor financial condition.
Sharing the report, Twitter user @PawanKu83430249 said: “Our #education system is only about the exam and its result, it is never about the #knowledge, so the fear of exam and marks force the innocent #student to commit suicide. Shame on our education system.”
India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown that started on March 24, and the recent locust attack, have left farmers in a state of crisis. According to local news reports, the girl's father said that she was under stress and ended her life. "She kept asking us to buy a smartphone but I am a farm labourer and couldn't afford it. Hence she ended her life," Jagseer Singh, the father of the victim said.
Schools and colleges in India have been shut due to the coronavirus pandemic, with most implementing remote learning and online classes for students.
Reportedly, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said, that he had not been able to distribute smartphones to the students, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
This is not the first such case in India. Twitter user @SatyaprakashR21 highlighted: “This is second case in India, first was in Kerala a [grade] 9 student.”
Earlier this month, a grade nine student in Kerala's Malappuram district had reportedly set herself on fire as she didn't have a TV or a smartphone to attend her online classes.
While the enquiry for that case is still on, some reports have indicated that according to the police the reason for death could be different.